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August 21, 2012

Test Results :: Peaches and Cream

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain (reduced), 3 - w/ Silver Leaf, 4 - w/ Silver Leaf (reduced & encased), 5 - w/ Silver Glass Frit (reduced), 6 - w/ TerraNova2 Frit, 7 & 8 - w/ Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory & Peace

CiM Peaches and Cream is a gorgeous, peach semi-opaque colour. It is not very translucent (or at least it was not very translucent for me), but it is a very creamy-looking colour and I really liked its working consistency. This colour is only moderately reactive, but it is moderately reactive with just about everything.

Peaches and Cream is a striking colour, ranging from a pale peach all the way to a light/medium orange depending on the amount of striking. I got the darkest, most orange tones from it in the beads I reduced.

On the left here, we have plain Peaches and Cream. The bead on the right is also Peaches and Cream, the only differences being its size and that it has been reduced. The bead on the right, after reduction, is more orange and the surface of the bead also looks a little disturbed and cloudy. The bead on the left is a perfect, creamy peach colour. So pretty.

Putting silver on Peaches and Cream has significantly darkened its colour, and has also made it significantly browner. The silver spreads out a little on the surface of the Peaches and Cream and turns predominantly brown and golden. The darkness of the base colour persists (it may even intensify slightly) when the reaction is reduced and encased. When silver leaf is reduced and encased on top of Peaches and Cream it turns a shiny grey with blue veins running through it and some yellow patchiness.

On top of Peaches and Cream, my reducing silver glass got nice colour and developed a brown outline. In the bead on the right, I got some blues out of my TerraNova2, but it didn't do anything really earth-shattering.

The only real reaction between Tuxedo and Peaches and Cream seems to happen when you put Tuxedo on top of it. You can see in the bead on the right how the dots and stringer lines of tuxedo have a faint 'fissure' line surrounding them.

On top of Copper Green, Peaches and Cream seems to develop only a thin dark line reaction. However, when Copper Green is used on top of Peaches and Cream, a whole bunch of things happen. First, the Peaches and Cream develops a fissure just outside the Copper Green, so it looks like there is a shadow outline. Second, the Copper Green develops a brown line around its edge. Finally, the Copper Green separates so that the middle of the dots and stringer lines are a few shades darker than the edges.  Awesome.

Peaches and Cream makes Opal Yellow separate, but only when Opal Yellow is used on top of Peaches and Cream. This reaction isn't really evident when Peaches and Cream is used on top of Opal Yellow. On top of Opal Yellow, Peaches and Cream develops a faint dark line reaction.

Putting Peaches and Cream on top of Ivory seems to have made the Ivory curdle underneath it. There are also faint halos of Ivory around the Peaches and Cream dots and stringer lines. On top of Peaches and Cream, Ivory separates.

Peaches and Cream also makes Peace separate, both when it is used on top of Peace and the other way around.

Here's a fun bead with Peaches and Cream. I've used it as one of the layers in the base bead.

August 14, 2012

Test Results :: Dark Ivory (Effetre)

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain (reduced), 3 - w/ Silver Leaf, 4 - w/ Silver Leaf (reduced & encased), 5 - w/ Silver Glass Frit (reduced), 6 - w/ TerraNova2 Frit, 7 & 8 - w/ Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory and Peace

Note: The picture above has an error. Bead #5 is made of Vetrofond Dark Ivory, not Effetre. I made the same error in the Vetrofond Dark Ivory test results. I no longer have the beads, so I was unable to retake this picture, but the problem is now corrected in the body of the post, below.

Effetre Dark Ivory is a light, neutral colour, and is very reactive with colours that contain silver or copper. It is a colour that spreads like crazy on top of other colours, particularly transparents. The more you heat most batches of Dark Ivory, the crazier it gets.

A couple of years ago, there was this (for lack of a better word) 'craze' about something called 'Curdled Ivory' that has still not completely fizzled yet. And apparently this most recent 'Curdled Ivory' craze is not the first one in beadmaking history -- I know people who have been around a lot longer than I have who say it's the third or fourth time history has repeated itself over the last twenty years or so.

I've made some beads with rods from the three different lots of Dark Ivory that I have gathering dust in my garage, which to be sure, represent only a tiny fraction of the different batches that have ever been made. Here is a picture of the three different batches that are in my possession.

The first bead is made with a batch of Dark Ivory that I got that does not curdle at all. It's annoying, hateful, crappy Dark Ivory if you happen to prefer the curdly kind, and if you use this batch to make silvered ivory stringer, after you use the silvered stringer on a bead it bears a disappointing resemblance to dirty, melted plastic. However... this batch of Dark Ivory is sort of nice as a base colour, can develop really nice caramel tones when fumed with silver and is not, on the whole, bad glass. Rods from this batch are totally smooth, are paler than normal Dark Ivory, have only a faint white fleck on the rod ends to indicate that they are even Dark Ivory at all, and mine are slightly larger in diameter than usual, more in the 6mm range.

The second bead is made with what is known as 'Curdled Ivory'. This is a pretty nice batch of Dark Ivory, and gets beautiful reticulation effects when it is heated. I bought this during the Curdled Ivory Rush. Rods from this batch are rough along one side, are often slightly oval in profile rather than round and have a pronounced white spot when you look at the ends. They can be sort of bumpy, look sort of sparkly and make great silvered ivory stringer.

The third bead is made with the newest batch of Dark Ivory, which has been available from Frantz Art Glass for the last few months, and may or may not have made its way yet to your local glass shop. It is gorgeous glass, and is at least as reticulating (my test beads say more) as what we knew as 'Curdled Ivory'. Rods from this batch look sort of oddly dark for Dark Ivory, are fairly rough in texture and have a pronounced white fleck on the cut ends. My rods from this batch all seem slightly smaller in diameter than what I am accustomed to from Dark Ivory.

So, at risk of just boring you completely to tears with my opinion on this whole Dark Ivory thing, what I think has happened is this:
  • Dark Ivory curdled, sometimes more and sometimes less, for years and years prior to 2008
  • Then, a great big batch of Dark Ivory that didn't do the nice things we were used to was sold to the distributors, and was carried to the four corners of the earth. Some places maybe didn't get any because they already had lots of previous batches. Some places maybe got a lot of it. (I know we still have some for sale here in BC at our local glass vendors)
  • Then, when Frantz Art Glass finally ran out of that disappointing batch of Dark Ivory, they ordered more and good Dark Ivory was once again available to us here in North America. This caused a BIG STIR.
  • Now, "Curdled Ivory" is more common than the other kind of Dark Ivory, but essentially, it's just the way Dark Ivory is supposed to be. It was the non-curdly stuff that was the anomaly.
So... If you are in the market for Curdled Ivory, you can definitely get Dark Ivory from Frantz Art Glass currently that is at least as nice as (and I think nicer than) the batch of Dark Ivory that has recently received all of this attention. And the good news is that it's dirt cheap.

Now, on to the test results. These test beads have been made with the most-recently available batch of Effetre Dark Ivory.

Reducing Dark Ivory brings out rich, caramel tones in the glass.

At first glance, one might say that Dark Ivory and silver don't get along at all. And that would be true. There's definitely a chaotic war going on across the surface of these beads. But it's such a cool, grey, brown, silvery, curdly war that it's practically impossible to not want to do this over and over again. The effect is largely unchanged when the bead is reduced and encased.

Reducing silver glass is pretty cool on top of Effetre Dark Ivory. I got some pretty, subtle curdling with the reducing silver glass frit. Like with Vetrofond Dark Ivory, the reduction frit has developed an interesting double outline of black + silver in a lot of places.

I am not as excited by what happened in the bead on the right with the TerraNova2 frit. The frit was sort of sluggish about developing colour.

On top of Tuxedo, the edges of Dark Ivory thin out a little like it is going to spread, but the centres of dots and stringer lines get a sort of concentrated Ivory dose. The middle of the stringer lines seem to have a faint, darker line running up the centre. When Tuxedo is used on top of Dark Ivory, it seems to bleed slightly. As well, you can see the Dark Ivory exercising one if its superpowers (spreading) where it's trying to climb up on top of the Tuxedo in a fuzzy, milk-moustache kind of way.

On top of Copper Green, Dark Ivory develops a thick, black outline. The Dark Ivory also develops an interesting brownish webbing effect, and like with Tuxedo, a thin dark line running up the middle of the stringer lines. When it's used on top of Dark Ivory, Copper Green seems to snuggle right in. The Copper Green dots and stringer lines are uniform and dark-ringed, but the Dark ivory outside of the outline that forms is a curdled, chaotic mess of brown webbing and weirdness.

On top of Opal Yellow, Dark Ivory looks sort of weird and congealed. It has developed a sort of dark line reaction, but it has also caused the Opal Y ellow to separate. As a result, it looks very three-dimensional, even though it is melted into the surface of the Opal Yellow completely. On top of Dark Ivory, Opal Yellow turns an odd shade of Grey and curdles with the Dark Ivory underneath it.

On top of Light Ivory, Dark Ivory spreads. The effect is interesting, because it seems to create crevices in the Ivory beneath it, although the surface of the bead in actuality is completely uniform. On top of Dark Ivory, Light Ivory seems to sink in, making the lines and dots look thinner. The stringer dots and lines have a greyish, darker centre to them.

Dark Ivory seems to separate on top of Peace, but it's just that dark line through the centre, that seems to happen  no matter what you put it on top of.

Here are some fun beads with Effetre Dark Ivory.


August 10, 2012

Progress Feels Really Good

If you've been lampworking for a few years now, and you're occasionally feeling like getting on the torch is a struggle and things aren't coming together as well as you'd like, and you're scratching your head for ideas...

Go back and look at the beads (or the pictures of the beads) you made in the first year or so.

I made all of these beads in the fall of 2008, when I'd been lampworking less than six months.



Choose a style that uses techniques that you really wish you had mastered better, and out of those ones, the ones that you liked the best. I chose goddesses, because I've already done a fair bit of bicone re-investigation. I may try hearts next, this was so much fun :)

Make some.

I made a whole bunch of these, and now I can't really seem to stop. Here are my two favourites so far:



Do a little happy dance if the new ones are a LOT better than the early ones. Make a lot of them. 

You might be surprised to find improvement has been hibernating inside you, and it's amazing how good that can make you feel.

August 7, 2012

Test Results :: Dark Ivory (Vetrofond)

I apologize in advance for blogging about a colour that, unless you've been lampworking for a while, you've had no opportunity to try.  I am probably going to be doing a fair bit of this, so I'll try to spread it out a bit. I have a bit of a stash of older colours that I want to use, and I want to make the test results available to other people who have the colours hanging around.  Thanks for understanding!

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain (reduced), 3 - As Silvered Stringer, on self, 4 - w/ Silver Leaf, 5 - w/ Silver Leaf (reduced & encased), 6 - w/ Silver Glass Frit (reduced), 7 - w/ TerraNova2 Frit, 8 & 9 - w/ Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory & Peace

Note: The picture above has an error. Bead #6 is made of Effetre Dark Ivory, not Vetrofond. I made the same error in the Effetre Dark Ivory test results. I no longer have the beads, so I was unable to retake this picture, but the problem is now corrected in the body of the post, below.

Vetrofond Dark Ivory is a bit of a surprise. The rods are smooth, and almost opalescent. In thin layers, this colour has a really nice translucency to it, but in thick layers it is utterly opaque and somewhat streaky.

I will be posting about Effetre Dark Ivory in a week or two -- I need a picture of one of the beads I made and picture-taking day and my need to blog didn't really coincide. I planned to post the Effetre results first, but this is just the way things are panning out.

The principal differences between Vetrofond Dark Ivory and Effetre Dark Ivory are as follows:
  • Some batches of Effetre Dark Ivory do not have a lot of reticulation, but for the most part, Effetre Dark Ivory tends to curdle, while Vetrofond Dark Ivory (or at least this batch of it) seems not to do this unless it is reduced with silver glass.
  • Vetrofond Dark Ivory has less colour variation than Effetre Dark Ivory, and has less of a 'caramelization' reaction when fumed with silver.
  • Vetrofond Dark Ivory is stiffer, and less 'creepy' -- unlike Effetre Dark Ivory, the Vetrofond version does not try to take over when used with other colours.
  • Vetrofond Dark Ivory does not make SiS as nicely as the curdly batches of Effetre Dark Ivory do.
  • Vetrofond Dark Ivory is less violently reactive than its Effetre cousin.

When silver leaf is melted into the surface of Dark Ivory, it turns brown and grey and silvery, and the reaction covers almost the entire surface of the bead. When this reaction is reduced and encased, much of the brown tones are eliminated, and what is left is a lacy, shiny, silvery crust under the clear.

Vetrofond Dark Ivory makes an interesting base colour for silver glass. I like it better than Effetre Dark Ivory for this because it is less inclined to try to swallow my frit. I got good colour from both my reduction frit and my striking frit on top of Vetrofond Dark Ivory.  Weird, brown webbing surrounds my bits of frit on the left-most bead, and the frit has developed an interesting double outline of black + silver in a lot of places. Because I reduced the silver glass, the Ivory has caramelized and looks much darker than it does on most of the other test beads.

If you look at the bead on the left where I used the Vetrofond Dark Ivory over Tuxedo, you can see its translucency. Vetrofond Dark Ivory seems to be another colour that makes Tuxedo bleed a little bit, and the Dark Ivory has separated a little on top of the Tuxedo as well.

Vetrofond Dark Ivory and Copper Green have a mutual dark line reaction.

On top of Opal Yellow, Vetrofond Dark Ivory has an all-over greyish hue to it, and a faint grey outline. When Opal Yellow is used on top of Dark Ivory, the grey outline is much darker and much more pronounced and the Opal Yellow develops a weird, crinkly outline.

There's not much to say about the reactions with Peace and Opal Yellow.

Here, I've used Vetrofond Dark Ivory as the base colour (under Vetrofond Light Aqua) and as the ground colour, and then I've used silvered Vetrofond Dark Ivory stringer to make the mushroom. I think I might have used Vetrofond Dark Ivory in one of the vine canes on this bead, too, but I can't remember which one. I was going for the Total Dark Ivory Experience.