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March 30, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #2


Halfway through this torching session, I was so frustrated that I found myself fantasizing about selling all of my glass and tools. Nothing was working the way it was supposed to, and this new wigwag thing hadn't quite clicked yet in terms of using them on actual beads. I'm finding it a bit of a struggle to get back to the torch after so much time has passed - it's like I remember HOW to do it, but can't find the right rhythm or something. Also, this palette is maddening because the colours are so vivid and discordant, and it is challenging to put them together in ways that aren't eye-gouging. I gave up and made test beads with Kelp towards the end.

Part of my confusion and frustration was because the colours I was getting seemed really dull and my torch flame seemed way more 'reducing' than usual. Peace was sooting up, Copper Green was getting really muddy, and the beads just seemed dark and misshapen. After this session, I cleaned my torch and that (along with a slight attitude adjustment) made an amazing difference to my next session's beads, as you will see. I soaked all of these beads in CLR for around five hours, which helped a bit with the dinginess, but I think I am going to take them to the studio and sandblast them and see if that improves them further.

Don't ask. I am hoping that sandblasting this makes it less embarrassing, but sandblasting is not a magic trick, so chances are slim. I feel like I regressed six or seven years in the making of this bead and am only even showing it to you because it seemed like I should have at least four beads to show for the five or so hours I spent at the torch.

This one is Spanish Leather with the same wigwag, and then more Spanish Leather added on the left side to balance out the shape.

This bead is on a Copper Green base with wigwags up the sides and a trail of Ivory dots up the middle.

And I guess I quit just when things were getting good, because this is the bead of the bunch that I think turned out sort of cool, and the last one I made before turning the torch off in disgust. This bead is built on a base of Lizard with my wigwag corner-to-corner on both sides, balanced out with Wood wings.

March 25, 2015

Test Results :: Spanish Leather

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

Effetre Spanish Leather is a streaky, stable dark reddish orange colour. It reminds me a lot more of ripe tomatoes or hot chili peppers than leather -- if the name had led you to believe that this colour was in any way brown, it has tricked you.

Spanish Leather behaves fairly predictably as compared to other reds and corals, although the consistency is a little stiffer than Coral and the texture less 'grainy' if that makes sense to you. It is a bit of a striker, and when it is allowed to heat and cool repeatedly, it can turn quite dark. You can see this on the ends of some of the beads as you look through the rest of this post.

Spanish Leather does not develop any noticeable effect from being introduced to a reduction flame.

Silver has a very interesting appearance on top of Spanish Leather, turning blueish in some places and yellowish in others, and hazing a little on the surface. When the silver is reduced and encased, the interesting effects are lost and you are left with just a silvery net effect on top of the dirty brown Silver/Spanish Leather reaction.

Silver Glass likes being on top of Spanish Leather. In both beads, a strong brown/black line has developed around the fritty bits. You can see in the bead on the left that I got nice pinks and purples from the TerraNova2 frit. It's too bad it sort of clashes with the Spanish Leather itself and that the colours don't gel better.

In the bead on the right, the reducing silver glass also developed colour nicely and because the blues of the silver glass has good contrast with the base, looks quite nice on top of Spanish Leather.

When Spanish Leather is used on top of Tuxedo, a shiny, greyish line appears around the dots and stringer lines.  This line is lighter and shinier than the line that pops up around it on top of Copper Green.

Spanish Leather and Copper Green have a reciprocal dark line reaction between them.

Ivory spreads out a little on top of Spanish Leather, but apart from that not much of interest occurs between Spanish Leather and Opal Yellow, Ivory, or Peace.

This sculptural goddess bead was made with Spanish Leather, and illustrates the richness and streakiness of the colour.

And here are some fun beads made with Spanish Leather:


March 22, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #1

As a result of going to an Astrid Riedel demo a couple of weeks ago, I can't stop making wigwags. So far, they look more like gnarly, crazed swizzle-branches than the beautiful, even, magical thing that Astrid showed us in her demo, but I'm guessing I can't aspire to that until my 50th or 100th attempt. As a result of me not being able to stop making wigwags, and in order to not have a gnarly-cane accumulation in the studio, I've had to start using them, and these beads have a fair amount of wigwagginess to them.

I'm just getting back to the torch and barely starting to feel comfortable there again after a pretty dry two years, so my beads feel a little shaky and I'm having trouble with heat control and knowing what I want to make. So, I am just pushing through it and putting things together randomly knowing that if I keep that up, I will come through on the other side with better comfort and better beads.

This bead is silver glass frit stringer in an Ivory jacket. I made this bead at the beginning of the session, before I got hypnotized by the wigwags and all the pretty colours.

Wood makes a really good base for surface florals, as it's very reactive. Here, I used encased stringer to overdot the Wood flower petals, which has resulted in some pretty reactions in the petals. I'll do this again for sure. The base of the bead is cane made from layering Mint Lozenge, Shrubbery, and Slytherin. The wigwag is up the sides of the bead.

I can't really explain the construction of the rest of these beads since I was just winging it in the studio and didn't really make notes about which colours I used in which beads. What I can tell you is that they are a mishmash of wigwags, Spanish Leather, Apple Blush, Shrubbery, Slytherin, Mint Lozenge, Evil Queen, Copper Green, and the odd little dash of Raku.

And that is what Session 1 brought me. I feel lucky that I was able to attend Astrid's demo because it helped me envision a way to use these colours together that I had not been naturally inclined to. It woke up "possibility", and now I am full of ideas.

March 17, 2015

Test Results :: Wood (Legno)

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

Effetre Wood (Legno) is a weird colour. Legno is the Italian name, and Wood is the translation, although some vendors are calling it by both names, e.g. Wood Legno, or Wood Wood. Its rods are Ivory in colour, so you expect certain things from it on first use that simply don't materialize. While Wood is a reactive colour, it is not reactive like you would expect an Ivory would be. It's more like a pink or a brown in terms of how it behaves, and I'll walk you through how very odd it is, below.

In these beads you can see the plain Wood spacer on the left, and then the reduced version on the right. Reducing fumes this colour an orangey yellow colour.

When silver is used on top of Wood, it turns a dark copper colour and mashes itself into a narrow band. You can also see strange brownish smears over the bead where the silver has made the Wood react. In the bead on the right, I reduced and encased the silver reaction which resulted in a strange, pinkish green ethereal effect under the clear that is interesting but not very attractive.

And while Wood is not very beautiful with the silver glass in either of these test beads, it is clear that it is a highly reactive colour from the way it has retreated from the fritty bits and formed pale bands around them.

When I used Wood on top of other colours, it without exception has turned a beige colour, but not uniformly.

On top of Peace, Wood looks almost like a pale clay colour, which I find really attractive. The dots and stringer lines are a little mottled but still nicely defined. Peace (like both Ivory and Opal Yellow) spreads out on top of Wood like crazy.

On top of Ivory, Opal Yellow, and Copper Green, Wood separated into two different shades of beige with the darker shade lining the middle of the dots and stringer lines. It looks more brown on top of Ivory, is a dark pinkish beige on top of Opal Yellow, and a mellow beige with larger separation rings on top of Copper Green.

Opal Yellow separates into two different colours of Wood (brighter with a pale border) on top of Wood. When Copper Green is used on top of Wood, a faint halo of pale beige rises up to surround the dots and stringer lines.

On top of Tuxedo, Wood separates as well, but it develops the darker part of the separation reaction on the outside of the dots and stringer lines which makes the reaction looks sort of out of place next to the reaction on top of Copper Green. It's like the line gets turned inside out on top of Tuxedo. The exterior of the reaction line on top of Tuxedo is also weirdly shiny.

As a result of all the excitement in the leftmost bead, I was expecting a set of similarly interesting results in the bead on the right but what I found instead is that while Wood rose up in a subtle halo around Copper Green and Tuxedo, its main influence on all of the colours I tested it with was to make them spread like heck. The dots and stringer lines all look obese, considering the stringer I applied them with was no wider than the one I generally use, and very similar in girth to the one I used in the bead where the Wood is on top.

In this goddess bead, you can see the streakiness of Wood and the colour variation you will experience from it in scultpural work. It has struck yellowish in some places, pinkish in others, and then the streaks are a dark brownish colour.

These beads all contain Wood:


March 10, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #0

I know, I know.... I am starting this more than two months late. It took a little while (longer than I thought) to recover from Christmas, and then there were some business trips and other assorted nonsense in the way in January and early February. Now, I am buckling down to work and can't wait to explore all of the interesting possibilities that this palette presents.

I'm still cheating a little, though, because I technically made these beads (and some real lookers that I'm not showing you) over a few sessions and just haven't been posting about them. Because that is not the way this was supposed to play out at all, I've labelled this collection of beads "Session 0" and will grudgingly not give myself any credit for those sessions.

I have also now started testing the colours in this palette that had not previously been tested by me, so stay tuned for those as well starting last week! The colours I've focused on first have been Effetre's Apple Blush and Dark Violet (already posted), and Wood Legnos and Spanish Leather (coming soon).

Now, before we get into the beads, a quick palette recap. Here are the colours I designated last year as allowable for use in this restricted palette adventure I am on.  Here is a link to my original post.

EFF Spanish Leather, EFF Striking Orange, EFF Opal Yellow, EFF Kelp, EFF Apple Blush, CiM Slytherin, CiM Shrubbery, EFF Mosaic Green, EFF Copper Green, CiM Mint Lozenge, EFF Dark Violet, CiM Evil Queen, EFF Lizard, EFF Oliva Nera, EFF Wood (Legno), EFF Dark Ivory, EFF Ivory, CiM Peace, CiM Tuxedo, EFF Intense Black, REI Clear, REI Raku, PRC Black Pearl, DHX Kalypso, TAG Absinthe

To reiterate the rules in a nutshell, I can use these and only these, with some very minor exceptions for additives such as goldstone, dichro, and silver (and I have since made myself a further allowance for frit and enamels). I can't make any colour substitutions unless I completely use up my stash of a colour, or I lose all the credit I've given myself towards the end goal of eight consecutive torching sessions using these colours together, and have to reset back to zero. This burns a little, because there are some new CiM Limited Runs that I am dying to try, but I am going to have to restrain myself.

On to the beads!

Most of these beads are made with a combination of the following five colours: Spanish Leather, Kelp, Shrubbery, Mint Lozenge, and Evil Queen. In some of the beads I'm posting today I've also used Dark Violet, and in other beads I've added Wood, but these beads have only these five somewhat disharmonious colours. Building these beads, I made a tube bead with stripes on it. Then, I raked the stripes and pressed the bead, finally adding the Mint Lozenge wings on the edges and doing some surface decoration.

This is a whole set of beads made with this colour combination. I've been practicing making smaller beads and practicing dots, and this is the result.

This one has both Wood and Dark Violet in addition to the Spanish Leather, Kelp, Shrubbery, Mint Lozenge, and Evil Queen. I really like the contrast between Mint Lozenge and Spanish Leather.

I love this bead. Here, somehow the colour combination worked just a bit better - possibly because Apple Blush played less of a major role. This one has Spanish Leather, Apple Blush, Shrubbery, Mint Lozenge, Dark Violet, and Evil Queen. I made a big ball of Mint Lozenge and drizzled the other colours around and then stretched it out into a tube bead with gravity before pressing it. Then, I added some additional dots and swirls as decoration.

I'm not sure what possessed me to put Mosaic Green dots on top of Wood, because it was a bit of an aesthetic disaster. It was also, however, really interesting from a reaction standpoint. There is no brown glass in this bead - all of the brown is somehow coming out of the Wood (which is not brown) after reacting with the Mosaic Green (also not brown).

These little focals are made with Spanish Leather, Apple Blush, Shrubbery, Evil Queen, and Wood. I really like the crazy things Wood does when it is used on top of Spanish Leather.

Here I used the same colours as in my set above, but with the addition of Wood.

I think this is my favourite bead of the bunch. The top half of the bead is made with a layered cane I made from Mint Lozenge, Shrubbery, and Slytherin. I love how streaky and mottled the colours came out and will definitely be exploring layered cane a little more in coming months. I also had some fun with the shaping of this bead and have ideas to take that a little further.

Since I've been mucking around with these colours for quite some time now, I am actually out of Dark Violet and have replaced it in the palette with Ink Blue Violet, an odd lot of Effetre Ink Blue which is a little less saturated and a little more blue than Dark Violet.

March 8, 2015

Test Results :: Dark Violet Transparent

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

Effetre Dark Violet Transparent is a nice, dense transparent colour by Effetre standards, and if you use it in a solid-coloured bead, the resulting bead looks almost black. However, in thin layers, Dark Violet isn't really all that dark at all. If you use it over Ivory or White, it is actually a little washed out, so if you are using it in layered designs, I recommend using a more colourful colour under it (e.g. Pale Pink, Pale Blue, or Pale Purple opaque glass) that has something of its own going on in order to get a more vibrant result.

Dark Violet is reactive, both with silver and other colours, in an interesting, subtle way.

Here you can see that in the bead where I used silver leaf on top of the Dark Violet and just melted it in, the silver all but disappears. When the silver is reduced and encased, it turns silvery and metallic under the clear, but more interestingly, it fumes the base glass next to it so that it is cloudy and a vibrant blue colour.

Silver Glass reduction frit is pretty nice on top of Dark Violet. I really like the way my frit blend worked out on top of it in the bead on the left.

In the bead on the right, I got some strike from my TerraNova2 frit, but it didn't really pop. As usual with this test, don't read too much into it. I do this to find the bases where silver glass effortlessly blooms and Dark Violet is clearly not one of those colours, but that doesn't mean that someone more skilled at striking it than me couldn't get good colour out of it on top of Dark Violet.

I didn't get much in the way of reaction from Tuxedo.  I almost never do with transparent colours.

Copper Green, Opal Yellow, and Peace all separate on top of Dark Violet. Copper Green also separates when Dark Violet is used on top of it, but Opal Yellow and Peace don't seem to. They do, however, both act sort of strangely. You can see in the bead on the right that the Opal Yellow has developed a huge number of purple freckles, obscuring for the most part the dots and lines I drew. I think this is the Dark Violet breaking up on top of it, but it's hard to be sure. In the case of peace, there is a weird crack-like separation line developed between the Ivory and Peace. This has never happened before, so I want to blame it on the Dark Violet but don't really see a way to do that when it is only happening where the Peace meets the Ivory. That reaction is a bit of a mystery.

Ivory spread and curdled on top of Dark Violet. In the bead on the right, Dark Violet seems to have developed a dark line in the middle of the stringer lines I drew, and the Ivory around it looks flecked with pale purple.

Here is a goddess bead made from Dark Violet. You can see how very dark Dark Violet is when used in sculptural way.

These beads also use a little Dark Violet.