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May 21, 2015

Test Results :: Black Pearl

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain (reduced), 3 - Plain (reduced & encased), 4 &5 - w/ Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory, and Peace

Precision 104 glass and I have not had a very extensive relationship, but I have deep love for this colour. Precision Black Pearl is a really beautiful reducing silver glass colour that reduces to a cloudy and variegated range of blues and greens and even a shiny oilslick that exudes a rainbow of other colours.

To reduce Black Pearl:
Once you've shaped your bead that includes one or more Black Pearl elements, you should let it cool ever so slightly and then turn down your oxygen until you have an orange/yellow candle in your flame but there is still some blue surrounding the candle, and give the bead a little bath in the reduction flame near the top of that orange candle.

As with all reduction colours, it is better to do a few quick passes and check your progress after each one than it is to potentially overdo it. Black Pearl goes blue first, and then progresses through to green and gets cloudier after each pass in the flame. It is not a fast process, so you don't have to be too worried about accidentally overdoing it, but go slow until you get the hang of it.

Black Pearl keeps its reduction under clear, but it does not really develop a mother of pearl look to it.

I did not reduce these beads because I thought that would make it easier to really see the reactions.

Copper Green goes a dark, greyish pink on top of Black Pearl, with a bright yellowish outline. On top of Copper Green, Black Pearl develops a bit of a ragged appearance that  has a faintly pink outline. The Copper Green also takes on a shiny pinkishness all over in this combination.

Opal Yellow on top of Black Pearl develops a dark border which is ringed by a bright silver line. The same reaction appears when the Black Pearl is used on top of the Opal Yellow except that it is inside out -- the silver line is on the inside of the stringer rather than the outside.

Ivory and Black Pearl have the same reaction as Opal Yellow and Black Pearl except that the reaction is stronger and sharper. Like with Opal Yellow, when Black Pearl is used on top of Ivory, you get the same reaction except that it is inside out.

On top of Black Pearl, Peace turns yellow. When Black Pearl is used on top of Peace, you can see a little yellow develop on the surface of the Peace.

Here are some fun beads that include Black Pearl:

I used Black Pearl in the background of this mushroom bead, underneath all of the surface decoration, so you can just sort of see it peeking out here and there.


These goddess beads are both made from solid Black Pearl. You can see here the cloudy blue reduction and some surface oilslick effect.


And finally, these sets are made from Black Pearl and Opal Yellow. I love these two colours together a lot.

May 14, 2015

Test Results :: Absinthe

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain (reduced), 3 - Reduced & Encased, 4 & 5 - w/ Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory, and Peace

TAG Absinthe was sort of a new experience for me, because I've not used very many reducing silver glasses that behave this way. You can absolutely not use this glass the same way you'd use Double Helix Triton or Gaia. If you just wave this briefly in a reduction flame, nothing at all might happen. It doesn't get shiny, no matter what you do to it.

I am not an Absinthe expert any more than I was a Kalypso expert, but this colour is more of a striking colour than a reducing colour... it just happens that you have to do that striking in a reduction flame. I was wearing my magnifier when I made these beads, and if you do that you can actually see the haze burning off the surface as the glass strikes in the flame. I was sort of amazed, because I guess I'd never worn the magnifiers while working silver glass before and didn't realize it would be so visible. It is like slowly chasing a glow across the surface.

So, to successfully get some colour out of Absinthe, I followed the following steps:
1. Get it on the mandrel and get it the shape you want in a neutral flame.
2. Let the bead cool significantly outside of the flame.
3. Turn down your oxygen to get a reducing flame with a narrow, brushy orange candle.
4. Reintroduce the bead to the flame, and heat the surface slowly all over, watching the haze burn off.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 until the bead has all the colour you want.

I found that Absinthe struck to blue first, and then green with subsequent strikings. I didn't even try to go past green, so I don't know if it does anything else. I'll have to play around with it a bit more this weekend. I also found that it didn't change at all in the kiln, so it's a really WYSIWYG colour.

I work on a Nortel Minor with a 5 lpm oxygen concentrator. Depending on your setup, your results may vary from mine, and your approach may have to be slightly different.

I guess its possible that I fried my clear on this bead, but I don't remember doing that, and it's not a thing that has really happened to me with the Uroboros clear noodles I've been using. As a result, I am at a bit of a loss to explain the weird bubbly hazing in this bead but totally willing to entertain the idea that I did something unfortunate. Absinthe keeps its reduction under clear, but there is absolutely no iridescence, so don't do this looking for a mother of pearl effect.

Copper Green wants to be pink when you use it with Absinthe. You can see this in the bead on the left in a really pronounced way, and to a lesser extent in the bead on the right.

Opal Yellow on Absinthe can result in the 'Angel Effect'.  the dark line surrounded by silver line effect that is so neat in the bead on the left. Opal Yellow doesn't have a really strong Angel Effect with Absinthe because it happens sort of intermittently between these two colours, but...

... with Ivory it is really pronounced and consistent. Even better, the Ivory sort of curdled inside the stringer work in the leftmost bead making the lines look even more ethereal. When Absinthe is used on top of Ivory, it gets a light tracer line around its edges, on the Absinthe side of the fence. I am not sure what it would look like if it was reduced from here, but I'll try that next time I use Ivory and Absinthe together.

I was surprised, but not much happened between Peace and Absinthe. Usually, Peace fumes yellowish when I use it with silver, so I was not expecting it to hold its whiteness as well as it did with Absinthe. It might be that I would have gotten that yellow fume if I'd reduced the bead, though.

Regarding the term 'Angel Effect' - I think the first time I ever saw this term used to describe this particular type of reaction was by Dix Harrison on Lampwork, Etc. in this post. I am going to tag this post and all other instances where I find this reaction with the words 'Angel Effect' - thanks, Dix! :)

Here are some fun beads that include Absinthe. What a neat colour :)

May 9, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #8

As it turns out, I like these colours enough that I am just going to keep right on going with this palette for the forseeable future, using stuff up and putting new colours in as I run out of things. It's a healthy way to work through the unwieldy stash of glass I have in the spare room, and I work better with this structure in place.

If you are new to beadmaking, it may be difficult for you, but I hope that you can find a way to resist the urge to overbuy glass. When I started, it was just a few rods here and there when I went to the studio to torch, but over time became a full-blown buying problem where I was spending a couple thousand dollars a year on glass that I may not manage to use up before I die. Your tastes change over time, and colours that look nice in the rod and work for other people won't necessarily be good citizens in your designs. It doesn't take much glass to make each bead, and it takes a long time to work through glass you wish you'd never purchased in the first place if you aren't torching full-time.

Bead, I dub thee 'Clown Paint'.

I am enjoying this concept of a murrini flower matching cane used on the same bead, and am looking forward to trying other colour combinations.

This is my second or third bead using these colours, and it is the best one yet of the Opal Yellow/Rainbow Wigwag/Hades combo. I did better with heat control in this bead, so the design is more crisply defined, and the surface doesn't have as much reduction film on the Copper Green as in previous iterations of this colour combination.

The base here is of Lizard, and the dots are Absinthe. There is Wood along the sides of the bead, and the rainbow wigwag is wrapped around the bead on the diagonal, twice.

This one is Kalypso over a core of Ink Blue Violet. It was reduced and encased, and then decorated with Wood flowers and Copper Green leaves and stems.

This bead used a twistie made from Absinthe, Black Pearl, and Kalypso with some Intense Black on a base of Absinthe. The goldstone was applied and then paddled into the surface, the core was reduced,  and then I encased with Clear before adding the surface decoration.

And finally, this is my Absinthe goddess bead. Absinthe is a surprisingly beautiful colour :)

May 4, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #7

This is Session #7, and in case you aren't sure what I'm doing or why I'm doing it, let me recap. Back in November, before my job's travel demands got really silly and Christmas unleashed itself on me, I made a decision to repeat my own history and challenged myself to use a particular set of colours for eight consecutive torching sessions.  The details I provided at the time about why, what the colours would be, and the rules of engagement were outlined in this post.

This whole exercise has been pretty frustrating, but I've proved to myself that it is a really effective way to learn more about the colours I'm using. I've also demonstrated to myself that within four sessions of starting with a set of colours that are largely new to me, I can start making beads that make me happy.


For some reason, this session had me wanting to make smaller beads, and so these two focals are a fair bit smaller than I usually make. I really like the design of the rightmost bead, and feel that using white behind the flower petals helped them stand out and that the colours in the twistie came out pretty.

Here, I used Kalypso on top of Dark Ivory, and used a Silvered Ivory twistie up the bead's size. I love the colours and the cool curdling of the Dark Ivory, but the Kalypso flowers didn't move as much as I would have liked. I will need to remember that colours sink into Dark Ivory and work more carefully and a bit larger on top of this colour.

The Kalypso is over-reduced in this bead, but I like it anyway. I think the reactions make this bead really interesting to look at. The flowers were Opal Yellow. The core of the bead may also have been Opal Yellow - I wish I could remember!

I am pretty sure I used Opal Yellow in the core of this bead as well, with much different results.  All of the pink under the twistie is Kalypso. It's encased with Uroboros 104 COE Clear.

This small nugget set is Copper Green, Opal Yellow, and Kalypso. I didn't realize how much I missed making little sets, and can't wait to make some more :)