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April 29, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #6

I got mixed results in this session, and felt like the beads regressed a little from where they were in Session #5... but I think it is mainly because I was trying some new ideas. Some of them panned out, and some of them did not. I'll leave it to you to decide which was which, since I've started a new personal program to be nice to myself.

This is my first butterfly bead. I have some work to do to develop this design out, but am sort of pleased with this as a first attempt. Improvements I will look at include not making the body all curvy (butterflies don't move like that!), using less spready black cane, and using smaller components so that the design fits on the surface of the bead properly. There are other refinements in the works as well - for instance, what happened in the bottom left wing needs to be the standard and the bottom right wing needed to be placed and raked in exact mirror image to it.

I love the striations I got on the right side with my wigwag cane. I used gravity to lengthen it here. I'm not as pleased with the other end, but need to spend more time thinking about why. I think it might partly be due to the fact that I don't much like Purple.

Here, the wigwag was placed on a Tuxedo background, and then I used Shrubbery stringer to line it on both sides, which looks sort of interesting. The flowers are Peace, which does not maintain its whiteness over Tuxedo at all - it's gone all mottled and curdly - and the little stubby wings are Mint Lozenge.

This bead is a base of Shrubbery with my wigwag over it, and then was edged in Opal Yellow with a perhaps over-liberal application of Spanish Leather stringer decoration. I put some Peace flowers on top of the Shrubbery, and the odd Peace dot here and there.

This is the wigwag over a base of I-forget-what, gravity lengthened with black flowers. I will admit to being really pleased by this bead. I am totally doing more of this.

And finally, this bead is a base of I-forget-what covered in the wigwag, which is gravity-lengthened and then framed in Tuxedo. There's some Opal Yellow stringerwork and dots decorating the surface.

April 24, 2015

Test Results :: Kalypso

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain (reduced), 3 - Over Peace (reduced & encased), 4 - Over Ink Blue Violet (reduced & encased), 3 - Over Copper Green (reduced & encased), 6 & 7 - w/ Peace, Ivory, Opal Yellow, Copper Green, and Tuxedo

Before I say anything, I want to write myself a great, big disclaimer. I am not a silver glass expert, and it has been pretty close to two years since I made anything nice with silver glass. I know for sure I have not figured this one out yet, and I am certainly not getting the beautiful colours out of it that other people are getting.

However, none of that is going to stop me from telling you what I think I learned about Double Helix Kalypso while I was making these beads.

The flame of my Minor is almost reducing enough to fully reduce Kalypso without even turning down my oxygen, but it doesn't do this with any other silver glass, so from that I conclude that Kalypso is particularly sensitive to a reduction atmostphere in the flame.

To get a good shiny reduction film on the surface of Kalypso, all I need to do on my Minor is take Kalypso out of the flame until it is cool, and then gently reintroduce it. If I do turn down my oxy, it is super easy to over-reduce Kalypso and get browns and yellows instead of pinks and blues.

All of these beads are reduced and encased, and I got blues with overtones of pink in most of them. From left to right, the Kalypso is over Peace, Ink Blue Violet, and Copper Green. The one over Copper Green is the one with the least amount of pink, but it was also the smallest bead because I got sort of lazy.

On top of Kalypso, Tuxedo spreads, You can see how the actual Tuxedo dots are much smaller than the hole they've made for themselves in the Kalypso surface reduction. I'm not sure how to exploit this reaction in a design, so I need to think about that a little bit. You can't really see Kalypso when it's used on top of Tuxedo, so it's sort of hard to tell if there's any reaction that way or not :)

Copper Green on top of Kalypso separates, going a concentrated dark turquoise in the center of dots and stringer lines, and looking almost yellowish in the outer band where it touches the Kalypso. When Kalypso is on top of Copper Green, there might be just the faintest light outline around it, but not much else. It does help keep Copper Green from going grey though, and that's a good thing!

Opal Yellow is extra neat on top of Kalypso because it separates so that there is a lighter band in the centre with its own outline, giving an almost ripple effect due to the extra demarcation line. On top of Opal Yellow, Kalypso spreads a little and there is no real point where the Kalypso stops and the Opal Yellow starts - it's a very gradual transition.

Ivory on top of Kalypso goes dark and dingy, but develops a really interesting pale outline. When Kalypso is used on top of Ivory, a dark line forms around the Kalypso, followed by an immediate inner light line and then finally the pink of the Kalypso for an interesting three-dimensional effect. Also, the Ivory all around the Kalypso fumes a dark greyish brown colour.

Peace on top of Kalypso goes yellow and separates in the same way as Opal Yellow but with less interesting detail visible because the reaction is more subtle. There's no real reaction visible between Peace and Kalypso when Kalypso is on top except that Peace fumes very yellow.

These fun beads all contain Kalypso. In a few of the beads it is sort of over-reduced, but I think that gives its own interesting effects.


April 19, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #5

It is like a switch got flipped in Session #4, and now this palette and I are friends. Suddenly, these colours and I understand each other a little better and good things are starting to happen with greater regularity. I think some of these need etching to remove some of the muddy reduction that Copper Green is sharing with my other colours, but once that is accomplished I think I will be pretty happy with these beads.

I am pretty sure that what I did here was wrap the wigwag around a big blob of Ink Blue Violet and use gravity to lengthen it into a cone shape and then flattened it and drew Mint Lozenge wings up the side. I added some dots in Ink Blue Violet, Evil Queen, and Copper Green.

I kept going along this organic track for the next bead, this time letting Wood and the wigwag do all the work. I used some frit on one end of the bead that has a purple in it that devitrifies when you get it hot, and so now I am going to have to either etch or sandblast this bead in order to fix the weirdness that caused.

This is a base of Opal Yellow, with the wigwag up diagonally around the bead (I wrapped it around before I flattened it, which is why I got such a nice, wide stripe) and then painted up the sides of the flattened bead. I used Intense Black and Opal Yellow for surface dots, and used murrini that I cut from an untwisted end of the wigwag cane.

This bead is a base of Mint Lozenge with wigwag up the sides. I used Hades this time instead of Intense Black to do the leaves and stems, with much less crazy webbing and travelling across the bead. I used a piece of murrini cut from my wigwag cane to make the flower.

This is the best bead I've made in a year or more. I did this one on a base of Tuxedo, and I used Peace and Tuxedo for the dots on the surface. The bead's edges are done in Shrubbery with Opal Yellow edging, and the ends are lined with Copper Green.

First set with the new press. This press is a GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS.

The Cleopatra press makes pretty nice beads so I will keep going with it. To be fair, it wasn't as hard to use as I suspected it would be when I bought it... so I guess I more or less signed up for the annoyance it's causing and so I deserve it :)

April 14, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #4

This session was sort of half struggle, half epiphany but helped me feel like this palette exercise is really starting to work for me again. It usually takes me three or four dedicated sessions to really settle into a new palette, and this time was no exception. It's nice to be seeing some progress!

This bead is just a blob made from my wigwag cane, flattened. I am sort of hooked on how the colours bleed together when I use the cane this way, so I will no doubt do some more of this.

This is really not a very attractive bead, but I really like the way the wigwag looks on top of it, and I love the separation lines I got in the Wood flowers, even if I feel that I should not have done them on this bead. The cane I used to make the base bead is a fun combination of Mint Lozenge, Shrubbery, and Slytherin.

I cannot for the life of me remember what colours I used here, but I got such interesting, organic effects that I really wish I'd written it down.

Here I used a core of Opal Yellow with the wigwag wrapped on it to make the base bead, using gravity to lengthen the blob of glass. I wish there was more contrast between the flowers and the background, but apart from that, I am pleased with how this one came out.

I just can't figure out what to do with Apple Blush other than hide it under and around other colours in ways such that it can barely be seen. It totally engulfed this poor bead.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this bead, and am still trying to decide what I would do differently next time. I sort of like the 3D-ness of the wigwag on the right, and I like the effect of swirling it where I've raked it out. I made the base bead out of at least three colours here (Opal Yellow, Evil Queen, Mint Lozenge) and then applied the wig-wag. Once I had it all melted in, I raked it out and did the swirls and the edge shaping.

Here's how the rainbow wig-wag looks heated like crazy and gravity-slumped. I wrapped it in Spanish Leather and decorated it with dots.

Looking back over the last few sessions, I can definitely see some big improvements in the beads which is great and sort of the whole point. I can't wait to show you the next beads :)

April 9, 2015

Test Results :: Kelp

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 - w/ Silver Glass Frit Stringer (encased), 8 & 9 - w/ Peace, Ivory, Opal Yellow, Copper Green, and Tuxedo

Effetre Kelp (090) is an extremely soft transparent colour that is highly reactive. In its natural state, it is a pale greenish yellow colour that scuzzes up fairly easily while you're working it. You can really see the scumming when you make a larger sculptural piece with this colour, and I'm wondering if it's me (my glass might not be sparkling clean) or if it's the colour. The only way for me to find out for sure is wash some of it and repeat some of the tests, and that might happen.

Kelp behaves really similarly to some other colours in the 104 Palette, and I consider it to be in the same 'colour family' as:
- Effetre Straw Yellow (049)
- Effetre Yellow (008)
- Effetre Pale Green Apple (073)
- Effetre Light Brown Transparent (018)
- CiM Mojito (482)

I am sure that there are other colours that fall into this grouping as well, and I'm looking for them as I test new-to-me colours.

Silver is not very attractive on top of Kelp. In the leftmost bead, the silver crusted up on the surface of the Kelp and fumed the colour of the Kelp a darker, more orange version of itself. In the bead on the right, reducing and encasing the silver has smoothed it out and caught a bit of blue fume in places, but this reaction is not terribly attractive with the colour of Kelp.

On top of Kelp, reducing silver glass develops beautiful, shiny colour. And Kelp makes great frit stringer too. In the rightmost bead, I used Kelp with a blend of reducing silver glass to make frit stringer, and then wrapped the stringer around a core of Kelp and encased it with clear without reducing it first.

My TerraNova2 frit got some pretty nice strike to reds and purples without too much effort. Overall, I'd say Kelp is an impressive base for silver glass.

On top of Kelp, Opal Yellow gets a faint separation line in the middle of dots and stringer lines. Ivory lines and dots look just a faint touch darker around the edges than they do in the middle. Tuxedo seems to have spread a little on top of Kelp with its edges looking a bit hazy.

Copper Green gets really oddly shiny and outlined on top of Kelp, and when Kelp is used on top of Copper Green, the Copper Green looks alternately dark grey and bright turquoise without a lot of rhyme or reason to help you predict which thing it will do where.

Apart from that, Kelp didn't do much in terms of reacting with these colours.

In the goddess bead here, you can tell that Kelp (at least my Kelp) gets kind've scummy when it's worked. Cleaning the rods really well could potentially improve this situation, but I haven't tried that yet. These rods weren't particularly dirty, and I did wipe them on my shirt before using them which sort of, sometimes passes for cleaning in this house.

And here is a pretty early frog bead that I made in 2009 with Kelp when I'd been torching for less than a year. Looking at it makes me smile.

April 4, 2015

Winter Colour Diet :: Session #3

Ah.... now this session was just a little kinder to me. I thoroughly cleaned my torch at the end of Session #2, and the result is that the colours are much less muddy. There is nothing really substantial emerging yet in terms of design in these beads, but each bead I made in this session at least taught me something and had some redeeming qualities.

This one is a base of Evil Queen with the wigwag mounted onto it across the centre in a diagonal and then up one side. I think that if I'd used Black as the base for this bead and had different-coloured dots, that it would have turned out better. I really like the way the colours came together in the wigwag up the left side of the bead and some of the funky reaction that developed in the colours diagonally up the centre of the bead.

In this bead, after I applied the wigwag, I raked it in a few places, but I waited until after I had already applied other surface decoration and raked the wigwag in at least one place where there was no room to move it without also moving the decoration immediately surrounding it. This is why planning is important :)

This one is a base of Spanish Leather with wigwag diagonally around it and murrini cut from the same cane decorating its surface. The wings are Mint Lozenge and the flower is Opal Yellow.

I used a little too much heat in this bead, and as a result my intense black lines have really wigged out and there is Intense Black webbing all over the surface. This bead was made on a base of Mint Lozenge.

This bead is my favourite of the bunch, but I struggled a bit with heat control here, too. The base of this one was Opal Yellow.

The wigwag used in all of these beads had a core of CiM Peace, and was striped with Spanish Leather, Striking Orange, Apple Blush, Opal Yellow, Shrubbery, Copper Green, Mint Lozenge, Ink Blue, and Evil Queen. The black stripes were made with thin stringers of either Effetre Intense Black or CiM Hades. I'm not TECHNICALLY supposed to be using Hades right now, but I had a hell of a time with Intense Black really spreading and webbing, so I dug into my stash of Hades to see if it would behave better. The ultimate answer is that it does behave better, but not much better. I will eventually use Reichenbach Deep Black in these canes, but I don't have any right now so I'm making do.