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November 28, 2016

Test Results :: Carnelian Opalino

Effetre Carnelian Opalino is such a beautiful colour of pink. I find it an easy glass to use, without significant boiling or shocking issues the way people fear with the Opalino colours. Each batch of Carnelian seems to be a bit different, with the most recent batch being beautifully rich in colour.

It's also among a small number of deep pinks that are not antagonistic towards Ivory, because colours like Opal Raspberry, Rubino Oro, Cranberry, and Sedona turn Ivory into a black mess. It's nice that there are a few pinks out there that can be used with Ivory without creating that problem.

Reducing has no real effect on the colour of Carnelian Opalino, but here when I reduced the bead, reintroducing it to the heat resulted in the colour striking.  Carnelian is a striking pink, and the more times you heat and cool it, the pinker it gets.

In these beads you can see that using silver with Carnelian turns it a bit orange, which is consistent with how I am accustomed to pinks behaving when silver is added. Reducing and encasing the silver made most of the orange go away.

Carnelian is a nice base for silver glass. My reducing silver glass pops on top of it colourwise, mostly because of the good contrast between the yellowed pink and the blue frit. In the rightmost bead, you can see that colour started to bloom early in my TerraNova2 frit, which is a good sign that this is a decent base colour for striking silver glass.

Copper Green separates on top of Carnelian, and when Carnelian is used on top of Copper Green, you can see light lines around the Carnelian as well as a fracturing of the Copper Green into little beads of dark turquoise. Neat.

Opal Yellow also separates on top of Carnelian, and on top of Opal Yellow, Carnelian looks a bit orange. I think this is because it is semi-opaque, and it's the result of the yellow peeking through the pinkness.

There are no real reactions to speak of with Carnelian and Tuxedo, Ivory, or Peace.

Here are some beads made with Carnelian.

November 21, 2016

Test Results :: Elphaba

CiM Elphaba is a beautiful spring green.  For the longest time I've shied away from brighter colours, but I've burst out of that self-imposed prison this year, and I'm hooked on this one. After some very minor encounters with the bright Effetre greens (Nile Green, Pea Green) I approached this colour thinking that it would be more aggressive with other colours, and streakier. I was pleasantly surprised!

Elphaba is a surprisingly soft colour. I'd rate its viscosity maybe a 1 or 2 on the scale where 0 is Effetre White and 10 is Effetre Black.

Here, you can see that reducing Elphaba in the bead on the right had no effect on the colour of it.

Silver causes a little bit of brown discolouration when it's used on top of Elphaba.

I don't really understand the things that happened when I reduced and encased the silver, because the brownness seems to have diminished, and really organized itself in a vertical line in the rightmost bead. Possibly that was a join line in my encasing, and so maybe it was all looking for somewhere to go and there was some space there before it melted in?  I just don't know, but it's one of those things that make me go "hmmm".

I'm not sure what to say here except that Elphaba doesn't really make a pretty or particularly effective base for silver glass.

Tuxedo makes Elphaba separate, and so you can see in both beads how wherever the two touch, the Elphaba develops a line. In the bead on the left, the result looks like a green outline to the tuxedo stringerwork that is faintly outlined in black. In the bead on the right, you can see a faint black line through the Elphaba stringer lines and faint black dots in the centre of the Elphaba dots.

Copper Green, Opal Yellow, and Ivory all spread quite a lot on top of Elphaba, and the Copper Green looks really Turquoise when it's used with Elphaba and even blushes a bit pink in places, but there's no trace of the dark patina that often develops on it.  Also, around the Copper Green stringer lines there's almost a fissure-like outline and you can see in the rightmost bead that the Elphaba has separated on top of the Copper Green.

Opal Yellow strikes odd pinkish grey in blotches when it's used on top of Elphaba, and around Elphaba dots and stringer lines. Peace goes a little weird in the same way on top of Elphaba, but so mildly that it's not very noticeable.

There are no real reactions of note with Ivory.

Here are some beads made with Elphaba. This colour has stolen my heart :)

November 14, 2016

Test Results :: Sky Blue Opalino

Effetre Sky Blue Opalino is a lovely pale blue semi-opaque colour. I used rods from two separate batches (bought eight years apart) and there was no variation to speak of between the two which was nice. It has a unique reaction profile, and I was able to do some pretty fun things with it. And since the Opalino colours are widely feared and reviled, it's not very expensive.  Win!

When I was using this colour on my 5L oxycon, I got a lot of sooting no matter how cool I tried to work and how neutral I tried to keep my flame. It was pretty frustrating. But, at the beginning of September I got a new 10L oxygen concentrator, and it has been a very happy experience discovering that not all of my problems are my own fault!

I don't find this colour particularly shocky, and I didn't have any trouble with boiling it, either.

Here, you can see that in the bead I reduced, some of the brightness has been stolen from the colour. There are two things at work here - the first is that repeatedly striking semi-opaque colours pretty much universally (with the exception of the pink opalinos, and ghee and possibly a few others that are striking colours) opacifies them and lightens the colour. But I do believe that reducing it has changed the colour slightly as well, making it tend a little purpler than in the unreduced beads.

Here's something that I did not expect. This is the first blue that I've tested that turns brown when it's used with silver. It did it both in the bead where the silver is on top of the colour, and the bead where the silver is reduced and encased on top of the colour, although reducing and encasing it resulted in a much lighter brown.

Silver also behaves a bit differently on top of Sky Blue Opalino than it does on   If we look back at one of my early tests of Vetrofond Pajama Blue, which is the colour closest to this one that I've tested (I think - there are really a lot of tests up here at this point), we see that the reactions are quite different. With Pajama Blue, the silver turned brown. In these beads, the colour change is in the Sky Blue Opalino.

In the bead on the left, you can see that the silver glass reduction frit has discoloured the base bead giving it a really interesting antiqued look.  Also, the reduction has deadened the colour of the Sky Blue Opalino, making it contrast better with the colours of the frit.  

In the rightmost bead, although I didn't get the colour very uniformly, I got some gorgeous colours from the TerraNova2 frit towards the bottom edge of the bead.  This tells me that this is a pretty friendly base colour for striking silver glass.

On top of Sky Blue Opalino, Tuxedo looks blue-ish.

Copper Green separates when it's used with Sky Blue Opalino, and when it's used on top, it gets a pinkish grey outline to its dots and stringer lines.

Using Sky Blue Opalino on top of Opal Yellow seems to have helped it to strike a pinkish colour. Opal Yellow and Peace both separate slightly on top of Sky Blue Opalino.

Sky Blue Opalino reacts with Ivory, and you can see that the Sky Blue stringerwork in the leftmost bead has turned a brownish colour, and the Ivory stringer lines and dots are ringed with a faint dark line in the bead on the right.

Here is a very small sample of the fun I am having with Sky Blue Opalino.

November 9, 2016

Comparison :: Super Clear, Crystal, Experimental, and Zephyr

Before telling you about my test results and giving you my opinions, I should share that I didn't clean any of this glass with any real rigour. I wiped it vigorously with the hem of my shirt and then ripped the tip off the rod in the flame and got to work making the beads.  I did it this way because it's how I generally approach the glass, and can concede that there might be more effective ways to get good results with clear :)

These are the four clears I had on hand when I decided I wanted to compare Clears.  Effetre Super Clear, Reichenbach 104 Crystal, CiM Experimental, and Double Helix Zephyr.  I kind of wish that I'd had some Lauscha Clear and some Uroboros 104 CoE Clear to test as well, but I didn't and I am on a buying break, so we will settle for these four.

Pretty much every batch of Super Clear I've ever had has been yucky, prone to scumming, and with long scratches down the sides of the rods that contribute to bubbles. I have heard through the years that cleaning Super Clear by pickling it can really improve its quality, but I haven't tried that myself because of all the clear you can buy that isn't so high maintenance. My favourite use for Super Clear is to core the inside of beads when I'm using expensive colours on the surface, but it can also be a nice encasing glass when the encasement layer won't be very deep. Super Clear is only $9.80/LB today at Frantz Art Glass, making it a very affordable clear. Maybe it's worth the effort to pickle it :)

Crystal is lovely and can be very clean and clear, but it has some unique challenges. First, it's much stiffer than other clears, making it a bit more challenging to encase with. Second, it will boil if you hold it in one place too long in the flame and it gets too hot. Those bubbles can be a real buzzkill when you're adding a final layer of clear dots to a complex bead, so you have to be really careful to work it cool and/or to keep it moving in the flame. Crystal rod diameter is not very consistent, so it's really nice to be able to go somewhere and handpick the rod diameter that pleases you most. I prefer the thin 4mm-ish rods of Crystal because I find them easier to encase with. Crystal is $28.74/LB at right now at Olympic Color Rods.

The new CiM Experimental clear is much nicer than I remember CiM's regular clear being. It doesn't boil or scum very easily, and is similar in consistency to Super Clear, somewhere between the soupiness of Zephyr and the stiffness of Crystal. My only issue with Experimental has been that while it does not scum up easily or in every single bead, I have had some scumming issues with it. I used it to encase a round bead and ended up with a snail trail of scum all around the world. Kandice Seeber told me that the scum that comes up on Experimental in this way can be eliminated by heating it up. So, with that solution in place, Experimental's only real problem goes away.  You can see in the bead above that apart from the bubble scum that I did not heat up to eliminate, the clarity is very nice. Frantz has Experimental now for $14.70/LB which is half the price of either Crystal or Zephyr.

Note: Editing to add that as of Nov 24, 2016 I am only having intermittent luck burning off the devit/scumming that appears sometimes on Experimental.  I'm finding that the times when I do get the scumming, it appears on the tip of the rod as I am applying the clear, and is sometimes easy to remove with additional heating and sometimes not. I rather like Experimental apart from this irritating problem, but this is a thing that I can't really get past.

Hands down, the least fussy clear in this grouping is Zephyr. Zephyr is also the softest clear and the easiest to encase with. It's so very soft that it glides right onto a surface and it's easy to get a thin layer and to minimize the 'join lines' between each wrap.  In the picture above, you can see that Zephyr is almost perfectly clear, with only the teeny tiniest of little imperfections. My Zephyr is second quality, as I'm too cheap to pay the first quality price when the seconds are so wonderful. At the time of writing this, Zephyr seconds are $30/lb on Double Helix's website.

There are some interesting differences in the way that silver behaves on top of these clears. These beads have all been treated with a thick layer of silver leaf, which was then burnished on and melted in.

The first characteristic, which I'll call 'silver dispersal', is how the silver spreads itself over the glass' surface when it's melted in. Zephyr has the finest and most even silver dispersal, with the silver bits all being melted away and forming a fine cloudiness on the surface.  Reichenbach Crystal has the lumpiest and most uneven dispersal. I wonder if this has something to do with viscosity?

The second characteristic in these beads worth mentioning is discolouration. Crystal has fumed a much deeper, browner colour than its friends in this picture.

In these beads, I took a core of the relevant clear, covered it in a thickish layer of silver foil, and then encased that with more of the clear.

You can see from this picture that Zephyr and Super Clear were both much less reactive with the silver than Crystal and Experimental, discolouring less.

The silver turned gold in the Crystal and Experimental beads, although the gold is a different colour in each. With Crystal, the colour is more like 10K gold, and with Experimental, more like 24K.

In this final picture, you see all four clears used to encase a small, reduced core of Double Helix Arke. I would have to do more testing to see how repeatable these results were, but it seems like less of the Arke's colour is lost when it is encased with Zephyr.  In the beads that I made with Super Clear and Crystal, the Arke is more of a pale blue, and Experimental's bead is somewhere in between. 

However, while I tried very hard to be consistent, this colour variation could also be because of differences in how I reduced the colour, how much I reduced the colour, how warm the bead was when I encased the colour or any other number of variables. If I had more time to spend on this clear project, I'd explore that further and maybe since I don't, one of you will give it a shot :)

Which clear should you choose?  I wouldn't presume to tell you, but hopefully I've given you some information that will help you make the right decision for the work that you do.

November 7, 2016

Test Results :: Light Umber

Effetre Light Umber is one of the 800-series colours, which probably means that it's limited production and won't be around for too much longer. I think it's a really interesting colour, pretty unique in the 104 palette, and both earthy and fiery at the same time. Depending on how much you strike it and the other colours it is used with, it can range from looking quite a burnt orange to being a very dark olive green, and all the shades in between.

Here you can see that in the bead I reduced, the colour is much darker. I'm not sure if this is because it struck in the reduction flame or if reducing it actually darkened the colour. Putting silver on Light Umber also made it a dark brownish green.

In the leftmost bead, you can see that silver turns a greyish colour and stays more or less in place on top of Light Umber, similarly to how it behaves with Ivory. Reduced and encased, the silver turns blue.

I am pretty sure that this cracking was the result of me having a rod of old Precision 104 Diamond Clear mixed in with my clear shorts, and not from putting silver on Light Umber, but the bead I put silver leaf on top of cracked in a really odd way. It's clearly a compatibility crack, because of how weirdly jagged and around the widest part of the bead it is, and dicey clear is the only thing I can think of that could have caused this.

Light Umber goes dark in beads with silver glass, too. I think it's a great base colour for silver glasses - the reduction colours pop, and the striking silver glass got beautiful purples even if I wasn't patient enough to properly develop the colour.

Light Umber is very reactive with Tuxedo - you can see in the leftmost bead how it has risen around the Tuxedo in halos, and in the bead on the right how it has quite dramatically separated on top of the Tuxedo.

With Copper Green, the edges of whichever colour is used in smaller quantity get dark, but the reaction is mild. Light Umber separates slightly on top of Copper Green and Copper Green spreads on top of Light Umber.

There are no obvious reactions between Light Umber and Opal Yellow, Ivory, or Peace. There is a slight separation of Light Umber on top of Opal Yellow and Peace, but nothing dramatic.

And here are some fun beads with Light Umber :)