February 20, 2017
Double Helix Arke is a bit of a funny one. It's transparent, and sort of a medium level of darkness/saturation, so it doesn't really hold its own with other colours the way Triton and Psyche do. However, do not be deceived by the fugliness of my test beads. Arke is a seriously beautiful colour when you use it right.
Arke is also very reactive and a bit sensitive to over-reduction, so it's important to go slowly when you reduce Arke so that you don't discolour it. It's always a good idea when you reduce the reduction colours to do it a little bit at a time. When you encase reduced Arke, it has a mother-of-pearl shininess under the clear layer that is easy to achieve and easy to keep.
Arke, reduced on its own, can yield a beautiful rainbow of colours with repeated and targeted reduction.
On the left here, you can see a plain, self-coloured Arke spacer that shows the medium dark blue hue of unreduced Arke. On the right, a lightly reduced self-coloured Arke spacer that shows some surface lustre.
This bead is a core of Arke, reduced, and then encased with clear. I've encased Arke before without so much yellow, and I think that the reason I got so much yellow here is because the Arke was over-reduced.
These beads were made with an Arke core, encased with four different clears. I did not over-reduce these beads, and you can see that the clear you use to encase Arke can really change how it looks after encasing. The clears I used here are Effetre Super Clear (006), Reichenbach Crystal, CiM Experimental, and Double Helix Zephyr.
These beads, unattractive though they may be, showcase how very reactive Arke is. I did not reduce these beads, so any surface sheen is due either to reactions or to the colours behaviour in a neutral flame. It is sort of interesting that you can see the strange surface sheen with Tuxedo, Copper Green, and Ivory but not with either Peace or Opal Yellow.
It was surprising to me that you can see Arke on top of and underneath Tuxedo. Usually when I test a transparent colour (silver glass or no) I do not expect to see much action with Tuxedo because I'm not reducing it. For example, if you look back at the test beads that I made for Precision 104 Black Pearl, you can see that colour is completely invisible with Tuxedo. In these beads, Arke has developed a sort of ghostly sheen wherever it meets Tuxedo.
Arke on top of Copper Green develops an interesting shiny halo inside the Arke stringerwork. Copper Green turns an odd, splotchy pinkish brown colour underneath Arke. When Copper Green is used on top of Arke, it separates. Copper Green often does this on top of other colours, but what is unique about the reaction with Arke is that the exterior of the Copper Green stringerwork turned brownish in the rightmost bead.
Using Arke on top of Opal Yellow fumed the Opal Yellow a deeper yellow in places. When I used Opal Yellow on top of Arke, the Opal Yellow developed a darker yellowish brown outline.
Arke on top of Ivory is pretty awesome. It separates so that the middle of dots and stringer lines have a bluer appearance than the edges, and it develops a strong dark line reaction with Ivory that really makes it pop. You can see that where I used Arke on top of Ivory, it has also made the Ivory curdle a little bit underneath it. Ivory develops a strong brown outline when it is used on top of Arke as well as an outer, lighter edge to that line which gives it some pretty neat definition.
Arke on top of Peace looks more like bluish brown glass with a brown outline than blue glass on top of white. Where Peace is used on top of Arke, it separates, developing a strong brown outline.
Here are some beads made with Arke.