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July 18, 2019

Test Results :: Wisteria


Wisteria (CiM628) from Creation is Messy is a misty opal version of Crocus, and is officially the prettiest lavender that I've ever used. Because it is a limited run, maybe you didn't get any. I'm sorry about that - I didn't get very much either, but I will hope that it gets remade so that we can all have more. I have been thinking about whether or not I would still need Crocus if this colour were made more regularly, and decided that I wouldn't want to have to choose. I hope CiM produces more batches of both colours.


I got a few bubbles in these initial beads that I made, but Wisteria is not a bubbly colour. It works up with minimal fuss, and its colour stays true whether your flame is oxidizing or reducing.


Silver affects the colour, though, and you can see here how the application of silver leaf made the colour greyer. In the bead where I reduced and encased the silver, a lot of the grey was transformed into the silvery coating you can see under my clear layer.


Silver glass is pretty on top of Crocus.


And finally, Crocus is not very reactive with other colours. None of my usual combinations provoked any reactions from it, and the only thing work noting here is how dull Copper Green looks on top of it.

Here are some beads I made with this pretty colour.


July 9, 2019

Test Results :: Eclectus Parrot


CiM Eclectus Parrot (CiM473) is a vibrant green opal. It's the juicy shade of lime Jell-o and completely fuss-free to work with.


The smaller bead looks darker here only because more of the dark background is showing through. Reducing Eclectus Parrot does not alter its colour.


Eclectus Parrot is not very reactive with silver. Silver stays silver underneath it, and when reduced and encased on top of it, the silver turns a whiteish colour with blue streaks through it.


Eclectus Parrot is a good base colour for striking silver glass.


Copper Green separates on top of Eclectus Parrot, and there is also a slight amount of separation in Opal Yellow, Ivory, and Peace when used on top of this colour.

I don't seem to have any other pictures of beads made with Eclectus Parrot. If I make more, or I find some pictures, I'll come back and update this.

July 5, 2019

Limited Palette Colour Challenge (June 2019)

I kicked off this summer with a challenge to myself and other lampworkers in the Limited Palette Challenge group on Facebook.  The premise of the challenge was simple. We could use only Black, White, and Light Turquoise in our beads, and the only tools we could use were mandrels and a graphite marver.  Our job was to create whatever beauty we could from three starkly different colours.


This is how I started. The colour I was allowed to use was laid out and ready - some for putting directly on the beads, and some, weighed and pre-cut, waiting for me to blend them.

Note the sad lack of clutter on my bench. No enameled stringer available, no stamps, no presses, not even a tweezer. The tweezer shortage was periodically a big bummer, but this was the start of quite a lot of fun.

Each session at the torch multiplied my palette as I mixed 3-4 new colours  from the three challenge colours at the start of every torching session:


The mixing has become a bit of a fetish, and I can't seem to stop. Here are all the colours I mixed as I moved through my 6 torching sessions. Some of these got mixed more than once, I liked them so much.


I'm particularly fond of the Dark Blue transparent I got by mixing Black and Dark Turquoise in a 1:1 ratio and the pinkish purple I got from mixing Black and White in a 1:8 ratio.

I made a video to help other challenge participants with colour mixing. If you are interested in seeing how I mix colours, you can find it at this link:
https://www.facebook.com/mecagra/videos/10156417219278697/
(sorry, for this one you will need to join the Limited Palette Challenge group on Facebook. Next time I make a video I'll post it on YouTube, but I'm still getting the hang of this.)

Here are the beads I made, grouped by the week I made them in:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Group Shot (All 4 weeks together)



I learned a lot about mixing colour, and had some neat design ideas for beads, but the most important things I learned last month doing this challenge were about myself.

I learned that:
  • I prefer to make beads with a really minimal set of tools, but a marver just isn't enough. Out of everything else I have sitting around, the only things I really missed all month long were my tweezers (serrated and tungsten types), my beading awl, my brass knife, my mini-mashers, and my jumbo roll-about mashers. All my other tools are just taking up space.
  • I really like mixing colours. A lot.
  • I'm slowly transforming from a big bead person to a small bead person.
  • It's not necessary to have a lot of colours, and I have more fun when I have fewer choices in front of me.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to.  If you feel like playing next time, join our Facebook Group :)

June 28, 2019

Test Results :: Porpoise


Porpoise (CiM828) is a medium grey opaque. When it is molten, it is disconcertingly green in colour. I thought for sure that the finished beads would be greenish, but they aren't in the least.


Reducing Porpoise turns it brown.


Porpoise seems to fall somewhere between Effetre Light Gray and Effetre Dark Gray in hue. It's much darker than Pearl Grey, and less blue/green than Bayou, another new CiM colour.


On top of Porpoise, reduced silver turns yellow under encasement.


Porpoise gets an interesting light border around TerraNova2 frit, and the colours really popped in my reduction frit bead. It seems like it might be an interesting base colour for silver glass.


Porpoise separates on top of Tuxedo, Copper Green, and Peace. It spreads out on top of Opal Yellow, and develops a brownish dark line reaction with Ivory.

On top of Porpose, Copper Green separates and Ivory develops a dark shadow line around its edges that looks like it has texture.

These beads contain some Porpoise.





June 20, 2019

Test Results :: Cerulean


CiM Cerulean (CiM559) is a medium aqua transparent, almost the same colour as Effetre Light Aqua. It's maybe a shade or two darker than Light Aqua and a little stiffer in its working viscosity.  For me, this colour and Cerulean Sparkle (CiM560) were essentially the same colour so I'm not testing them separately.


Here the small spacer only looks a bit darker because there's less glass on the mandrel to colour-filter the dark grey background. I noticed no real visual difference when I reduced this colour.


On top of Cerulean, silver beads up and disperses the same way as it did on top of CiM Aiko, but unlike my results with that colour the silver here turned greyish and looked a little smeared. 

Cerulean doesn't discolour silver, as you can see in the middle bead where I sandwiched a layer of silver foil between a base and encasement layer of Cerulean.

Finally, when I reduced and encased silver leaf on top of Cerulean I got a lovely silvery and blue-blushed coating underneath my Super Clear.


I got some good starting strike out of my TerraNova 2 frit with this colour, and silver glass seems to generally like it although I don't have much use for the blue-on-blueness of the left bead.


I really like the colour I got from Cerulean when I layered it over Opal Yellow. It got bluer and the dots and lines have a slightly mottled look that is very appealing and organic.

When Cerulean is on top of Ivory, it turns the Ivory brownish the same way Effetre light Aqua does. Strangely enough, when the Ivory is on top, you don't see much reaction between the two colours.

Here are some other beads that include Cerulean:

June 11, 2019

Test Results :: Egg White


Egg White (CiM319) is a pale yellow semi-opaque colour. It's beautifully translucent and only a little reactive with silver. I found some sort of magical reactions when I went through my test set.


I found that once I got the hang of working it a bit higher up in the flame and with less intense heat that I got much fewer of these little white snail trails in the glass. It's good that they're easy to avoid, because they don't really improve the colour.


Silver spreads out and beads up in little circles all over the surface of Egg White. If you encase silver foil with Egg White, you can expect for the silver to turn a bright golden yellow. The bead furthest to the right is the big star here, with my encased and reduced silver leaf over egg white turned lacy, silvery, and blue in a very interesting way.


In the bead where I used and reduced silver glass reduction frit, the Egg White underneath fumes a greenish yellow. My TerraNova2 frit started to strike, but this glass is not an accellerant.



On top of Egg White, Copper Green stays very clean looking and separates into two very different colours. The dots and lines of it look almost like they have depth because of the amount and seriousness of the separation.

Opal Yellow separates on top of Egg White.

Using Egg White stringer on top of Opal Yellow and Ivory creates an interesting amount of depth and colour shift to the base colour underneath. I'm going to need to experiment with this some more.

Here are some other beads made with Egg White.





May 28, 2019

Test Results :: Smurfy



Smurfy (CiM569) is a medium to dark turquoise opaque colour. I found it really creamy and nice to work with, and vastly prefer it to the other dark turquoise opaques (Dark Turquoise, Dark Sky Blue) from Effetre because it doesn't easily develop that greyish dirty patina that other turquoises get, although you can make that happen if you really try.


You can see in the bead on the left that when I reduced Smurfy it got a greyish haze on its surface. I reduced this bead a few times trying to get it to change colour. I was hoping for that solid red brick coating you can sometimes get on turquoises, but that doesn't seem to happen with this one.


Smurfy is darker than both Light Turquoise and Fremen, more of a shade with Dark Sky Blue. Unlike Dark Sky Blue, it doesn't easily develop that grey sheen, although you can make it happen if you hold it in a reducing flame.


On top of Smurfy, silver leaf looks a greyish green colour. When you reduce and encase it, it turns yellow.


Smurfy seems like it is probably a decent base for silver glass.


Like other turquoises, Smurfy gets a dark line with Ivory. Smurfy separates on top of Tuxedo and Copper Green. Apart from that, there weren't very many reactions in these beads.

Here are some other beads made with Smurfy.






May 21, 2019

Test Results :: Tahitian Pearl


Tahitian Pearl (CiM827) is a dark greyish purple that gets shiny in the flame while you're working it. As you'll see, I went into my relationship with Tahitian Pearl expecting it to be similar to Adamantium, but ultimately found it quite a bit more like Effetre Dark Silver Plum, only with more interesting variation in surface texture.


With repeated heating and cooling, the surface of Tahitian Pearl gets all shiny, wrinkly, and uneven. I was alarmed by this when I was making these two beads together on the same mandrel. Then, I reduced the bead on the right and thought that all of the neat surface finish had gone away and was alarmed by that.

And then I took the beads out of the kiln the next morning. It turns out, the wrinkly, textured shiny finish of the unreduced Tahitian Pearl is awesome, and reducing does not take away the surface finish, it just smooths it out. Also awesome.


At first, I thought Tahitian Pearl was like a shiny version of Adamantium. Then, I made this bead and realized that Tahitian Pearl is purple while Adamantium is not, and that silly first impression of mine popped like a soap bubble.


On top of Tahitian Pearl, silver disappears. When the silver is reduced and encased on top of Tahitian Pearl, it turns yellow. Ignore the peach and pink you see on the leftmost bead. This colour doesn't turn silver leaf pink the way Dark Silver Plum does. What you're seeing there is my hand and my T-Shirt in the shiny finish. Reflective!


Tahitian Pearl makes an interesting base colour for silver glass. I got neat colours and reactions from both frit treatments here without much effort.


Here, you can see that Tahitian Pearl separates on top of Tuxedo, but apart from that it seems not to be very reactive with other colours.

This bead was made with Tahitian Pearl and Raku Mottleshards.