Archive for April 2009
I did a dichroic bead demo for the Pacific Northwest Bead Society last Sunday and one of the beads that I demonstrated was a Gold Pink cored bead with different colored dichroic scraps placed all over the bead.
The reason I am talking about this bead today is the fact that I finally found a Gold Pink glass that will work inside one of these dichroic beads without cracking it and that is the Cranberry Pink produced by CiM / Messy Color.
I tried for years to make a bead like this using the Gold Pinks that came from Italy, but every time I encased the Italian Gold Pinks they would crack the dichroic encasement and even just plain clear would crack over the pink. I figured there was some kind of molecular incompatibility between the Gold Pink and Clear glass, but I couldn’t nail down what it exactly was without scientific equipment. I gave up trying to make this kind of bead for about 10 years, not wanting to waste anymore time or glass.
Recently, I realize that there was a new Gold Pink on the market and had been available for several months, that is compatibility tested with all the available 104 COE lampworking glasses and it is the Cranberry Pink produced by CiM / Messy Color. When the light finally dawned on me, I was really happy with the results I got when I took some Cranberry Pink to the studio and started making dichroic encased beads with it.
The Cranberry Pink core in one of these dichroic encased beads makes the purples, blues, lavender, pinks and silver dichroic scraps pop, producing a very pleasing color balance. The colors come out so beautiful that you almost want to eat the beads.
The CiM Cranberry Pink that I use for the core of these dichroic encased beads is a Unique Cranberry Pink that is paler than the regular Cranberry Pink. I use the Unique version of this color because the regular Cranberry Pink is very dense ( so that it can be used in small amounts in detail work and produce a pleasing pink) and becomes too dark, making it difficult to see that it is a raspberry pink.
If you like using pinks in your glass bead making, I suggest that you give the CiM Cranberry Pink and Cranberry Pink Unique a try.
For this blog segment, I have chosen to talk about the CiM / Messy Color glass that have the characteristic of being slightly cloudy.
Bead makers often ask me why these special glass colors were made. Well, I have always been fascinated with the old European glass that is referred to as Milk Glass or Opal Glass because of the way it looks. I have looked for, bought and tested different batches of glass from different countries in Europe for the last 25 years looking for this kind of glass, which turned out to be rarer than hens’ teeth.
Cirrus was the first attempt at making this kind of glass and in the process to getting Cirrus to look like the old Milk or Opal glass, I learned why it was so hard to find. This kind of glass was very challenging to make and that is probably why none had been made for a long time. Making this Milk / Opal glass compatible with other 104 COE lampworking glass was another challenge to overcome because all the Milk / Opal glass that was made and used in the past was not mixed with any other glass, so there was no compatibility issue to deal with.
With much testing, CiM managed to produce a consistent Milk / Opal glass they named Cirrus after the clouds that drift over our heads. Cirrus is a transparent / translucent white glass with bluish under tones. When worked, Cirrus looks a lot like high quality Moonstones which are a semi-precise natural stone that you can find made into beads of every imaginable shape and size.
There are three other colors in the Cirrus family of thetransparent / translucent glass made by CiM. They are a beautiful blue called Halong Bay (named after a very famous & beautiful bay in Northern Vietnam), Peacock Green and Rose Quartz (which really looks like the gem stone it is named after).
I really like to use these colors as encasements over intense dichroic scrap beads. The semi-cloudy aspect
dampens down the intense sparkle of the dichroic crystals, creating a more subtle presentation (see examples in this blog). The Halong Bay, Cirrus and Peacock Green really work well over the sparkling dichroic crystals.
I think that these transparent / translucent colors are a wonderful addition to the 104 COE glass color palette and should all be given a try. I also find that the glass rods made by Messy Color handle very well in the flame, with no bubbling or black scum forming on the beads, like I get when I use Italian Opal or Alabaster type glass.
The last thing I am going to talk about, is the interesting characteristic that Cirrus has (I am not sure if the other three colors react this way) of being slow to etch with the available etching creams on the market. Use Cirrus over a section of a bead that you want a window left in it after the bead has been etched and etch the bead only long enough to etch the other glass colors in the bead. This practice can produce amazingly dramatic results and is far easier to do than having to apply a resist to the places on the bead that you don’t want etched. Check out the examples I have posted in this blog.