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.