Archive for November 2009
A solution for photography of small beads. Keith talks about a simple and cheap solution to. Read more
One of the most basic and useful detail elements used in lampworking beads is the rose cane. I notice them being used in the old beads I saw in the catalogs of antique beads that I looked at to teach myself bead designs. Through experimenting I discovered that the cane needed to be both transparent and opaque to make an effective embellishment.
Though a rose cane is a very effective way to depict a rose on a glass bead, it is also a great detail cane for other decorative applications like feathered lines or bright pink squiggles.
Start heating both the white and the pink rods at the same time, but heat the pink more by holding it below the white in the flame because the white will slump much faster than the pink and you need it a little stiff to apply the pink.
As you get a gather of pink on the end of your rod, start applying strips of the pink to about 1 to 1 ½ inches of the white rod. Continue applying the pink around the white rod until you have coated all the way around. You can vary the depth of the pink you apply to the white rod depending on how dark you want your rose cane to be.
Once you have the desired thickness of gold pink applied to your white rod, you need to marver the rose cane into a smooth cylinder to insure that the cane pulls evenly.
At this point you need to keep your rose cane warm and apply the second punty to give you a handle to hold onto during the pulling process. Once the punty is applied and cool enough to not stretch, start moving the pink coated section back and forth in the flame, being sure to rotate it frequently to heat it all the way through. I like to pull the cane into a football shape when I am heating it to get more of the mass of the cane in the middle and not so much on the punty.
When your cane is thoroughly heated, start pulling slowly at first because white tends to get very liquid and thin out the cane if you pull too fast at the beginning. When you start feeling a little resistance in the glass, start pulling faster until you achieve the desired size of rose cane that you want. I like to use a punty that is at least 13 inches long so that I can move my hand down to the far end to extend my reach which helps to get the maximum length out of your cane pull.
Once you have stopped pulling the cane, hold the cane still and straight until the glass firms up. White glass stays flexible for an amazing length of time and holding the cane until it is firm saves you from having crooked cane.
Next lay the cane flat on a table placing the right punty down to cut it into usable lengths and let cool until you can pick it up. If the rose cane appears too light, don’t worry because gold pink tends to strike and un-strike as you heat it and it will develop the desired color when you use the cane.
Aventurine Marron is the Italian name for a specialty glass the Americans call Goldstone. Before I got into lampworking I would see cut stones and beads made out of goldstone in lapidary shops and I have always thought it was really cool looking glass.
Frantz Art Glass buys its goldstone/aventurine from Effetre, but on one trip to Murano, Italy we found out that Effetre didn’t actually make the goldstone, but instead was a middle man for another glass company. This lead us on an adventure to find out where and how it was made because we were looking for a source for larger chunks (fist size boulders), so that we could offer a larger range of goldstone piece sizes.
The formula for making adventurine /goldstone has been a much guarded secret through the ages in Europe. The story goes that it was originally developed by glass making monks, but I can’t say how accurate this charming tale is. I know for sure that the goldstone we buy from Effetre is made in a glass factory in Northern Italy.
One of the reasons that this particular type of glass is so expensive is the fact that when they make a crucible of goldstone, only one third of the batch is “A” quality with the familiar bright flakes in it. The other two parts of the batch are “B” quality that has a lot of veins of brown in it and the last third is waste and they have to break the crucible off the glass when it has cooled, so they lose the crucible ever time they make a batch and crucibles are expensive.
You can get goldstone/aventurine to use in five sizes from powder to large chunks that you can use as is or process into what ever stringer or cane you like. Last year we were fortunate to obtain a batch of specially made goldstone ribbon cane that was made by a glass artist that we know on Murano. Recently we received another batch of ribbon cane and this batch is really great! It is thicker, brighter and easier to use than the last batch and I have been enjoying using it.
The ribbon cane is really nice to use because it has a very thin coat of clear glass over the goldstone which keeps the ribbon cane looking brilliant even when exposed to high heat. I learned the hard way that to get goldstone from pieces to look bright after being torched, it is best to have a thin layer of clear glass over it. When I first started messing around with goldstone, I would have the raw goldstone in the flame and it would turn kind of khaki brown-green with almost no sparkle to it – very disappointing!
Aventurine/goldstone comes in a few other colors which the most common are blue and green, though I have seen red goldstone in the past. You have to be careful with the really rare colors of goldstone because sometimes it is not compatible.
I am a die hard dichroic fan, but I had not paid much attention to the CBS Dichroic on Copper Sheet because at first I couldn’t get my head around it. When I first saw some dichroic on copper sheet, it was Silver and it just didn’t catch my attention. Recently I was shown a dichroic on copper sheet that was a pattern called “Mixture” that has soft blues and pinks in it as well as silver and I said to myself – WOW, this stuff is really neat looking. I had a sheet that had been slightly broken up and the bag was full of cool looking dichroic bit-shards. The dichroic shards really got me motivated to make some beads with it and I really like the results.
You have to be careful when you open the bag of Dichroic on Copper and have a sheet of paper under the bag to catch any shards that might flake off. I put the dichroic shards that I had on a graphite pad that I use for rolling up shards on to beads and it works really well.
The dichroic on copper sheet was designed to provide dichroic that can be put on any glass, so you don’t have the problem of matching the glass you are using with what ever the dichroic is coated on. Another great thing about the dichroic on copper is the fact that the dichroic layer on the copper is 3 times thicker than any other way that dichroic is normally applied. The thicker coating makes the dichroic much more durable and less likely to burn to that gray scum that everyone hates.
The copper sheets also allow the artist to cut patterns or strips of dichroic in the sheet and roll the dichroic right up off the copper onto a hot bead or other lampworked form.
CBS (Coatings by Sandberg) has a good instructional video posted on the web that is good to watch and it provides some great working points that help in using this product. If you have never seen dichroic on copper used, I recommend watching this short educational video on the Sandberg website.
In case you are wondering what to do with the sheet of copper once you have used all the dichroic, the copper is of a thickness and quality that it can be used to apply cut out patterns of copper on to a bead. I have seen some stunning examples of this technique and highly recommend giving it a try.