Archive for February 2010
I recently paid a visit to Double Helix Glassworks to ask Jed (glass maker extraordinaire) some questions on how to get good color out of some of his more challenging palette.
I bet I am not the only person who finds using the new silvered glass colors a little frustrating sometimes. I look online and see fabulous beads that some people managed to make out of the silvered glass colors and say to myself, I ought to try that. It is a bummer when I do try colors like Luna, Pandora and Khaos, to mention a few and all I manage to make is poop colored beads with no flashing colors of blue, teal, ruby and purple.
When I asked Jed what I was doing wrong, I got a lecture on how the crystal growth manifests in the heated glass. What it boiled down to was that I was over working the glass when I made a bead. Apparently if you take a bead that has transitioned into the tan – poop brown color range, you should heat it all the way to clear and take it out of the flame and cool it until it is not glowing and then just kiss the bead with the edge of the flame way out on the tip to bring out the desired colors.
I think a beadmakers working style and the type of torch and fuel they use has some major effects on the out come, but I have seen beautiful silvered glass beads made on all types of torches. Jed also suggested that turning up the oxygen when I work silvered glass colors could produce better results.
I have better luck with the silvered glass colors that you reduce to bring up the metals to the surface like Triton and Aurae. It took me awhile to figure out how to get good results with Psyche and I made a major breakthrough when I discovered that Psyche worked really well when it was used over Opal Yellow, Dark Ivory and a new Vetrofond “Odd” color called ELO. Dark Ivory gives a more organic look to the beads when used with the silver colors because it produces heavy webbing with black lines in it. I have become an avid fan of ELO since it arrived from Italy because many of the silvered glass colors look fabulous when you use ELO as the base for the bead. Instead of the heavy webbing that Dark Ivory produces, ELO gets warm sepia fuming on the surface of the bead that is just plain yummy and the silvered glass colors glow on this particular “odd” glass.
Double Helix Glassworks has been producing more new glass colors of late like Clio and Ekho that start out looking like a transparent lavender glass and change tobeautiful lustered ruby colors – yum!
In Search of the Perfect 104 Clear is the holy grail of beadmakers. A perfect clear should resists scumming and be optically free of streaks and bubbles. This said, the perfect clear is hard to find and there are many more clears to choose from on the market these days.
A lot of beadmakers are tired of picking the scum and bubbles out of the clear glass that comes from Italy. One way to improve the cleanliness of your clear rods is to wash your rods in your dishwasher and many beadmakers swear that it helps a lot.
Larry Scott developed a technique for good clear. He places his clear rods in pickling solution that is used to take the scum off of silver after it has been soldered. He uses the solution at 1/3 to ½ the strength you would to pickle silver, in a long Pyrex baking dish that can hold the 13” rods comfortably covered with solution. The pickling solution works best if it is warm and leave the glass in the solution for a while, an hour or so (experimenting with time lengths is always a good thing to do). When you take the glass rods out of the solution, thoroughly rinse the glass and let it dry standing up on its ends so the water slides off.
The two Italian glass factories that provide a lot of the glass available to beadmakers have tried to make a better clear over the past 10 years, but their efforts have still fallen short of what most beadmakers would consider a perfect clear. The cleaning techniques that I mentioned above help to improve the cleanliness of the Italian clear glasses, but I have heard many complain that it still falls short of what beadmakers would like.
There are a number of new efforts by newer glass factories like CiM, Double Helix, Troutman Art Glass and Precision 104. All these companies make good clear glass, with CiM being the only one that is competitively priced with the Italian glass. Some beadmakers still complain that CiM clear is not perfect enough, but the factory goes out of its way to hand wrap the clear glass rods to prevent scratches and dirt accumulation.
Double Helix, Troutman Art Glass and Precision 104 have all produced premium clear with a premium price tag. I hear various complaints about these clears also, but from personal experience, I find they are superior to what the Italians make and a whole lot easier to use. The biggest complain about these premium clear glass rods is the price.
If you have come up with a system to improve the clarity of any of the available clear rods on the market, by all means please leave a comment on this blog.
When you click on the Web Gallery, a web page appears that shows links for the three different sections of the web gallery that are Focal Beads, Spacer Beads and Strands. Click on one of the choices and you will be taken to a page of thumb (small images) to pick from. When you click on a thumb image, a large image will appear with a list of the different glass colors that were used in that bead and the glass colors are linked to the Frantz Art Glass web page for easy purchase, plus pertinent information on how the bead was made. Read more
For the past few weeks I have been working on up-dating the “color palette”. I thought it might be timely to talk about this tool.
The “Color Palette” is part of the Frantz Art Glass Newsletter website, this is where you will find a wealth of information about glass and our latest sales and promotions and more! Just visit us at: www.frantznewsletter.com, click on Color Palette – it’s the flashing green and blue button at the top of the page, you can’t miss it.
If you have never checked out the Color Palette, I think you are in for a treat. I have always liked looking at paint or thread color palettes and I think our glass color palette is exceptional for comparing available glass colors from all the glass factories at one time.
I have set up a few screen shots of what you will see as you use the color palette. I think that the color palette is a way awesome tool for finding out what colors are available and an easy way to get to the web page of the colors that you are interested in.
There are 72 new colors that came in from the different manufacturers since the color palette was up-dated last year. When the up-date is complete, Frantz Art Glass will notify everyone who is on our newsletter email list. If you are not on our newsletter list, I urge you to sign up so that you will know when important information on sales and New Products are available.
Click on image to go to larger version of image.