All things Lampworking and beadmaking.
A few weeks back we asked our Facebook friends for some helpful tips for lampwork beginners.
If you have a tip or technique you would like to share, post it on our page Frantz Art Glass Facebook Fan Page.
Thanks to all that participated.
Keep your fingers out of the fire.
Kelly Taylor Kruggel
Beginners Tip: Do Not Be Afraid.
Barbara Desvaux de Marigny
As a beginner it would have helped me if I had understood how important it is to the various techniques to be able to “read” the temperature of the glass bead. Once I learnt this, I found encasing, adding murrini and other techniques much easier to master. Also get to know the areas of your flame and don’t forget how much heat there is just under the flame which is handy when decorating beads especially with stringers.
Worst burns ever were when i thought i could answer and then talk on the phone and melt glass. Let the answering machine do its job. Focus on the task at hand.
Beginners tip: glass wants to be round. Rotate evenly and let your bead round itself out in the flame.
Didn’t realize Frantz had a Facebook page, thanks for mentioning it in your newsletter. Beginner tip: when soaking beads to remove them from the mandrel or once off the mandrel to clean them – add a couple drops of dishwashing liquid to the water, it makes them easier to clean. Tip 2 – if your light turquoise gets a scummy film on the outside, once you take your beads off the mandrel, soak them for about 8 hours in some cola and the scum disappears. If you get scum in the first place, watch to see where in the flame you are holding your rod and adjust it, same if you get red spots in turquoise. You may also have to add more oxygen.
Mary Ann Schwalbach
If you try to imbed silver wire inside a glass bead, it’ll crack as it cools……I’m thinking silver has a different COE as 103
Beginner’s Tips: I don’t think I have any advice that I haven’t already seen. But some of that advice I wish I had followed from the very beginning. Take notes. I have some beads with an effect that I love – and cannot reproduce. (I have many more beads that are attempts to reproduce a favorite effect). I now take notes. A simple notebook starting each entry with the date, the glass I’m using, the experiments. I also note when I change my kiln settings – e.g. a little hotter, a little longer. My notes tend to trail off into a session but I find that if a bead turns out great, I can zero in on what I was using and doing to create that bead. I also note on the previous day’s notes how the beads came out of the kiln – e.g. bright, dark, more blue, etc.
Another piece of advice is LABEL the rods. Maybe because I love buying and trying new glass I have a lot of 1/4 pounds. Its amazing how similar dissimilar rods can be.
My last piece of advice is buy from Frantz. Yes a shameless plug, but they have provided great service and been really helpful whenever I was in a fix.
I and even though I don’t
Cynthia Hass Bishop
Grow ALOE VERA plants outside your studio door! Shocky glass can fly and burn you unexpectedly.
Here’s my tip: don’t get the bead release too thick on the mandrel. It’ll break right in the middle of your coolest bead!!
I like shooting beads on a white background. It provides a uniformed look with other photos, background colors don’t interfere and it allows me to easily isolate the the bead in Photoshop for compositions like ads or banners. But one problem I come across from time to time is losing the details in the edge of the bead. This usually happens because the bead itself is pale and it looks like the white is swallowing the bead.
After some experimenting I came across a simple solution. I place a large piece of black cardboard behind it out or frame. By doing this it ads enough dark reflection to define the edges on the light background.
As you can see in these examples the edges are more defined. Which makes it easier to adjust the contrast with out losing detail.
After photographing some Dichroic Scraps and I discovered something I wanted to share.
The Dichroic Scraps will be on sale in the Fun House so they needed some photos. The scarps were of dichroic on clear. I had a problem was when I was photographing them on white I was loosing all detail.
So what I did was place a black piece of foam-core out of frame to see if I could get a little contrast and something really cool happened. The color on the Dichroic Scraps jumps out.
Here is what append when I placed a black piece of foam-core behind it.
As you can see it made an amazing difference. So if you’re having problems photographing dichroic beads try putting something dark next to it out of frame.
One of our customers, Joy Munshower, posted some wonderful torso beads made with the Effetre glass rod colors ( Sunset, Alexandrite, Green Tea, Earth, Dark Ivory, and Neptune) and Vetrofond glass rod ( Topaz ODD ). They were such great examples of these colors I thought I would share them in this blog.
The murrini used were by Donna Millard
I would like to see this bead in person because Effetre Alexandrite shifts hue slightly with different light.
This Green Tea bead looks like it was sculpted out of a Marble.
For more images check out her Facebook page.
I became aware of the existence of a type of Italian decorative cane called “Zanfirico” the first time I visited Murano back in the early 1990’s. It is stored in the same warehouse at Effetre with the murrini cane and was a titillating eye candy experience.
Zanfirico is a hand pulled cane style that requires a lot of skill to produce and is very popular with the traditional glass blowers on Murano, who do beautiful blown glass pieces with ribbons of fine twisting colors in stunning vases, bowls and other glass objects.
Frantz Art Glass has had Zanfirico cane available for many years, but it was marketed as “Marble Stock” in our catalog and on our website. The colors of Zanfirico that Frantz had in the past was not as delightful as the new batch that is now available and there is a better selection of cane sizes to pick from with this new shipment.
Since there are all these new styles and colors of Zanfirico, I decided to see what I could do using this cane style to make beads. I had a lot of fun seeing how I could make fancy 2 mm stringers out of 15 to 20 mm thick pieces that were 2 – 2 ½ inch long of zanfirico cane. I heat these short thick pieces of zanfirico cane in my annealing kiln at 1000F and then pick them up out of the kiln with a glass punty that is heated at the pick-up end to sticky hot. I then transfer the zanfirico chunk to the torch flame and start warming it and add a glass punty to the other end. When the zanfirico chunk starts to get soft, I start to introduce more twists into the cane and when it is ready to pull out, I continue to add more twists to make them compact enough to look good in a bead. This treatment takes a little practice, but is well worth it.
While I was experimenting with the zanfirico cane, I discovered that some of the cane patterns actually looked better when I applied a 5 to 6 mm cane directly to a thin bead cylinder on a mandrel and heated and twisted the cane down as I melted it around the bead. This technique allowed me to use the cane in its’ full size which made the cane pattern larger and more visible and I really liked the results. Instead of wispy twisted patterns of color, I got beefy twists that were more dramatic.
If you like exotic stringers, I highly recommend trying some of this new shipment of zanfirico cane. It saves you from having to make it from scratch and it allows you to introduce details into your beads that are difficult to produce and very lovely to see.
|Blue spiral zanfirico over base of CiM Creamsicle with Peace and Cornflower dots||Blue spiral zanfirico over base of CiM Rose Quartz with an accent stringer of goldstone.|
|Pink spiral zanfirico stringer over bead made from Intense Blue.||Bead made with 6 mm zanfirico cane with multiple threads of blue and yellow that was warped around the mandrel and tips of Intense Blue were added for accents.|
|Blue spiral zanfirico stringer warped around a round bead made with CiM Pumpkin.||Round bead wrapped with 6 mm cane line zanfirico in black and white over a core of CiM Chalcedony.|
|Yellow line zanfirico over core of Intense Blue with dots of CiM Pumpkin and Cornflower, made with a 6 mm cane.||Pink line zanfirico over core of CiM Cornflower, made with a 6 mm cane.|
|Pink spiral zanfirico stringer over CiM Poison Apple.||Goldstone zanfirico with black line over a core of CiM Great Bluedini.|
|White line zanfirico stringer over CiM Tuxedo. When line zanfirico is pulled down to stringer size, the zanfirico can become very wispy.||Small round bead made with a 6 mm rod of blue spiral zanfirico.|
Oh Boy, its spring and Messy Color has come out with some wonderful new colors to add to their palette. There are two transparent and two opal colors and they are call Rainforest, Azure, Atlantis and Appletini.
- Rainforest – 511499
- Appletini – 511497
- Atlantis – 511598
- Azure – 511500
These new colors are yummy, yummy, yummy and I had a blast melting them to find out how they work when I made them into beads.
I made beads with silver foil cores that were encased with the two transparent colors Azure and Appletini and they came out great. I discovered that if you apply the encasement gather when it is too hot, it will yellow your foil. All I had to do to correct this problem was to apply the encasement gather just a little cooler than white hot and it didn’t yellow the silver foil.
Rainforest and Atlantis are both opal colors and I have to say that Messy Color has the nicest and easiest opal colors I have ever used to lampwork beads. These two new opals are succulent and I couldn’t help myself and I mixed dichroic into three of the beads I made with these new opal colors with good results.
Check out the beads I made out of these new Messy Colors and decide for yourselves, but I give them a huge thumbs up!
What is a Cotisso? Having never heard the name Cotisso before, I had to do some research to find out what they were talking about at the Effetre factory. It seems that this is the name they use to refer to a chunk of glass that here in the U.S is called glass cullet.
So why am I talking about cotisso’s (A.K.A. cullet)? Because when Mike went over to Europe last October, he got the factory to let him pick out a bunch of different colors of these intriguing chunks of glass and Frantz Art Glass is now offering some of them up for sale.
I think cotisso’s are fabulous looking and look like surreal chunks of precious minerals. I got a big batch of cotisso’s a decade ago after pestering the factory manager endlessly to let me pick out some chunks to include in the glass shipment we were working on at that time while we were on Murano, Italy.
I love the cotisso’s that I have and I set them on my worktables, in windows in my studio and house. I also manicured several choice chunks by smoothing the sharp edges with a handheld dremel and I use them in my booth display when I sell my beads because the cotisso’s add such a delicious splash of glistening color to my bead display.
You may ask why I smooth the edges of the glass chunks I have in my bead display and it is because they are so beautiful, people want to touch them. To prevent anyone accidentally cutting themselves on a shape edge, I took a grinding tip mounted in a dremel tool and smoothed the less friendly edges off the glass chunks.
Another question I kept asking the manager at the Effetre factory is what do they keep them for? The answer turned out to be very interesting! When they measure out a new, from scratch batch of glass ingredients, it is all in powder form and is very slow to warm and melt into glass. They introduce a few chunks of cotisso’s of the color that is being melted and the solid mass of the cotisso heats up much faster than the powder and speeds up the entire melt.
When the factory is done pulling rods from a new batch of glass in one of their furnaces, they move the last of the glass batch to a shallow cast iron bowl while it is molten hot and they set it outside on their patio and let the glass air cool. The glass naturally fractures while it is cooling in the iron bowls and when it is completely cool, their turn the bowl over and dump the chunks of glass out onto the concrete patio.
Sometimes, the piles of cullet are very tall and they look especially beautiful when they are transparent and the sun shines through the glass sitting in the sun.
Don’t miss this chance to get a beautiful unique cotisso for yourself.
I am writing about getting a perfect clear again because I still get many requests for what is a perfect 104 COE clear. I have found that it doesn’t matter so much who makes the clear glass rods as much as it matters if the rods are clean or not. Read more
I have gotten a lot of questions about what is the best 104 COE black glass to use, so I decided to address this recurring question with this blog posting. Read more