Silver Glass Colors
Silver colors can be a little tricky to use. We share reviews, tips and tricks on how to use silver striking colors from glass makers like Double Helix, Troutman Art Glass, Effetre and more.If you’re a lampworker that uses Silver striking glass rods, you need to read this.
There has been a number of unusual “Odd” Ivory based glass colors coming from the Italian glass factory called Vetrofond lately. Read more
I have heard some talk on the beadmakers grapevine about problems keeping some of the beautiful opal colors that are available through CiM/Messy Color translucent and I decided to run some tests to see if I could find a resolution to this problem. If you don’t already know, to call a glass color “opal”, means that the glass has a translucent quality rather than being transparent or opaque.
I tested nine (9) of the opal colors from the CiM/Messy Color palette and got some interesting results. I tested Rose Quartz – 511907, Crocus – 511660, Chalcedony –511550, Ghee – 511346, Plum – 511658, Kyptonite – 511449, Poison Apple – 511487, Ming – 511562 and Electric Avenue – 511547.
To retain the translucent quality of these opal colors, I made clear beads and placed a very thin skin (less than 1mm thick) of the opal colors over the clear bead. I did this by melting a gather of an opal color and used the press and smear technique to spread the color over the clear bead, as many times as it took to cover the clear bead. I then marvered the bead smooth and used a mounted razor blade tool to create the final melon shape.
Out of the nine (9) colors that I tested, five (5) of them remained translucent and they were Plum, Rose Quartz, Ghee, Chalcedony and Crocus. The other four (4) colors that I tested went into the annealing kiln as translucent beads, but opacified slightly during the annealing cycle and they were only translucent in the grooves of the melon shape. The four (4) colors that opacified were Ming, Poison Apple, Electric Avenue and Kryptonite.
I am going to do further testing to see if I can come up with a way to keep the four colors that opacified, more translucent by blowing shards and covering the clear core bead with these to achieve a very thin layer of color.
I have seen different glass colors, both transparent and translucent from all the different glass factories manifest this characteristic of opacifiying in the flame or the annealing kiln, so it is not a problem that happens exclusively with CiM/Messy Colors. CiM/Messy Color has been the first company to carry a line of opal colors that are easier to use without all the scumming and black marks that I have experienced with the Italian opalino’s and I think they are great!
There have been some new interesting 104 C.O.E.glass colors coming from Troutman Art Glass lately and a new batch of one that is different than the original batches I used, which rocks! Read more
One of the more recent decorating styles for beadmakers has been to incorporate glass shards as a decorative element. If you don’t know what a shard is, it is a piece of a very thinly blown glass bubble. Read more
In my struggle to learn how to get the most out of all those reactive silver glass colors that have come out on the lampworking market, I have stumbled on to some lovely combination’s.
I ask almost ever beadmaker I come in contact with, what do they do with the reactive silver glass colors? Have they found any good combinations or ways to use this somewhat temperamental glass?
One of the best answers I have heard was “Make Twisted Cane out of it”! I decided to do a bunch of experimenting around this idea. I tried a lot of different combinations of reactive glass and discovered that it was better to use the lustering glass colors together and use the striking colors as a separate twisty group. This system did work, but I have gotten some interesting results mixing both in a single twisty.
I really like some of the results I have gotten out of the lustering colors; they can produce delicate luster patterns or screaming bright almost mirrored luster patterns that are just wild to look at. When I try to photograph the highly lustered beads, I am disappointed by the fact that this effect is hard to fully capture in a photo.
Another combination I discovered by trolling the different lampworking websites, is using CiM Sangrewith Double Helix Auraetogether. This is a fabulous combination that yields amazing electric color reactions. I made one twisty out of Sangre and Aurae, using it over CiM “Peace” and was wowed by the resulting bead. This bead came out a luminous lustered blue between little squares of black edged gray, a totally unexpected result!
With further experimenting, I found that Aurae used as a decoration over Sangre and lustered in a reduction flame before encasing, yields a great reaction out of the Aurae. This combination brings out brilliant lustered blues from the Aurae which start’s out as a light purple transparent rod. I find the transitions almost mind blowing, but that is what is so exciting about the reactive silver glass colors.
One other way to get interesting results from the Sangre and Aurae combination is to reduce a stringer of Aurae before you apply it to a dot of Sangre over dark ivory. After the dot is flattened and reduced again, put a bump of clear over the top of the dot and the Aurae will make cream colored lines dance over the electric lustered blues of the Aurae.
I must say, that there is never a dull moment when I am working in the new reactive glass colors. I hope that my recent findings are helpful and fun for those who try them.
I have included a photo of a bead I made with some of the Double Helix murrini that Frantz Art Glass gave away in customer orders a couple of weeks ago. If anyone made a bead out of their free murrini, please send me a photo of how yours came out.
Effetre has been working overtime these days and has created eight new colors for the lampworking market. There are some interesting new colors in this batch that I have never seen before and I think they are great additions to the current color palette. Here are Eight New Colors from Effetre!
Their names are:
- Green Mint Pastel – #591217
- Neptune Pastel – #591230
- Verde Rosetta – #591032
- Oliva Nera – #591091
- Dark Zucca – #591426
- Light Zucca – #591425
- Choco-lotta – #591727 (a one time color!)
- Apple Blush – #591411
There is a pastel milk chocolate brown called “Choco-lotta” that is the first milk chocolate brown I think I have ever seen. The other milk chocolate brown that is in this group is called “Oliva Nera” (black olive) and it is transparent!
If that wasn’t enough, there is a new pastel teal-green called “Neptune” that is like nothing I have ever seen before. In rod form, this color is a dusty dark teal that manifests a rough gunmetal silver luster as it is melted and shaped. If you put clear over this color (even if the surface is lustered) it will turn an intense deep teal which is very striking next to the rough silver luster. I think this one is very interesting and I am excited to see what other beadmakers will do with it.
There next color of note is “Verde Rosetta” which is a dark green transparent that turns bright green when used as a stringer over white. I can’t wait to see what this color will do in combination with other glass colors.
The last new green color of this group is called “Green Mint Pastel” and is a pale green that can develop a soft dusty luster over the surface in certain torch atmospheres. I thought it might end up looking like Copper Green, but it is definitely a new shade of pale pastel green.
The last three colors are Light Zucca (Zucca means pumpkin in Italian), Dark Zucca and Apple Blush. I love all three of these colors and had a lot of fun working with them. Check out the beads I have posted in the blog that I made out of these colors.
There is also a limited edition of a Double Helix color called “Ox” – 375 that is a lustering pale green transparent which is a lovely addition to the already fabulous palette that is produced by Double Helix.
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!
I am writing about the Effetre Silver and Zucca Glass for Lampworkers colors named “The Silver Challenge 7 Rod Assortment”, which were given out or sold with orders placed in mid-November. I am urging everyone who got this glass to please send in photos of their results (good or bad), so that they can be entered into the raffle for a box of rare glass from Mike’s vault.
A beadmaking friend, Sue Stewart and I both did test beads and I am posting different examples of what we got from these new colors. We want to see what everyone else made out of these new colors.
I liked the Silver #4 the best out of the four silver colors and I really like the yellow and orange colors from this group. Listed below are the names and reference numbers for the “Silver Challenge 7 Rod Assortment”.
- Silver #1 – 591718
- Silver #2 – 591719
- Silver #3 – 591720
- Silver #4 – 591721
- Yellow Ocra – 591411
- Lt. Zucca – 591425
- Dark Zucca – 592426
BTW Sue Stewart is teaching several different classes at Frantz Art Glass focusing on techniques for using silver glass in beadmaking.
here are three New Colors from CiM this week, that were made at the request of the lampworking community. The new colors are:
- Poison Apple
I have had the pleasure to make beads with these three new colors this week and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my experimenting.
In rod form, Poison Apple looks very translucent bright green, but as you work it in the heat it becomes denser and loses some of its translucent look. The first bead I made with it was a straight forward Sangre (red) and Poison Apple (green) short bicone with a band of goldstone ribbon cane and red opaque bumps. I got many comments that the bead looked very Christmassy. The next bead I made had a core of Poison Apple with a band of reduced Triton that was twisted into swirls around the bead and encased in Aether. That combination really popped and the bead was both simple and flashy at the same time. I made an even bigger Poison Apple bead with a spiral wrap of reduced Triton that was swirled and encased with Aether. I really like this bead, it made me a lover of Poison Apple and I have never liked any of the greens similar to Poison Apple before.
The next big surprise was the Mink which is a medium opal brown. I have never seen any color in soft glass that looks like Mink and that alone makes it an important addition to the available glass color palette. I was wowed when I paired the Mink with goldstone ribbon cane and Sangre, it looks so good I wanted to eat it. I also made another bead with goldstone ribbon cane and reduced Triton around the middle and was really pleased with the results.
The last color is Mermaid which kind of looks like a cross between Petroleum Green and Dark Turquoise. This color has received the strongest positive response from most beadmakers and rightly so because it is beautiful and fills an empty place in the present glass color palette. I have made several beads out of Mermaid and I like them all.
There is a fourth color that arrived this week that is a remake of a previously released green called Commando. I was told by CiM that too many beadmakers complained that Olive and Commando were too close in hue, so Commando was reformulated and the result is a drab camouflage green that looks a lot like what the plant “Green Sage” really looks like. The reformulation of Commando has given the lampworking community yet another green thathasn’t been available until now which I think is great.
I have noticed that there are a lot of people who like to use frit in their lampworking projects and custom frit blends have been really popular for a long time. If you are one of these folks that like to use frit in their hot glass projects but would like to try some unusual frit or personal blends, there is a simple way to make small amount of frit for your own personal use.
The things you need for Making Your Own Custom Frit :
- Pair of lampworking glasses
- Pair of big mashers
- Jar of cold water
- Small fine wire strainer
- Good size slab of graphite (optional but nice to have)
- Some really thick brown paper or thin cardboard
- Dust mask (always a good thing to have on hand)
This whole process is really neat because you can take glass rods that you really like the color of, but there is no frit available and you can make your own in no time.
Make sure before you start that you have really cold water ready at your work area. Take a rod of the glass color you want to make frit out of and heat it in your torch until you have as big a ball of hot glass on the end of the rod that you can handle ( it is different for everyone). Take your mashers and flatten the ball to make a paddle and then return the paddle to the flame to totally reheat it but not melt it, this gets the paddle ready for the next part of the process.
Take your red hot paddle over to your ice cold water and plunge the paddle into the water, making sure that you have glasses on in case the water splatters a little. It seems too simple, but the plunging process fills the paddle with tiny fractures that cause the paddle to turn to frit.
Once you have made enough paddles to make the amount of frit you want, the next thing you do is take your strainer ( never reuse the strainer for food after this process, it should be for glass work only – find them at the thrift shop) and pour the water into another container. Some people like to use coffee cans for this process, but they do rust after a while.
Let the frit drain for a little while to get most of the water off of it. I take a graphite pad and I dump the frit on to the pad (wear your dust mask when you do this, even though the glass is wet) and spread it out as thin as you can. At this point you can either place it in the sun (if you actually have warm sun) or you can place the graphite pad on top of your kiln and use the heat the kiln gives off to dry the frit. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, the kiln drying method is the one I use most.
After your frit is dry, you can use it as is or you can put it between two pieces of heavy paper (I save really heavy brown shipping paper or thin brown cardboard for projects like this) and lightly hit it with a hammer (wear your dusk mask for this process also). You don’t have to go crazy with the hammer because the glass is already filled with tiny fractures and will break down to smaller pieces fairly easily. I typically save portions of the frit from each phase of the hammering, so that I have an assortment of frit sizes to use.
All you have to do now Making Your Own Custom Frit is label and store any frit you don’t use immediately.