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 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!
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.
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!
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
When you order some glass colors, is it a surprise to open the box and find a radically different Tonalities of Dark Pink, Gold Pink and Coral glass rods you were use to? Well, this is something that happens with certain glass colors and it took me a long time to get the Italians to explain why this happens.
It seems that there are a handful of glass colors that are very sensitive to heat and even the amount of humidity there is in the air when the components are measured and put into the batch. Murano is built on tiny islands in the middle of a large salt-water lagoon and is constantly subject to varying levels of humidity that can make a powder (which is the form the elements that go into a glass batch come in) be lighter or heavier.
Another component of the tonality variable with certain glass colors is heat. I complained for years about the changes in the shades that Coral (591420) would shift to from batch to batch. A couple of years ago I was shown a sample book of a single batch of coral and there was a huge difference in the tonality from the beginning of the pull to the end of the pull, there was about 6 different tonalities in a single run of coral! The factory said that they try to send what they think coral should look like, but we told them that they should sell all the tonalities to us because they are all beautiful in their own way.
Two other colors that have huge tonality variables are Dark Pink (591265) and Gold Pink (591456). What you must do if you get a tonality of the three colors I have talked about in this blog and you like it a lot, get as much as you can. With these colors, it is kind of like getting yarn to knit a sweater. If you don’t get enough yarn of the same dye batch to make your sweater, when you go back to get more yarn, there will most likely be no more of the batch that you bought and your sweater will have two different shades of the same color in it.
I have been trying for 25 years to get Effetre to make a pinkish coral that I got in the very first batch of glass I ordered from them ( when the factory was still owned by Moretti) and I am still waiting.
Shown below are sample cards of the different Corals, Dark Pink and Gold Pink, to give you a sense of how different these three colors can be from batch to batch.
I have been personally struggling over the past 10 years with the challenge of getting prescription eyewear to use while doing torch work. In the past I have had to buy new prescription didymium glasses every time my eyes changed significantly and I had to get new glasses made. Read more
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.
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.