Torso Beads by Joy Munshower

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

Effetre Neptune (591230)

Effetre Neptune (591230)


"Here's the fun side-by-side, before-and-after shots of a female torso sculpted out of "Neptune" glass. When I sculpt it it develops the "pewter" finish over its surface (and "haloed" around the Morning Glory murrini by Donna Millard interestingly)… I then etched the bead to expose the gorgeous mottled teal beneath." – Joy Munshower

Alexandrite (591226)

Effetre Alexandrite (591226)

I would like to see this bead in person because Effetre Alexandrite shifts hue slightly with different light.

Effetre Earth Cool Color (591688)

Effetre Earth Cool Color (591688)

Effetre Sunset Pastel (591206)

Effetre Sunset Pastel (591206)

Effetre Green Tea Cool Color (591680)

Effetre Green Tea Cool Color (591680)

This Green Tea bead looks like it was sculpted out of a Marble.

Vetrofond Topaz ODD (791989)

Vetrofond Topaz ODD (791989)

Effetre Dark Ivory (591276)

Effetre Dark Ivory (591276)

For more images check out her Facebook page.

CiM / Messy Color Has Four New Colors! (3-29-11)

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!

Taking the Mystery Out of the Effetre Seeded Tube Glass

If you haven’t noticed it before, Effetre makes a special seeded tube glass rod. Read more

More about Silver Glass Colors

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.

One of my first beads I made with Khaos that turned poop colored.

One of my first beads I made with Khaos that turned poop colored.

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!

Need More Information and Inspiration?

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

Got an Itch for More Carlo Dona Tools?

I have been working with some of my Carlo Dona tools lately and I have an itch for more of these great tools and I was wondering if there were any more of you out there that feel the same way?

It is kind of hard to get Carlo Dona tools, so I have been working with my husband Mike to organize an order of certain Carlo Dona tools because Mike will be going to Murano in April.  The apartment that Mike stays in on Murano is just a few blocks away from the Carlo Dona shop and I thought that this is a perfect opportunity to have him pick up some more tools.

I am mainly having Mike bring back the three sizes of raggiera or fin mold for producing fancy cane.  There are two or three sizes of bell flower presses and the wire holding tool to use with them ( I tried making glass objects on the ends of copper wire by holding it with piers and the wire vibrates from the torch heat and makes working the glass very difficult) that I want him to bring back.  The Carlo Dona work shop started making some really nice leaf mashers, plain mashers and ribbed mashers mounted on heavy tweezers that work really well.  There are some nice bead presses like a sea shell shape, different size hearts and squares that I want him to bring back also.  Another tool to consider is the glass shears, they are a well balanced hot glass cutting tool.

There are a few brass single sided press molds that I think are interesting.  One is a lady’s face, one is a lion and the most interesting one is a skull.

If anyone reading this blog is interested in possibly connecting with some of these fine Carlo Dona tools, contact me at and I will try to make your tool wishes come true.  I will not know the prices until I find out from Carlo Dona what is available.

Below are some photos of the tools I am interested in.

Flowers of Great Bluedini and Pulsar with a Poison Apple leaf. Bell flower presses_Carlo Dona wire holding tool
Bell flowers and leaf made with Carlo Dona tools Bell flower presses_Carlo Dona Wire holding tool
wire holding tool #1 Small raggieras_Carlo Dona Glass Shears - Carlo Dona
Wire holding tool #1 Small raggieras Carlo Dona Glass Shears – Carlo Dona
Skull press_Carlo Dona Small sea shell press_Carlo Dona Tweezers showing three different heads
Skull press_Carlo Dona Small sea shell press_Carlo Dona Tweezers showing three different heads

Tonalities of Dark Pink, Gold Pink and Coral glass rods

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.


CiM Messy Color Blue Rods for Lampworkers

Happy New Year everyone!!!  There are two new colors from CiM that just arrived this week and they are both new blues.  One is “Zachary” 511589 and the other is calledGreat Bluedini” 511590.

Zachary is what some people call baby blue, but it can also be called a very pale periwinkle.  When you compare regular Periwinkle with Zachary, Zachary is 50% lighter than Periwinkle.  I like the results I got by pairing Zachary with Cranberry Pink (used in the form of a rose cane), with a little goldstone ribbon thrown in the mix for some flash.

The Great Bluedini kind of looks like a transparent version of Mermaid and could be describe as a rich dense blue-green.  In fact when you pair Great Bluedini with Mermaid, it makes both colors pop.  I made a white heart out of Great Bluedini and decorated it with roses out of Cranberry Pink and some goldstone ribbon, with good results.

To see how Great Bluedini worked as a core color, I made a dichroic covered heart pendant with a core of Great Bluedini and I really like how it came out.  I tried several more beads out of Zachary and Great Bluedini to show how these colors look in different arrangements and you can view them below.

Effetre Silver and Zucca Glass (3/12/09)

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.

The seven glass colors in the "Silver Challenge" assortment.

The seven glass colors in the “Silver Challenge” assortment.

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.

Tips and Techniques: How to Make a Rose Cane

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.

To start making a rose cane, you need a rod of white (I chose Peace by CiM) and a rods of Gold Pink (I chose Cranberry by CiM) and a third rod of clear for the second punty.

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.



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