For all those flameworkers out there who bemoan the absences of the handpulled color from Moretti/Effetre called “Dark Teal”, rejoice! Dark Teal has not been available for some time now, but one of the new CiM Unique “Great Bluedini” colors is a dead ringer for the long lost Dark Teal. Read more
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!
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 been thinking about the holidays lately because of the weather change and I thought I would talk about Great Christmas Colors for lampworkers that I like for Christmas projects.
If you have made beads for any time at all, you are probably familiar with how difficult it can be to get a great Christmas red to make all your Christmas projects out of. In my experience as a lampworker, I found it next to impossible to find a transparent red that wasn’t too orange or that didn’t turned kind of brown after you worked it in the flame for a while. Not to worry, CiM – Messy Color has a great transparent red called Sangre, which is a true Christmas red.
Another great Christmas color that was just recently introduced by CiM – Messy Color is a transparent green called “OZ”, which as it turns out is a perfect green to pair with Sangre to produce the green and red that is the hallmark of most Christmas themes.
I have been making some snowmen for the holidays out of glass, and I think CiM – Messy Color “Peace” is a perfect white for making anything that is snow orientated. The combination of “Peace” and “Sangre” is perfect for making glass candy canes and other white and red holiday objects.
Flameworking shaping tools is an interesting subject that comes up often in conversations with other artists who like to work in hot glass. There were no tools to speak of when I started flameworking and I find it delightful that a cornucopia of tools have become available to flameworkers over the past 20 years. Here are the Tools for Shaping Flameworked Objects.
When I first started flameworking I only had a graphite marver that I acquired from a scientific borosilicate tool supplier. I started out with a 5″ x 3″ graphite marver, thinking that bigger is better but I found it very heavy after awhile and switched to a 2 ½” x 1 ½” marver that I use to this day.
You can make a lot of different shaped beads with just a small graphite marver plus a pair of mashers. Oh yeah, there were no mashers when I started and I had my first prototype masher made from a cut off pair of pliers and two squares of metal welded onto the pliers. My first prototype pliers were better than no tool, but today there is a plethora of mashers available on the market and I like several of them. The big deal with mashers besides the size is whether
they produce a parallel mash when you use them. My two favorite mashers are the Adjustable Parallel Mashers (#325202) and my second most favorite are the Adjustable TP Mashers (#325204) which are great for people that find the Parallel Mashers hard on their hands. The TP Mashers also have many interchangeable graphite pads like the lentil, small radial head, large radial head, a square head and the ever useful flat head that can be changed out with the use of an Allen wrench that comes with the TP Mashers.
There are many different metal bead mashers on the market (mashers that produce the same size and shape bead every time) and I think that the lentil shape is the most popular of these, though there are many beadmakers I know that are tool junkies and have all the different bead shapers.
You can get bead shaping tools in graphite also that have grooved shape in them that make producing the same size and shape bead easier for people making sets of beads and or marbles.
There are a bunch of other glass shaping tools available for flameworking that are very handy. I love my Stump Shaper (originally designed by Loren Stump hence the name) which is a wedge shaped paddle made out of brass (also available in graphite – #306522). The brass shaping tools allow you to really push the hot glass around where the graphite tools are kind of slippery and not as effective as the brass tools for pushing.
There are smaller brass and stainless steel tools for making smaller impressions in hot glass. There is a brass tool called a Stick Shift and some stainless steel probes and small paddles that came out of the dental tool market, for instance.
One of my all time favorite shaping tools is a single edge razor blade mounted in a craft knife handle. I use this tool for fine lines in sculptural beads and to make melon beads. I started out using the dental paddles to make the small dents, but found that the razor gave the cleanest mark and didn’t stick to the glass if you kept it from getting too hot.
I can’t forget to mention the different tungsten probes that are available for flameworking. There are three sizes of the straight probes for poking holes through glass or making dents and then there is the tungsten rake that works very well to do controlled feathering on beads.