New Messy Colors (1-9-13)
|Sprout Ltd Run (511411)||Bloodstone Ltd Run (511110)|
Laguna Ltd Run (511514)
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
|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!
|Bicone of Rainforest with a diagonal band of blue on clear dichroic that is edged with a goldstone ribbon cane.||Bicone of Atlantis with a band of dichroic dots on clear with goldstone ribbon cane.|
|Round bead made with Appletini decorated with swirls of Mermaid.||Core of bead is made from a twisty made of Azure, Rainforest, white filigrana and a light sky blue filigrana.|
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
I have been experimenting for a while with using some of the denser Messy Color/CiM transparents as shards over clear beads to create brighter, lighter versions of these beautiful colors. Read more
In spring 2010, CiM began producing stringers of some of their more popular colors that would translate well to smaller diameters. Read more
Spring has brought an amazing number of new glass colors from the three big glass factories that supply Frantz Art Glass & Supply. 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!
In Search of the Perfect 104 Clear is the holy grail of beadmakers. A perfect clear should resists scumming and be optically free of streaks and bubbles. This said, the perfect clear is hard to find and there are many more clears to choose from on the market these days.
A lot of beadmakers are tired of picking the scum and bubbles out of the clear glass that comes from Italy. One way to improve the cleanliness of your clear rods is to wash your rods in your dishwasher and many beadmakers swear that it helps a lot.
Larry Scott developed a technique for good clear. He places his clear rods in pickling solution that is used to take the scum off of silver after it has been soldered. He uses the solution at 1/3 to ½ the strength you would to pickle silver, in a long Pyrex baking dish that can hold the 13” rods comfortably covered with solution. The pickling solution works best if it is warm and leave the glass in the solution for a while, an hour or so (experimenting with time lengths is always a good thing to do). When you take the glass rods out of the solution, thoroughly rinse the glass and let it dry standing up on its ends so the water slides off.
The two Italian glass factories that provide a lot of the glass available to beadmakers have tried to make a better clear over the past 10 years, but their efforts have still fallen short of what most beadmakers would consider a perfect clear. The cleaning techniques that I mentioned above help to improve the cleanliness of the Italian clear glasses, but I have heard many complain that it still falls short of what beadmakers would like.
There are a number of new efforts by newer glass factories like CiM, Double Helix, Troutman Art Glass and Precision 104. All these companies make good clear glass, with CiM being the only one that is competitively priced with the Italian glass. Some beadmakers still complain that CiM clear is not perfect enough, but the factory goes out of its way to hand wrap the clear glass rods to prevent scratches and dirt accumulation.
Double Helix, Troutman Art Glass and Precision 104 have all produced premium clear with a premium price tag. I hear various complaints about these clears also, but from personal experience, I find they are superior to what the Italians make and a whole lot easier to use. The biggest complain about these premium clear glass rods is the price.
If you have come up with a system to improve the clarity of any of the available clear rods on the market, by all means please leave a comment on this blog.