I am writing about getting a perfect clear again because I still get many requests for what is a perfect 104 COE clear. I have found that it doesn’t matter so much who makes the clear glass rods as much as it matters if the rods are clean or not. 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!
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.
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.
For this blog segment, I have chosen to talk about the CiM / Messy Color glass that have the characteristic of being slightly cloudy.
Bead makers often ask me why these special glass colors were made. Well, I have always been fascinated with the old European glass that is referred to as Milk Glass or Opal Glass because of the way it looks. I have looked for, bought and tested different batches of glass from different countries in Europe for the last 25 years looking for this kind of glass, which turned out to be rarer than hens’ teeth.
Cirrus was the first attempt at making this kind of glass and in the process to getting Cirrus to look like the old Milk or Opal glass, I learned why it was so hard to find. This kind of glass was very challenging to make and that is probably why none had been made for a long time. Making this Milk / Opal glass compatible with other 104 COE lampworking glass was another challenge to overcome because all the Milk / Opal glass that was made and used in the past was not mixed with any other glass, so there was no compatibility issue to deal with.
With much testing, CiM managed to produce a consistent Milk / Opal glass they named Cirrus after the clouds that drift over our heads. Cirrus is a transparent / translucent white glass with bluish under tones. When worked, Cirrus looks a lot like high quality Moonstones which are a semi-precise natural stone that you can find made into beads of every imaginable shape and size.
There are three other colors in the Cirrus family of thetransparent / translucent glass made by CiM. They are a beautiful blue called Halong Bay (named after a very famous & beautiful bay in Northern Vietnam), Peacock Green and Rose Quartz (which really looks like the gem stone it is named after).
I really like to use these colors as encasements over intense dichroic scrap beads. The semi-cloudy aspect
dampens down the intense sparkle of the dichroic crystals, creating a more subtle presentation (see examples in this blog). The Halong Bay, Cirrus and Peacock Green really work well over the sparkling dichroic crystals.
I think that these transparent / translucent colors are a wonderful addition to the 104 COE glass color palette and should all be given a try. I also find that the glass rods made by Messy Color handle very well in the flame, with no bubbling or black scum forming on the beads, like I get when I use Italian Opal or Alabaster type glass.
The last thing I am going to talk about, is the interesting characteristic that Cirrus has (I am not sure if the other three colors react this way) of being slow to etch with the available etching creams on the market. Use Cirrus over a section of a bead that you want a window left in it after the bead has been etched and etch the bead only long enough to etch the other glass colors in the bead. This practice can produce amazingly dramatic results and is far easier to do than having to apply a resist to the places on the bead that you don’t want etched. Check out the examples I have posted in this blog.