Friday, January 30, 2009

More Beads, a full SET. Here, and now gone.

Hey, I made a set! This is perfect for when my muse has ADD! I let my creativity run free making different sizes, shapes and textures.

I limit myself to "colors" only, otherwise my beads would NEVER match!

These beads are made from Moretti/Effetre light pastel pink, light red, and mmmmmm, rubino oro.

I felt like a dork when I made these. They will work great as a bracelet set. I was thinking as far as wirework was concerned, if I were doing these up as a piece of jewelry and using wire wrapping, I would use at least as large as 16-gauge wire for the base.

But in hindsight, I had used a 1/16" mandrel and the resulting bead, when finished, has a hole large enough for only an 18-gauge wire, or 1 milimeter. What WAS I thinking? In the future my sets should have holes big enough for 16-gauge wire. Sheesh.

Anyway, this lovely set has a new home along with a set of my sweet little itty-bitty beads in a pretty translucent pink.

I have mixed feelings about these little pink beads. I love the color (Moretti/Effetre opalino pink) but I achieve it by "striking" each bead in the flame until it is as pink as can be, then each bead is completely cooled and batch annealed at a later date.

I recently decided to to a "continuous or garage" anneal process where the beads go straight from the flame to the kiln without cooling down first. This affects the color, especially this "striking" color. I have not tried the "garage anneal" process on these pink beads. Maybe next time I'm at the torch I will give that a try to see what I get.

I also added another set of matte etched beads in a tangerine color. This is a nice light orange/apricot color or a nice dark yellow/apricot color. It's just a matter of individual perception of color. This color also changes according to the amount of heat applied and how much heating/cooling the bead goes through. It can come out anywhere from a dark yellow to a dark red. These beads are red in the flame when they are hot. I never did try striking them to see if I could get a deeper color. It never occurred to me to do so.

I think this color is called "red roof tile". Yeah, go figure. I have a bunch of it but every rod I have has no label. I dug through my stash to find one with the label and identify the color. I found one with the remainder of a label on it, but no printing was visible. Damn. I love this bold color! I guess it is a Moretti/Effetre oddlot color.

Oh, and GREEN, too! Like apple green or lime green. Moretti/Effetre calls it "light grass green". I'm sorry, but if your grass is this color, it needs a little iron or something in the soil :-D

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Beads, New Fun: Etching!

Not only do I love being crafty, I love playing with "dangerous" things (well, to a point).

I just got a big ol' bottle of acid etch for my glass beads and I must say, that stuff is expensive! It's probably a couple of bucks worth of ammonium biflouride, which sounds dangerous but is not as caustic as hydrofluoric acid. Therefore it goes without saying that the first warning on the label says "avoid contact with eyes and skin" (common sense, it's a caustic compound). Second warning on the label, "Do not taste..."

I'm thrilled to find that it comes in a 10-lb. bucket—just in case I get hungry! It's pretty expensive. I'm assuming that the cost of liability insurance is built right in.

What's really cool is that it makes shiny glass look like beach glass in about 5 minutes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Notes from the Glass Studio: Batch Annealing and Then & Now

Last night I finally had enough beadies made to fill the kiln for a batch anneal:From this point on I will probably be annealing my beads as they are made. I have been falling in love with certain colors of striking glass in luscious pinks (like rubino oro), and cooling them, to cold and reheating them just takes all of that delicious color away. In fact, a whole bunch of those teeny beads in there are made from Moretti/Effetre dark pink, which I only had a little bit of from an assortment of shorts. It was a nice pastel pink, more light than dark, but still pretty. I went to put it on my wishlist and I thought there had been some mistake...this dark pink was $39.00 a pound! The same as rubino oro. By contrast, light pink is just $13.00 per pound. I understand that the more expensive colors are more difficult to produce and do warrant the higher price.

However, once the beadies were taken from the cooled kiln this morning, my lovely dark pink beads had turned into light pink beads, but at a dark pink price! And my rubino oro went red plum, as usual, and a new color that I totally fell in love with, carnelian/coper opalino, that struck to the most beautiful watermelon/pink lemonade color, turned...well...a less deep watermelon/pink lemonade color. Bummer.

I will likely spend the day outside with the flexshaft tool cleaning the bead release out of the bead holes. Oh what fun. I think cleaning the mandrels/bead release/bead holes comes in just above photography as my favorite part of the process.

Then: When I started making lampwork beads it all looked innocent enough:
This is actually how I started. My left brain set up the area, my muse was just chomping at the bit wanting to have at it...after all, how can one create in such a sterile looking area...

...and then my muse broke free and had its way. Glass rods all in a pretty line arranged by their place in the color spectrum? Bwahahaha! Me muse thinks NOT! Color is to be experimented and played with, explored and savored, the more the better! What if I put this with this, or this color on that? Oh, I can't find what I want, I'll use this instead...

It didn't take long to get here (Now):
These photos are actual and untouched and are both my actual glass workstation. The only thing that has changed for me is the location. From the motHell laundry room to the back-of-the-bus studio.