Whoops, this post has sat as a draft for over a month. Must get a move on!
Mum wanted me to make her a necklace with dragonscale beads.
There’s a tutorial for the technique by *Naos* at Lampwork-Etc. Basically, you want a base colour that will allow spreading, a dot colour that will spread, and some extra-silvery SIS. You make SIS dots on your base, put small dots of the spreading colour on top of those, and melt them all in, doing a very gentle gravity swirl just to allow the dots to move, spread and push each other into shape. When your colour spreads enough, you end up with scale shapes butting up against each other that are bordered with silver. When it doesn’t spread enough you can still see the base inbetween.
I did a number of colour tests to see what would work and what wouldn’t.
I had plans to test a whole bunch of bases, but with round beads if it spreads properly you don’t really see much of the base, so I stuck with ivory most of the time. She suggests using Vetrofond dark ivory – I used Effetre light because I thought that might be a closer match than Effetre dark in terms of how reactive it is. Other options she mentions are copper green and Vetrofond ochre green.
The spreading colours she suggests are Lauscha olive and steel blue, neither of which I have, and EDP. There are some more posts in the thread I linked with suggestions for other colours. I tried everything I thought might spread.
I tried with silvered coral stringer for some – it doesn’t make much difference most of the time. If they don’t spread properly it gives a slightly darker outline.
L to R:
1. Ivory base, SIS, EDP* dots. As suggested, works well! The EDP has devitrified in places though.
2. Ivory, SIS, petrol green. Works a bit, probably needs bigger petrol green dots. The ivory has stayed lightest on this bead.
3. Ivory, SIS, periwinkle. Doesn’t spread enough.
4. Ivory, SIS, coral. Doesn’t spread either, but I do quite like the way the colour’s escaped slightly (in the periwinkle too).
5. Transparent amethyst, SIS, EDP*. You can only see the different base right round the holes!
6. Copper green (over black), silvered coral stringer, pastel yellow. Less said the better
7. Ivory, SCS, petrol green. I used bigger dots, and the coral is a bit darker than the SIS version.
8. CiM mink, SIS, CiM poi. This has gone very weird! The dots seem to have gone inside-out.
9. Ivory, SCS, mink. I like this one – the mink is a bit translucent and the dots are a warm browny-purple that hasn’t shown up in the photo.
10. Ivory, SCS, raku. Works very well! Not much colour in the raku (I rolled it in a press to chill it) but the little there is does add something.
11. Pastel yellow, SIS, CiM leaky pen. The leaky pen works pretty well, don’t think the base colour was a good choice though!
1. Ivory, SCS, Reichenbach magic. Works! Slightly greener than the raku.
2. Ivory, SCS, Reichenbach multicolour dark. Also works!
3. Ivory, SCS, Reichenbach iris blue. I was hoping this would work – apparently most blues don’t. I suspect all of the iris colours will.
4. Ivory, SCS, Reichenbach caramel. This one also goes metallic when reduced, like the irises. I would expect flamingo to work too, as it seems to react in exactly the same way, only pinker. Really like this one.
5. Ivory, SIS, CiM hades. Works and goes a tiny bit webby round the edges of the black.
6. Ivory, SIS, copper green. Pretty separation. Works, though not as enthusiastically as some of the others.
7. Ivory, SIS, CiM poi. You can at least see some of the poi this time, but it still does weird things!
8. Ivory, SIS, opal yellow. Turned out like the poi – you can’t really see what the dot colour is supposed to be at all.
9. Ivory, SIS, MCD. A repeat to try for different colours. Hasn’t been annealed yet, so they’ll probably strike further in the kiln.
I had to take these pictures in sunlight to get the colours mostly right. Three are pale blue over EDP, the other is teal over magic (bases all ivory as before). I don’t really like the effect. The EDP ones are still very dark, and I think the magic makes a tidier shape on its own. The pinker one is where I melted the EDP in flat before putting the transparent dots on top, but it isn’t consistent all the way round.
I then etched most of them to see how they would look. I didn’t etch the one with copper green dots, because the copper green base bead went washed-out when I etched it and I liked the colour in the dots.
*I have since discovered that what I was sold as EDP is actually striped pink – EDP with a core of rubino. It works spreading-wise, but EDP only should give better colour… if you can work it successfully.