Archive for February, 2011
I made some triton murrini that I’ve been having fun with. They’re very simple: core, triton, contrasting stripes, but they’re effective and you can get a whole load of different effects depending on how you treat them. Here are a few examples!
You can leave them raised and poke them, melt them flush and encase them, poke them and encase them, reduce them more or less… The top left one is briefly reduced and left raised – it’s a shiny but dark blue. The one next to it was encased. The pale blue-silver ones are reduced for longer and then encased. The bottom right pair with the dark blue and green are reduced a couple of times and encased in Lauscha soft clear. The shiny gold-pink one middle right is left raised and was reduced multiple times on a hothead – I was very surprised by the effect!
The dark blue and green effect is probably my favourite. Here’s the bead I got it on.
It was made for January’s theme of the month, “Blue Winter”. The base is Lauscha dark teal (aka steel blue), tornado encased in soft clear and with SIS shard fragments and the triton murrini. I like how it came out a lot. I don’t actually know if the soft clear affected the colour I got in the murrini – all the other encased ones are under 006, but I also treated this one differently, so who knows?
(Yup, I’ve started using a closeup of the murrini on it as my user icon!)
I have a striking murrini that needs a bit more experimentation, and I just made a batch of murrini with psyche in – we’ll see how they come out.
Serendipitously, Holly of Holly’s Folly Glass posted this off-mandrel heart tutorial and I thought “Ooh, that looks interesting” so I went off to have a go.
First try! I used a thick rod of transparent pale blue for the base and added twistie ends in neutral and green. I twisted the centres, shaped the heart end and added a loop in baby blue (tricky!). Then I held the heart in my reverse-action tweezers, not the loop, in case it might shock. I took off the rod and heated the end to round off, then tried to put the heart into my kiln… but the tweezers wouldn’t let go! So I stuck it in my annealing bubbles to cool down. My tweezers have very thin pointy ends, and one of them had got embedded in the glass. I hadn’t put them in the flame, but I most have got them too hot anyway because it was well and truly stuck. In the end I just bent off the tweezers, so now one of the points is shorter than the other, and the remains are still in this bead… After this, I used my needlenose pliers instead and always hold the loop!
I made heart 2 (the blue one below) in the same way, without the mishap. Then I read Mr Smiley’s heart tutorial (there are pics later on in the thread) and I made more… and more. They’re fun and rather addictive, but I still find the loops tricky!
Blue heart: pale blue with a blue twistie and a green+brown twistie.
Pink heart: Reichenbach mystic pink mixed about with Lauscha soft clear. Goldstone ribbon on the surface and encased. The shape has a bit too much on one side for my liking.
This heart is Lauscha citrine with my red roof tile twistie. There were a couple in between the pink heart and this one, but they’re off to the Valentine’s swap so I won’t show them yet. The RRT twistie hasn’t been a great success – basically it may as well be RRT and hades only, because those are the colours that take over.
I really like this one. It’s a white opalino base with coe 96 raku frit. I didn’t strike the frit properly, though I did get the opalino hot enough that it’s started displaying faint black spiderwebbing in places. Neither of which I mind – I think it gives it a delicate look, and the muted colours go well with it.
Another thing I’ve been doing recently is heart beads. Lots of heart beads. We’re having a Valentine’s bead swap on Frit-Happens so I made a whole bunch and chose 3 of my later ones to send in. Piccies of those and what I received when I get them!
Firstly, these are made with my Carlo Dona heart press.
This is Lauscha champagne, which is a very pale transparent. I used bicarbonate of soda to make the bubbles. I made this a tad too big for the press, so it’s shaped by pressing and also by hand afterwards.
Then I did these, which I am calling Mysterious Hearts of Gold.
I made the core of this with shorts in clear, yellow and green, then sprinkled some green aventurine frit, added more clear and a little pulsar, pressed it, and added raku spirals and dots to the surface. I was very pleased with the result – these hearts have a lot of depth, and the sparkle and randomness means you can spend a while staring into them. Also a great way to use up your ends of rods!
Love this one. It’s the same idea but has amber and sangre shorts and goldstone frit. Some raku stringer again, a red encased twistie one one corner and a few dots and lines of aurae.
This one… is not so good. I didn’t really think about what effect doing the core this way would have – it’s dirty martini with transparent green on top, then clear and a bit of bluestone ribbon. I have put deep twists in the ribbon in places, though they don’t show up too well here. I think the width and concentratedness of the ribbon doesn’t work as well as the frit in the other hearts, and the lime green and blue is a bit garish. I also totally messed up the surface decoration – it has terra 2 dots and a wrap at the borrom (which is showing up as reddish brown, clashingly) and some stormed supernova on one front lobe, which I left a bit raised and just serves to make the heart shape lumpy. Then my hades stringer which was an attempt to make it look more deliberate balled up on me. Not a success, and this is a cautionary tale that sometimes the kitchen sink approach just gives you unexpected fugly! Annoyingly, this one probably has the best puckered bottom end… (The shape on the second one looks good, but it tapers a little too thin for a pucker).
Something a bit different: theme of the month for February is Dots, so here’s an etched dotty heart.
White core, dark lavender encasement, Reichenbach pink lady stripes and filling out of one lobe. White dots on the surface with pink lady on top of some of them. I made it too long for the press, but could use the lobe end to shape the top anyway. Then I etched it and I think it’s very pretty. Shame the bottom end is just slightly chipped after cleaning – getting the ends neat on these is definitely a challenge.
For my Double Helix seconds, I ordered Psyche, Ekho, Kalypso, Terra 2, original Pandora (just to try as it was very on sale) and Aether. They’ll keep me going for quite some time!
This is terra 2. I struck, reduced and encased it (because terra 2 can get some reduction shine too) and pressed it as a kalera. But during one of the pressings it got too cold, cracked and spit off a chunk of one side at me. I filled that in with clear and healed the cracks but my colour in this bead isn’t great. It has a little bit of stormed supernova twisted on one end – should have put that over an opaque for a better effect. It also has a little bit of coral stringer. I think the colour I got would have been ok as a backing if I’d added more surface decoration to make that the focus instead. The back is slightly purpler in places.
This one’s also terra 2, but it worked much better. It’s over carrot red. I tornado wrapped it, leaving little gaps for it to reach the surface. I used the top of my big Cattwalk lentil to mash each side against my torchtop marver, since I don’t have a large enough crunch press to do this. It’s got a Kaz striking murrini on one side, dots of aurae and a couple of twists. I reduced the surface. I really like this one – it has shine and colours and purple and I like the way it still has little curves leftover from the tornado wrap.
It’s a nice shape to hold, basically.
This one’s a bit weird. It had a bead release failure at one end, so I had to do some hurried pulling off of glass to stop it becoming stuck to the mandrel. Bad bead hole at that end – I’m just impressed it came off! It’s kalypso with clear dots on one side plus a murrini I made. Not sure the recipe for that one is very successful. Anyway, you can see that the kalypso’s over-reduced/overstruck because it’s gone that white MOP look in places.
Here’s the back. Those aren’t cracks, they’re just because I encased it lengthwise in stripes and some of the stripes weren’t pushed close enough together so there are some little ridges. This bead didn’t turn out how it was supposed to, but I actually still kinda like it.
This one didn’t turn out as intended either – the base is kalypso on white and the interior colour is nothing to write home about. But! Psyche is my new best friend – I put a caterpillar of it around the bead and a surface twist at the top, and the colour contrast makes it not matter so much that the kalypso was unsuccessful.
This one also went weird, but I really like the effect. It’s aurae that I accidentally made all webby, tornado encased in baby blue. I added one of Kaz’s striking murrini and the bead got too cold and cracked while I was doing it, so I had to reheat it all the way through.
If you look at the ends of the bead the aurae shows up as blue-green wisps, while in the centre it’s more solid. Psyche dots on top. I just like the whole effect – it’s quite subtle and less bling, and I’ll happily make this into something for me to wear. I should try this again, since I like the effect the encasing colour has.
Finally, this is just encased kalypso. I didn’t actually use a reduction flame for this at all, just rolled it in a neutral flame before encasing. It’ll develop a sheen anyway. I’m finding it harder to encase rounds than pressed beads with silver glass – they’re smaller and you have to get them perfectly even. You can see that I still got this one too hot in places. I messed this bead up a bit by rolling it in my doming block to help the shaping – there was some dust or something in there and now I have black streaks on the surface! Whoops. From looking at this, you’d assume it had a red core, but it’s all kalypso.
When these came out of the kiln, you could say that I was pleased!
Triton caterpillar over CiM mermaid (you can see a little bit of mermaid in the second pic, but not much is visible) with SiS on one end and a magic+hades twistie on the other. Look at the colours in the magic!
The next one uses Ekho:
Using Anouk’s secret recipe for hot pinks! Actually, I have no idea if that is a secret or not, but she is doing a third silver glass tutorial that will cover it. I think the wraps on the ends were multicolour dark.
This is aurae spiralled over Reichenbach mystic pink. The wisps have more iridescence in person. The surface is triton dots and one of my triton murrini, believe it or not! I think I reduced multiple times for it to end up like this.
I haven’t quite got as good results since, from the ekho at least. But I’ve been zipping about trying out different glass, so it probably just needs a bit of attention. I like triton, it’s well-behaved!
This BHB is raku over opaque orange, encased and with multicolour dark on the ends. Plus my triton murrini, that were reduced and then covered in dots of clear. This has made them go a paler blue-silver. I was surprised how the raku came out! It’s unusually uniform and looks rather like standard multicolour. I do like the colour though – it’s muted but very pretty.
I also created an enormous fugly monstrosity of a lentil that has many things wrong with it, but these things happen!
At this point, my silver glass stash included triton and aurae, plus some stringers (including the Ekho) and single rods I got from Knatty Dreadz when he was still selling them. It didn’t take me very long after the class to place a nice big order with Double Helix for their seconds! (These are rods that have failed visual quality control – ie they may be slightly knobbly or curved or oval. To be honest, I can’t tell the difference with most of them, and most glass manufacturers would happily sell them as firsts. Got me some aether too – their clear, which I am yet to try).
When it comes to clear, Anouk recommends Reichenbach 1011 crystal, because it doesn’t affect the colour of the silver glass and can also be worked long and hot without ill effects. The beads above are using Effetre 006 because it’s what I had. My batch is decent, but I have noticed you can’t work it quite as hot.
A final thing to sign off: this is mystic pink with stormed supernova dots and clear dots. Lauscha supernova isn’t the same as Double Helix reduction colours: you don’t get an easy surface sheen by reducing it – I spent a long time and it stayed purple! It’s a very nice purple, though. However, it can be stormed. Storming is a technique by Amy Kinsch, see her tutorial Taking Reduction Glass By Storm.
Anouk visited Diana East’s studio in the UK to teach a silver glass course at the beginning of January. She’s on Flickr here and Etsy here, if you want to drool over her creations! She also sells tutorials, incidentally. My boyfriend paid for my place on the first day, which was an introduction to silver glass, as part of my Christmas present. (The other part was a biiiiig CiM order. I had a good Christmas this year! And he didn’t need to spend time stomping round shops *grin*).
I made these beads the day before the class, so these are without the benefit of her knowledge.
This is Lauscha blue-purple with silver leaf, reduced and encased in soft clear. Mmm, I like.
This is CiM mermaid with a spiral of aurae, reduced, encased and pressed. I liked the result but had no idea if I’d got the right effect with the aurae!
The BHB is a tuxedo base with a mermaid+magic twistie on top and encased. Not struck properly.
The class was great. I went on the Friday, which was an extra date and so was quieter than the Saturday class. If you want to know about silver glass without having to waste so much getting to grips with it, try and take a class with someone who knows. It’s invaluable. I knew technically how to work striking and reducing glass, but it’s all the little things that you can’t find out otherwise. For example, I was surprised by just how long Anouk reduces for, and how long you can have a big bead out of the flame without it cracking. She also came round when we were making our beads and pointed out when we were getting them too hot (still my problem!) and when we were working it too long and things like that.
We made stonking huge focals and some test round beads, then opted to get Anouk to demonstrate all sorts of things for us rather than making more beads ourselves. It was a wonderful day, and Di’s studio is a great place to have a class.
I need a nice big crunch press! Next up, the beads I made after the class :)
On December 21st 2010 I finally got my Minor set up! I’d bought the Minor second hand off eBay earlier in the year, and got my oxycon from Tuffnell’s in mid-September. Then I sat and made convoluted plans about how I was going to connect everything up while keeping my hothead usable if I so wished. There were various complications: apparently quick connects for 6mm ID propane hose don’t seem to exist in this country (I think Martin’s are imported – they cost more than 4x UK 8mm ones), and ones for 8mm hose, despite a heroic effort, do not fit. I was sent on a chase round the local gas, tool hire and hardware shops, but it turns out they don’t think that reducers exist to attach 6mm and 8mm hose together, and they don’t know who could crimp a new hose on to my flashback arrestor and regulator either.
I’d waited so long to put everything together to avoid the situation where I’d take my torch setup to bits and then discover that I’d be stuck without a working one. In the end, I’ve left out the quick connects for now and have my Minor attached directly to my 6mm hose. I have the rest of the bits sitting around in case I ever do find someone who can put them together for me, but this isn’t urgent anymore as I have a working torch! Poor hothead, it’s lying there with a chopped-off hose tail attached to it.
I liked my hothead a lot, but there were things that I couldn’t do on it that I wanted to. I went for a Minor because I’m familiar with them (my very first lesson was on one, and I’ve used one a couple of times since), I like how rugged they feel, and unlike many other people, I didn’t like the feel of a Cricket as much. As a bonus, mine came complete with a torch-mounted marver which I’m finding very useful.
The first thing I did was to try out some striking colours I’d only got mud from before. That’s Reichenbach 104 magic and raku (iris orange) then. I had one day playing with my Minor before I was away up North for Christmas to stay with various families. Yes, I was missing it, but I took plenty to keep me occupied! Plus my boyfriend’s mum was teaching me to crochet :)
There are definitely colours in there! The whole bead is magic, and it’s been pressed and raked and twisted. They’re fairly muted colours, but they exist! Before I was only getting a yellow-green beige.
This is a magic + hades twistie on tongue pink. This was interesting because tongue pink is also a striking colour – it goes from white to pinky-brown, and it’s rather easy to unstrike again, so I spent a while trying to get both the twistie and the background to be struck at the same time.
This is the one that left me grinning, though. 104 raku on CiM tuxedo. I got the whole thing white hot, let it gravity swirl a little, then pressed it. Add some additional heating and pressing. I love the colours – they look like a sunset. Or sunrise, if you prefer.
These are also raku on tuxedo, but in the earthier end of the colours. It’s hard to get it hot enough on a round without losing all control over the shape, and also hard to cool it fast enough with no press involved.
This here is Gaffer chalcedony over Gaffer clear, both 96CoE. Jolene very kindly gave me some to play with! It has some nice purples in it.
Finally, this one makes me giggle. It’s a big ruffly lime jelly of a bead. It is transparent grass green and Reichenbach multicolour dark in a bit of an unclear tornado with the side ruffles made up of both colours. Possibly ill-advised!
This pair of beads are CiM sangre encased in clear. Sangre’s a very handy transparent red – unlike Effetre striking red, it doesn’t go brown easily, and if you’re using a hothead, you probably won’t notice it’s a striking glass at all. The rod’s red, you wind it on and shape and it’s still red! On a minor you can go through the clear stage, though when I’ve used it so far it has still struck pretty automatically. I haven’t had to do anything to it on purpose.
I’m posting these to remind myself how elegant simple beads can be. I’m rather envious of lampworkers who manage to make whole sets out of beads like these, with or without surface decoration. I’ve never managed the patience to do that yet myself! Focal and matching plain spacers, or pairs of decorated spacers I can do, but a set of 6-8 same size, same decoration beads? Nope. And I think that’s something I should work on.
Part of the problem right now is that I work full time, so can only lampwork in the evenings and weekends, and I have something else that is also eating up a lot of that time right now. So when I sit down to torch I want to try as many different things as possible, rather than repeating one. Hopefully later in the year I will have adjusted the work balance a bit so that I have more time for lampwork, and consistency and discipline in making sets is something I want to aim for then.
To illustrate, now to jump to something completely different!
This is red roof tile, partly encased in amber and with some triton murrini I made on the surface. I like the colour contrast in this bead a lot, and I’m very pleased how the murrini came out. You can get quite a number of different effects out of them depending on how you treat them – the number of times reduced, whether you encase them, etc etc – which I intend to go into in a future post.
Mum plays the clarsach, so I wanted to make a clarsach focal for her Christmas necklace. It took a few goes to get something I was happy with.
First go: light grey transparent lentil with harp in tuxedo. I intended it to be hades, but used the wrong stringer :p
I got the bottom of the harp too hot and the stringer fuzzed out.
More light grey and hades, this time with white strings. It didn’t work well – the white’s so soft that it balled up too fast on the surface. Rather messy result.
This one nearly made it. I really like the harp shape – I used a twistie with various browns and neutrals in it. Hades for the strings and for the notes on the back. I used CiM chalcedony for the base colour, and I didn’t use this bead because I wanted something more transparent. I think you can keep chalcedony a little more translucent if you’re careful, but certain opalinos opacify on me unless I remember to put them near the front of the kiln (a lot easier when I was batch annealing!). Kryptonite does it too.
Showing the notes on the back. In the end I made these beads up into quick pendants by putting them on headpins and gave them to mum too, because she wanted to keep them.
Here’s the final necklace. I used CiM peacock green – utterly beautiful colour, and one that doesn’t opacify in my kiln. I kept the harp simple and more stylised – too many strings just messes up the look. There are some musical notes around the harp. I used another of Diane’s silk ribbons, a hammered silver ring, large Greek silvered ceramic beads, sterling findings and a sterling swan neck clasp to finish it off.
Psst, I do like WordPress’s ability to schedule posts. It lets me space them out rather than do two or three on the days I have time to write them. I only noticed it recently!
This is a necklace I made as a Christmas present for my boyfriend’s sister Carys.
The lampwork beads are transparent mid blue, and the lentil focal has white stringer scrolls. I also used small blue-clear Czech crystals, Greek silvered ceramic spacers and blue silver-lined seed beads. With sterling silver findings and one of Diane’s silk strings.
I kept it simple and I think it worked really well.