Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baking Soda Beads 2

 I was pretty happy about the beads I made with baking soda.  It adds a really unique finish to the beads and there is a lot of variation in the way it turns out.  Making earring pairs using this method is going to be a trick because even a pair made with the same glass at the same time may not match.
 The set on the right turned out pretty well.  I used a twistie made from CiM tuxedo and peace, then silvered ivory.  The silvered ivory turns out even more organic looking than usual, and the peace has a sort of translucency that the baking soda treatment doesn't entirely remove.
I like the way light transmits through the translucent beads in this batch.  It seems like the lighter the color, the "harder" the glass remains.  The 2 lightest transparent colors are Effetre light brown transparent and kelp.
 Here's a family portrait.  Like all family get togethers, a couple members didn't make it to the event, but they're around somewhere and if they're any good they will be photographed in due course.
 Here is where it gets weird.  The arrows point to two beads made with the same glass at different times.  Both were made using a clear core with a coating of some stringer made from copper green and olive.  I didn't do as good a job of covering the core on the bead on the left and the result is that it is lighter in color and almost translucent.  The bottom right bead with the arrow seems almost like partially polished old jade.
I told you this was strange.  The bead marked with the arrow in this picture is before cleaning.  It is actually darker with a hard, shiny, rough coating.  When I removed these from the mandrel and stuck them in a bowl of water to clean them, the coating sort of dissolved into a slimy mess and underneath was the top left bead in the picture above.  I liked the way the first green bead turned out and was trying to match it.  Obviously, this didn't happen, so I tried it again and am waiting to see how they turn out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tie Score

 I'll show the good beads first for a change.  I really like the baking soda beads that Andrea has been making at Powers Art Glass, so I decided to give it a try with different colors and textures.  I found that different glasses react very differently to baking soda.  All look super-etched, but some look like they've boiled on the surface and others do not.  In addition, the metal salt used to color the glass comes out in some of the colors.  Pardon the color of these pictures.  I wanted something positive to say and took these on the end table with yellow artificial light.

 I would be hard pressed to say exactly what is in the left 2 beads in the photo above.  I had a bunch of stringer and twistie lying on the bench and pretty well applied it all over a base of clear.  These look wild.  The second 2 on the top picture and the left 2 on the middle picture were made with a twistie of tux and peace wrapped around a core of clear, then the space between the loops filled in with silvered ivory stringer.  I would be wrong no matter what I said the right 2 beads are in the middle picture.  Copper green was involved.  And some odds and ends of twistie and such from the bench.  I seem to think I made a twistie of CiM chai unique and DH aurae that isn't on the bench anymore.  I'll have to check the floor, otherwise it's either in these or the first 2.  I think it was the first 2, because these have a green cast that I think comes from the copper green.
Transparent glasses didn't do much for me using this treatment.  They seem to be "harder,"  to use a vague term.  In these, the baking soda just looks like a heavy etching.  The feel of the top bead on the left is odd, kinda soapy.  Underneath it on the left is bordello, which looks ok.  CiM adamantium with silvered ivory looks pretty cool, but you can only see the top here.  Effetre kelp is pretty boring as well.  Ivory pastel over clear is very boring indeed.  I thought it might do something neat since it's so soft and prone to boil anyway, but no, it had to behave itself.  I can't remember what the top bead on the right is, but I'm thinking odd lots of stringer.  The one underneath is as cool as it gets.  It looks from here kind of like a pierced pea, but in real life it looks like carved rough green turquoise or something.  It is a stringer made from copper green striped with CiM olive and wrapped more or less randomly over a clear core.  The last bead is just olive.  It looks ok but does not do anything weird.
 Can't put it off anymore.  The shoes aren't happening.  I've been trying to make a shoe that's daintier and more foot-shaped and by reducing the glass around the mandrel and shaping it too close to the mandrel, every bead I've made has cracked.  These three are the most intact.  The one I'm holding (together) held up through cleaning and I was going to photograph it and try to reproduce it, but I noticed a whitish line across the instep.  I applied a little pressure and the bead snapped in half.  I can make these shoes as chunky and heavy or not at all.  Rats.
Here's the pile of shame.  Note one of them even has a stilletto heel.  It couldn't hold up, though.  Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Messy Color Update

For anyone just joining me as I wander across a field of glass, I've been honored by having some of my work mentioned on the Creation is Messy website.  I've also been trying out new techniques while I work out colors.  This is such a bead.  October is breast cancer awareness month in the US, but women are diagnosed every day and a friend has asked me to make some pink high heeled shoe earrings to help spread awareness.  Creation is Messy has pictured my bead on their page for Gelly's sty, which I think is the absolute best glass to use for this purpose.  It is nice and stiff and screamingly pink.

I am frequently frustrated by my inability to get the beads I see in my mind's eye to come out on the mandrel.  This set was one of my rare successes.  It took quite a few tries to get it just right, but I am very happy with how they turned out.  They are mentioned on the Lapis page.

This is the original by Vincent Van Gogh.  I think the mood came out pretty well.
This set reminded me of a seaside landscape and the blog post it appeared in is linked to CiM olive.

Hopefully this has been an enjoyable excursion to Creation is Messy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fall (color) Diet Pictures

 I haven't posted many pictures since the weekend, but I have been working.  I really like the way the glass is acting on the new diet.  I confess to a certain amount of premeditation with the way these turned out in that I knew that many of the colors I picked were going to do neat things when I combined them with metals and silver glass. 

The bead on the left is made on CiM lapis with a twistie of copper green, CiM bordello, DH Aurae, and DH terra2, with some silvered ivory thrown in for good measure.  Believe it or not, the weird greenish stripe bordered with black is the bordello.  This, I was not expecting.  I can only speculate that the greenish color is it reacting to the silver glasses next to it and the black stripes are it reacting to the copper green with the silvered glasses.  If anyone else has any suggestions of what it could be, please leave a comment because I like it but I'm stumped.
 The long bead on the right is a base of Effetre dark red special, 1/2 rolled in silver foil and melted, rolled in a DH reducing frit blend on the other half, wrapped with the same twistie as above and silvered ivory stringer, and swirled in a couple places.
 This is where the battery on my camera died, so I had to settle for a group picture of the remaining beads.  You'll see more of the copper green stringer, plus one made with just DH terra2 and aurae, and another made with EFF dark red, light pumpkin and trans topaz on a base of clear.  I used silver foil, DH reducing frit, and silvered ivory stringer pretty liberally on all of these.  The only one that has anything different is the center bicone, which has another stringer made with a very tight twistie of CiM adamantium and silvered ivory.
I hope you've enjoyed this sneak preview into the beads I will be listing over the next week or two.

I'm going back to work tomorrow so I don't know when I'll be torching next, but when I have new beads I will post them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Carol Tries on the Glass Slipper

 All right, it was a poor fit.  Too small, too big, and of a shape no human foot would never conform to.  A customer asked me to try making a pair of pink high heeled shoe earrings for charity and I had to give it a try.  CiM Gelly's sty is just exactly the right color.  It screams pink and more importantly, is nice and stiff so it holds its shape while I dither around with the torch trying to figure out how to make a convincing shape.  It was meant to be a classy, high heeled pump with a beaded decoration on top, but neither one of these things happened.  And I forgot that Gelly's sty devitrifies.  I'm running low on gas again so I couldn't heat it enough to get rid of this, and I'm not sure the heel would have taken it if I did.
 The heel gave me the most fits.  From this angle it looks pretty good, but what you can't see is that it had to be pretty wide to stand up to the heat without wilting.  The heel area in general is a bit wide, though.  I'm going to try starting with a smaller bead to anchor it and work from there, which should allow me to make the instep area a bit narrower as well.  This picture is good.  It hides the immense wideness of the wrong areas.
The top decoration didn't really work out, because I added it before I was done shaping the glass and it all melted together.  I was pleased with the fact that there was an open area between the heel and the toe.  I shall keep this and work on getting the rest to be more foot shaped.  Another thing I was thinking of was not continuing the hole all the way through the tip of the toe.  It would be really cool if I could hang the earrings from the heel, the way you'd carry a pair of shoes with 2 fingers.  I need to have the mandrel reach the toe because I am not at all confident of my ability to keep the shape of a scoop shaped bit of hot glass in the flame.  I can see the toe swinging all over the place. 

I'm not at all unhappy with the way this turned out as a first attempt.  Most of the stuff I eventually wind up with takes many tries to get it the way I like it and I've done worse.  Previously, I've made some snowmen, fish, a frog and a penguin or two.  This is an entirely new shape and much more technically challenging.  Even if I never wind up with earrings I'm glad I tried it.  I'll amend this post if I ever get it right.

Pepsi Refresh Everything/ Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage has moved into 16th place.  Please vote to help kids with cancer!  Starting at 10th place it can win $25000!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Christmas in July Sale

I'm having a Christmas in July sale in my Etsy shop, Carol at Fire in Ice.  All beads and jewelry in the SALE section is 10-25% off!

My Raspberry Flip bracelet is on sale for $2 off!  This bracelet was mentioned on the Creation is Messy pages for  
and for desert pink.

 My Colonial Stoneware big hole bead is on sale for $1 off.  It will fit on pandora and other popular bracelets.
My Green Rose earrings are now only $7.  For lampworked glass on sterling silver hoops it doesn't get any prettier.
 My Pink Garden big hole beads are now only $5 each!  They were featured in
TrashCat's summer watermelon treasury.
These dainty little Strawberry Rose earrings are also only $7 each and would make a great "stocking stuffer."

These Red Psyche earrings earrings are 25% off!

My Sapphire hollow bead is also 25% off and seems to glow with a light of its own.

My Mystic Pools big hole bead is now $2 off at only $5. The iridescent spots remind me of inlaid paua shell.

This intricately detailed Rose Garden big hole bead is only $4.50 and is 25% off!

This earring pair made from Effetre's new Calico glass reminds me of semiprecious Jasper. Etching them would make this resemblance even stronger. They are almost 50% off at only $4!

These gorgeous, shimmering Peacock earrings are now only $10!

Go fun and funky with these retro Smiles earrings. At 1/3 off, don't worry be happy!

Enjoy a touch of wearable opulence with these Midas earrings. With 23.5 karat gold leaf and loads of silver glass they are an affordable luxury at 20% off!

Get ready for fall with this Harvest big hole bead. And you'll have $1 more for school supplies.

These Babylon earrings have a Near Eastern flair.  And it's affordable at $2 off!

The rich orange and gold of Autumn branches adorn this big hole bead.  $2 off makes fall sweet.

Thickly patterned silvered ivory and black glass beads hang from sterling silver hoops on these Ancient Fossil earrings.  Now you can save 20%!

Enjoy the colors of Sunset with this big hole bead at $2 off!

Finally, since summer's not done yet, enjoy a tropical break with this Caribbean Blue big hole bead.  Now only $5!
I hope you enjoy my Christmas in July sale and please stop by my shop to see all my lampwork!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Starry Night

 I finally managed to make the beads that have been haunting me for days.  I listed them last night on Etsy and am thrilled with the way they turned out.  They presented a few challenges for me, but not because they used a limited palette.  I wound up using a core of clear, then a layer of CiM lapis.  On top of that I added trails of CiM bordello and DH triton.  I melted in a layer of silver foil, reduced them, and encased this in a layer of Vetrofond clear, then added a rooster tail of black metallic.  I don't know if black metallic is on the diet but it is black so I'm counting it.
 The first challenge involved my test bead cracking.  I knew I was onto something and was frustrated by finding a small crack in the encasement layer.  I'm convinced that this was the result of not heating the bead through after adding the triton tail to the top and reducing it.  With my setup, if I heat a DH reducing color back up to glowing it spoils the reduction and I have to do it again, so I used metallic black instead.  It's not the same effect and the triton was gorgeous, but I can't have it if the bead isn't stable.
 The second challenge was one of my own making.  I decided to make the beads on a core of clear on the off chance that there was a slight compatibility issue.  Comparitively speaking, these beads take a long time for me to make, and I didn't want to waste all that time and fuel on beads I wouldn't be able to use, so just to be on the safe side I made them on a core of clear.  Then I ran into the issue of size.  I knew I wanted them as a set, which implies that they match.  Well, that means I had to use just the same amount of glass and decoration.  OK, I can do this.  Surprisingly, I didn't have to waste any beads since they did come out within a millimeter.
The last challenge is going to be letting them go.  I want to offer my best beads, and I believe these can be included in this group.  I can make another set for myself and may sometime, but they won't be these beads.

I'm not the only one who feels like this and I will be satisfied having made them in the first place.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More Creation is Messy Links

Creation is Messy has been kind enough to link to my blog, and I am flattered beyond belief.  They're still going through it and I've got a few more links to share. 

With this one, I was comparing blues from Effetre with CiM sapphire. I love this blue.  It's dark enough to appear as a proper blue and light and intense enough to show up as blue, even in poor lighting.

CiM Ghee links to a bead I felt was very ..... um.... different.  I had originally thought this was a mistake, but the mistake was mine.  The encased poi stringer contrasts well with the ghee. 

CiM poison apple loves silver glass and I used this in my Art Nouveau set.  It is the base of the bead on top in the photo at the right.
I used two CiM colors for this bracelet, and CiM was good enough to link to it on two of their pages.  It can be found on their page for cranberry pink as well as on their page for desert pink.  This bracelet is in my Etsy shop, and if you'd like a closer look please click here

I found that CiM sangre really does photograph better in the sun and this does highlight its transparency and talked about it in this post

I wanted to see what CiM butter pecan would do when combined with some of the many blacks, as well as other colors, and talked about it in this entry.

In my post for Effetre nile green opalino I tested it with a variety of colors, including some that CiM linked to.  They include a comparison between Effetre ivory pastel and butter pecan, one with tuxedo (which is an extrordinary ordinary black), and Gelly's sty.
I compared CiM glacier to Vetrofond pearl grey

Their page for CiM tuxedo refers to the neat effect I got with Effetre chocolatta

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some beads with the new color diet ready to post.  I've been having trouble with the encasement cracking, and I'm not sure whether it's because I'm letting the core cool too much before applying the encasement, whether I'm leaving a void as I apply the encasement, whether there's a compatibility issue, or whether I'm too hasty and just not letting these anneal properly.  I hope it's not the latter.