Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coppery Black?

 I've been whiling away the time waiting for my new annealer to come, but the excitement has kept me making some beads.  I was attracted by a new glass available from Devardi, supposed to be usable only by hothead users and rendering a finish similar to the very expensive silver glasses, only in copper, not silver.  Why not take a chance and order some?  Here's a link to Devardi's site and Golden Coppery Black is about 1/3 of the way down the page.  There's even an instructional video showing how to bring up the lustre.  It looks so easy, doesn't it.
 What I got was a slew of black rods, one with a tag bearing the label "golden coppery black", and another with a suspicious spot of color change, distinctly silvery.  You can just see it in the rod in the above picture.  I've included a loop of copper wire in case my picture didn't come out well.  After making quite a few beads with the suspect glass, I believe that the rods were mislabeled.  I tried the rod with the label on it as well, hoping that at least that would be the color I ordered.  No luck.
In the photo above, the bead in the upper left, still on the mandrel, was treated as I would CiM gunmetal, and I got a  very similar effect.  The paddle on the end of the rod was simply mashed, cooled and flashed in and out of the middle of the flame like the video suggests, as were the rest of the beads, except for the one on the right with the DH Triton bumps, where I was trying to reduce it to see if that would help.  The center bead, right next to the copper ring, is made with both ends the Devardi glass and the middle CiM tuxedo, and nothing doing here at all. 

I'm very disappointed by this glass.  I really don't need any more gunmetal, which is what this seems like it's going to be, not to mention I was looking forward to a new glass color just for me as a hothead user.  Devardi glass is less expensive than Italian glass or CiM, but it is shocky and boils and pits if it isn't worked cool enough.  I've received rods that were mislabeled before from more than one source, so unless something miraculous happens to my technique I'll assume that's what's happened.

In the meantime, my annealer was just delivered and I'll be spending the next month trying to figure out how to program it.  Directions so simple a child can program it.  Bah!  Anyone got a child to program this thing, cuz I'm having VCR flashbacks?

10/29/10  Devardi glass wrote back and explained that I've been doing it wrong.  I have to make the bead, turn the gas up to rocket and flash the bead in and out of that once it's cooled to no longer glowing.  I'm not used to working with so much gas, since I'm pretty stingy with the MAPP fuel.  I gave it a try with the labeled rod this morning and will post a picture of the resulting beads.  I definitely had some golden irridescence going into the kiln.  Apparently, MAPP gas gives you a golden hue and bottled propane gives a coppery one.  I wonder if I'll have to get a tank of propane just to see what it looks like.  And I'm still not sure about that rod with the silver smudge.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Jewelry and Hope

 It's been a couple months, but I finally have something to say.  I have made the odd spacer or two, for my own consumption since I don't feel comfortable selling beads that may crack.  I haven't been enjoying lampworking though since my lack of a way of annealing them properly and the loss of some really nice beads has put a damper on my creativity.  I've also been getting used to working with a pair of diddys.  The soda flare never really bothered me but I talked to an eye doctor about torchwork and she scared me into buying a pair.  I don't know whether it's the lack of the cue of the soda flare or being rusty, but suddenly all my beads were coming out lopsided and I was having the devil of a time with all kinds of other basic issues.  I've finally worked out my shaping, heat control and stringer placement issues and produced the necklace, bracelet, and earrings above.

I lost some weight and my wardrobe needed an update, and purple is one of my favorite colors, so I needed some nice jewelry to go with the new duds.  I like the way these colors come together and have always favored many different shapes in one color group.  The set is made up of CiM Thai orchid, Effetre silver plum light and dark and a few violet transparent.  For decoration I mostly used black metallic with some CiM tux, which has a different kind of reaction with the Thai orchid I used it over.  I restocked headpins and finally got some that will work with 3/32" holes.  I didn't have them when I made this pair of earrings, hence the wirewrapping, but will have them when I get back to beadmaking for real next week.

I still have a bit of time for benchwork because I recently had minor surgery and am able to sit and torch but not walk around for extended periods or lift more than 10 lbs.  I'll have to have Joe set up my new annealer when it comes on Thursday.  I'm so amped.  It's brand new, straight from the factory and hasn't been ruined by anyone else first.  It says it can't be used for PMC but I think if I place a ceramic shelf that's all that is usable from my old kiln in it, it will work fine.  ANYONE WHO HAS ANY FEEDBACK ON THIS IDEA, PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT.  After waiting so long for a proper annealer, I don't want to mess it up.  I haven't done PMC yet and can put it off indefinitely if it means I can make beads that won't crack.  I stole this picture of the chilli pepper I'm getting from the Heritage Glass site in my links.  They have some really good prices and ship really fast.  I had thought about the small Paragon due to its firebrick sides and floor, but decided on the extra bead space, since I can't see making only half a dozen beads and quitting for the day.
So, to sum up, I've been pretty busy.  I lost some weight, started taking better care of my eyes, had to relearn how to torch, had surgery and am looking forward to a new annealer and glass.  I even caught up on some of my housework.  Hope can give you so much energy.  Right now I'm hoping I can get a little momentum with the positive changes I've made to tackle some more of the stuff that's holding me back.