Wednesday, August 22, 2012


 Yeah, I get bored.  I'm in the summer doldrums, between the long-anticipated vacation and the resumation of real work.  I cast about for ideas.  The above beads are my take on some I saw somewhere and wanted to tweak a bit.  Nothing too outrageous.  Rose cane and green leaves on a transparent base but etched, which changes the whole look.  I'd like to explore etched beads further, but a couple things give me pause.  First, the solution for etching beads is toxic and hazardous every way that you can think of, even when the acid is neutralized with sodium bicarb (baking soda) it's still poison.  If you breathe it or if it touches your skin, it will burn but that isn't the least of it.  It will also go to your bones and hang out there.  Not good.  Second, etched beads don't seem to sell as well as the shiny ones, even if they are more interesting to look at.  If anyone has any insights, I'd love to hear them.
 Above is another technical challenge.  I love pixie dust (another health challenge but an easily dealt with respiratory one.)  But I got bored.  What happens if you add frit and stringer?  The short answer:  Nothing sticks.  By superheating a small section of bead, I can get the frit to stick, then I melt it in and by the time that happens if I apply the stringer while the base is still molten, the scrolls stick and eventually melt in.  Needs more development.  And size control.
Size control is what ticks me off about the above beads.  I made a mushroom of silvered ivory, dotted it with CiM Bordello, and encased the whole thing in Effetre light brown trans.  It's a technique I'm exploring further with different color beads in the kiln but these are meh.  There's a whole mm difference in diameter and when I'm encasing it's so tough to get the same thickness.  I'm trying it with more obvious colors and somehow hoping that will improve my technique.  I'll let you know if that produces any miracles.

I think this must be one of those lulls when I'm keeping my head up until the next breakthrough.  I'm learning quite a bit about the way glass melts and works but will I be able to translate it into anything relevant?  A high point - next week I'll have a new color to play with, CiM Tandoori.  It looks similar to one of my faves, Vetrofond Arancio Perfecto and I can't wait to see how it differs from CiM Clockwork, with which I wasn't terribly impressed.  Why is it that the reds and oranges can't be truly transparent?

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