One of the neat things about doing a show is that you get to talk to many interesting vendors. The owners of Forward Motion Arts were there. They were handing out samples of a new bead release that they have formulated. Bead release is basically kiln wash, and kiln wash is basically kaolin and alumina hydrate. Some add graphite, or nepheline syenite, or diatomaceous earth. It's easy to mix, but one doesn't want to breathe the release in while reaming beads, which is why, unless I am very broke, I use commercial releases. My favorite so far has been Foster Fire Smooth 'n Tuff
The thing that is so exciting about that is that most bead releases have been formulated with the dry inter-mountain west in mind, or the humid but cool western coast. Here in the subtropical south, many bead releases crack, flake, or just won't hold. Most people I know who torch in this region use a mix of commercial products or make their own. However, Forward Motion Arts has a new release that was formulated and tested here in the humid South! I am looking forward to working with it. Like all good releases, it can be air or flame-dried (i.e. wafted in and out of the torch flame to speed drying).
The owner of Forward Motion Arts also had a special present for all of the flameworkers at the show: three rods of assorted glass. What maker? we asked him. "There's a story," he replied. (The following text is from FMA's EBAY auctions.) "I bought these rods a couple of years ago from a supplier who had found them hidden in a warehouse in France. They had been sitting in their warehouse since the 1950s. There [were] only limited quantities of it in each of the colors and all the colors except one sold out within a few months. ... I have looked up the history of it and have found that opalescent glass is very rare. ... In trying to find out who made it and where did it come from, here is what I have found." What he found was that the glass was not produced in the 1950s, but in the 20s and 30s ... in the Tiffany color palette, likely by a member of the Tiffany family.
And he GAVE US SOME! One of each rod color. MMMMMM.