Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Creative Slump II: Side Trip down New Glass Lane

Saturday was the first meeting of the Southern Flames lampworking group that I have been able to attend for a while. Meetings are most often on Wednesday nights, and very often I am teaching on Wednesday evenings.

It was a fun meeting. During the meeting, we had a new visitor--Brad Shute of Striking Color. He brought samples of his new silver glass, and offered his odds and short ends at a very reduced price. They looked lovely! I decided to try it, but, as I have had mixed success with the silver glasses, I thought I would invest in only a quarter pound.

After the meeting, Marcy Lamberson (StudioMarcy) and I were the only two who took him up on his offer. We walked out into the chilly night, over to the back of Brad's truck. He pulled out a scale, and three cardboard boxes full of short ends. We began making silly jokes about getting our glass "Crack," complete with parking-lot dealers and careful scales. I should say that

Brad was very generous in his reading of quarter pounds and pounds -- he gave me more like half a pound of glass. Marcy bought a pound, and her total was likewise a good bit over her specified amount. We all shook hands, made more jokes about midnight goods handovers, and headed out to our respective ways. I went to the last part of the Open Studio night at Duckbill Studios, and Marcy went home.

Well, I got to try the glass on Sunday, which distracted me from Gwacie's assignments. I have had hit-or-miss results with many silver glasses, and in general find that *for me* they aren't worth the price. I do well with Taxco and Rocio Silver Mist, but the new Terra and other glasses just never work as well for me as they do for many others--it's purely my technique. So I approached Brad's glass with a combination of determination and trepidation! I didn't have much torch time, but I made a wanna-be barrel and some sprees.

The barrel, alas, broke through the bead release before I finished shaping it, and appears to be permanently fused to the mandrel. This is the one bad thing about middle-dipped mandrels, IMHO; one's occasional plant stakes are much shorter. But the silver glass produced absolutely beautiful colors with almost no fuss.
The glass does not like to be encased, I found, at least not with Diamond Clear. It's technically COE 104, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is compatible with all 104 glasses. You can see the cracks in the spree beads, feh and double feh. So: no or only very light encasing, where the ratio of clear to base is smaller. The barrel is encased, too, but there were no cracks because the clear was less of a percentage of the whole bead.

So that took up my torching time on Sunday, and is bringing back some of my enthusiasm. Brad's glass gets a solid thumbs-up sign from me, as well. I am teaching Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday I want to go vote (IF YOU CAN, GO VOTE EARLY. THIS IS AN HISTORIC ELECTION NO MATTER WHO YOU BACK--PLEASE PARTICIPATE!). Friday, though ... time to work on assignments and custom orders, and maybe some more of Brad's silver glass.


Studio Marcy - Marcy Lamberson said...

Dear Fellow Addict,
I love seeing your results. They're much better than mine. I did encase my small sample donuts.

Did you super heat, let it cool and then barely reintroduce into the back of the flame? Or what did you do with it? which color rods did you try? give us all the details. I want pretty rainbow beads like yours!

Four Tails Lampwork said...

Not sure what I did! I super heated the barrel and didn't really cool it much--I could just see the colors come in the way it does with raku. I used two of the glasses, not sure which--the bluey / smokey rod and the browner/greeney rod.

I played with the flame on the lentils, and tried the super heating / cooling thingy, and got poorer results. The glass likes the same flame chemistry that I use to get colors out of raku--HOT, but only a teensy touch oxygenated. So maybe try working this glass the way YOU work raku, O Fellow Addict, and you will come up with purples. I'll try it again on Friday to see if it really is "the way I work raku" or if this was just the phase of the moon and the amount of shepherd hair on my floor.

Four Tails Lampwork said...

Oh, and I want to see your results!!!!!