I ordered some reducing colors from Double Helix two or three weeks ago. I haven’t used much of it – just a little goes a long way. But I can’t put it down, I want to devour it. That’s pretty funny, since my thoughts about silver 104 glass when it first came out and was getting so much attention was “ppbbtt. I have boro for that sort of effect, and it’s cheaper.” I was never a reaction lover when it came to soft glass, meaning, I didn’t care about what evil purple, turquoise and opal yellow did together. I don’t do organic, either, so I buy ivory once every four years, and whatever other neutral curdly colors I might have, I ended up with through special freebies from Frantz. I use my silver leaf and foil for colorful stuff, rather than wrapping it around boring old ivory to create smoky, curdly effects. Inevitably, I was pretty resistant to silver 104. I mean, who needs it, right?
Also, I’ve always been very shy about turning my oxygen down and using a licky yellow flame to bring the shiny metals out of stuff. I used a Hot Head for the first 5 years and was used to using a flame as-is, so that probably explains some of it. And with boro, you have to be careful about reducing some colors, like sparkles and any chrome greens, because it can actually change the COE by as many as 20 points, rendering it incompatible with the rest of the bead. (you can also achieve this by garaging chrome greens/sparkles for too long in your kiln.) So obviously, that isn’t something I do since I use sparkles in almost every boro bead I make. In fact, I don’t do anything special at all with boro. I just pretend it’s soda lime, and work it as such, no striking or reducing – just with a much hotter torch and a different annealing schedule. Oh, and I fully encase everything, and I don’t do that with soda lime at all.
When I first bought some of these fancy new colors much earlier this year, I stuck with strikers like DH Khaos, TAG Dalai, etc., because I figured I’d have better luck than with reducing colors. But all I got was beige blah, and very consistently. I put them away and didn’t think about them for several months. I was inspired to get them out again, and got the same results. So I did some reading on LE – I simply searched each color in the Tips, Techniques and Questions section, and found some posts by the glass makers themselves. In some cases, those posts proved to be more helpful and specific than the info on their own websites. I found that my approach to the silver strikers was all wrong – I was working the glass like regular, non-striking glass, and still attempting to strike it. Duh. So I took Double Helix’s advice (posted on LE) for striking colors: heat the crap out of it until it’s about to drip on the table, and closer to the candles than you normally would for maximum heat. (I definitely wasn’t doing that.) Then, take it out of the flame, still being careful not to let it drip or sag, and once it appears that it’s cool enough to crack, bring it back to the very tip of the flame and watch the colors bloom. I found that once I executed those crucial steps at the beginning of the bead, even with the subsequent cooling and reheating of shaping and adding more decoration, I’m still going to have better color.
my first serious tries at silver glass - a bit too blah for me
This time around, I bought all reducing colors. Double Helix notes whether it’s a striker or a reducer, which made it really easy to decide what I wanted. I did find (through both research and experimentation of my own) that IF you can get the transparent aqua reducers such as TAG Taxco Silver Turquoise and the new Effetre Silver #1, to actually reduce – it does take some effort, more than you might think – it won’t stay under the encasement. Encasing them seems to erase that sheen, and all you get is transparent aqua glass under encasement. I assume that DH Elektra behaves similarly since it’s a transparent aqua glass, but I don’t know that for sure since I haven’t tried it yet.
I found out (by accident) that using transparent colors other than clear can produce interesting results when applied to the metallic sheen of reducing colors. For example, I made a bead with Aion2 and since I didn’t have a rod of Effetre clear handy, I grabbed Vetrofond Crystal Green since it’s pretty much clear, anyway. What I got was sort of an olive and aqua striation, which was nice, but it didn’t keep much of its metallic sheen. That was one of my first beads, though, before I grew some nads about reducing, so I may try it again later when I have more experience. Another interesting color to use is Lavender 080. Some of you may already know that Effetre lavender turns silver leaf yellow, and the same can be said about silver glass. I also found that the lighter transparent reducers, like Aurae for example, will create interesting colors when you use different bases for them.
most recent experiments, some successful
Look for (even better) beads made with silver 104 glass in my upcoming sales! And speaking of that… I figure there isn’t much point in putting anything in my Etsy shop this week, due to the holiday stuff… There’s a small chance I won’t make it to the PO again this week, anyway.
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