Saturday, September 13, 2014

Glass Beadmaking: Absence of Color - Focusing on Design

This time of year, I usually start making beads in fall colors - purples, ambers, oranges, greens, browns, etc. For some reason this year, I remain sort of uninspired.  Maybe it's the weather (which has been uncharacteristically warm in the Northwest this year). Maybe it's the stress. Who knows. So, I decided to take the color out of the equation this week and just work with black and white. 
Glass used: Vetrofond Black, Effetre White and Double Helix Aether.
Working with black and white is fun because the stability of the glass I use allows me to go crazy with stacking, masking, raking and twisting, and still end up with crisp, clear designs on the beads.
My favorite bead uses encased white stringer with masked black and white dots.

For black, I primarily use Vetrofond Black. It's sad, though, because it's been discontinued and I can't find it anywhere anymore.  I am down to my last two rods (!!)  I am hoping that CiM Hades will work in its place, but we'll have to see.

For those who are unaware, all black glass is not alike.  The reason why is that black is not an opaque color - it's a very, very dark transparent color, technically speaking.  Effetre Black, which I think is the most commonly used black glass out there (in beadmaking anyway), is really just a super dark transparent plum/purple. It's not dark enough to prevent it from bleeding into other colors, though, and that's most evident when you use it with white.  Lines are not as crisp, and you can see a slight purpling of the edges of the white when both are layered together.

Most other black glasses I have used have similar issues. They either spread, feather or discolor any pale opaque color used with them.

Some black glasses are actually made that way on purpose (Effetre Intense Black for instance). Some beadmakers are very adept at using that property to their advantage when making beads with organic, freeform designs.

Vetrofond Black is great, because it is based in blue and not purple, and it seems to be darker and to have more stability.  So the lines are really crisp, and there is very little bleeding.

CiM has several black glasses, and I have read that Hades is the best when it comes to stability and darkness.  Yey!  In the meantime, I am going to keep my eye out for stashes of Vetrofond Black.

Beads with designs close to the holes
I got a lot of joy making black and white beads this week.  I think my designs have gotten more intricate over the years, and my beads have gotten slightly smaller.  I really love tiny intricate work!

 I've also been focusing on asymmetry - making the designs pull focus toward the hole and not toward the center of the bead. Just for fun and visual interest.

Next week, it's back to fall colors, I think.  I really do love autumn, so hopefully inspiration will find its way back to me. :)

These are all available on my website of you're interested.

Friday, August 15, 2014

CiM Glass Testing: 212 Tiger Lily Ltd. Run

When I got the new batch of CiM colors, Tiger Lily was the first rod I pulled for testing. Sadly, I got kind of frustrated with it, so I set is aside for a little while.  I revisted the color last week and here's what came of it.

Tiger Lily appears in rod form as a saturated bright orange opaque.  The rod is gorgeous, so I had high expectations for this glass. The color of the rod is a brighter, more vivid shade than CiM Sunset, but not quite as bright as CiM Clockwork.

The first thing I noticed is that in wrapping spacers, the orange kind of separates and striates, and loses most of the density.  It's not necessarily as opaline as the actual CiM Opal colors, but it does lose some opacity.  It also darkens a little when not covered with encasing.

Tiger Lily is slightly stiff but not too bad, and doesn't bleed or spread out, which is nice.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the beads below, Tiger Lily does not layer without showing some of the color underneath it.  So I can't call it an actual opaque color. The CiM website does call it a transparent orange, but it's not that either. In fact, it was strangely easy to make encased stringer that stayed reasonably opaque when used.  However, when making floral petals, you can see through parts of them to the base bead.  And when making stripes, you can clearly see black through the orange. Dots of Tiger Lily on clear didn't stay completely opaque.

CiM Tiger Lily with CiM Adamantium, along with black and clear.
This color confounds me, but I am certain that there are people who will love the way it works out - and can use that to their advantage.  I just personally prefer opaques that stay opaque and transparents that stay transparent.  Call me picky!  :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beadmaking Tutorial Sale and other stuff

Hi all!

I am having a three day sale on all of my tutorials - you can get 33% off by entering the code "3daysale" in your shopping cart!

This includes all of the tutorials listed under "Kandice's Tutorials" on the Tutorials page. This does not apply to Etsy listings - just the ones on Coloraddiction. This does include the Pumpkin tutorial - and it's the perfect time of year for that one!

I just finished updating Coloraddiction, adding all the new color blogs to the list on the Tutorials page for easy reference.

I've got more colors to test - just getting the time to start doing that!  I'll be posting about Tiger Lily (a bright orange) later today I think.  Also on tap is the light opaque pink called Primrose, and the opaque grey called Cobblestone. I am unsure about whether I will be testing the opal colors they have out - I am not keen on opal colors as you may have noticed.  :) There are also quite a few red shades, and I might do one or two of those.

In the coming weeks and months, I will also be testing some new frit colors called FrittyBits by Melanie Graham!  This is a huge departure for me - I am not one for using a lot of frit in my beads.  But my muse needs a refresher in creativity, so I think it will be a fun challenge. Look for that soon!

That's about it on the news front - see you later!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CiM Glass Testing: 116 Mahogany Ltd. Run

Lots of reds and neutrals were in the latest batch of test glass from CiM last month - which I really like.  Today, I'm talking about Mahogany, a limited run color that is an unusual shade of reddish brown.

I couldn't quite figure out what this color was supposed to be when I saw the rods - it was a shade or two lighter than Effetre's old Cinnamon Chocolotta, and was labelled an opaque red on CiM's website.

For me, the name is kind of confusing.  When I think of mahogany, I think of the wood - a rich, dark reddish brown.  This color is more like cinnabar, or even a brick color, but not as orange. It sits right between red and brown for me, making it difficult to classify. Whatever we try and call it, it is a color we don't otherwise see in the 104 COE lines, which is great.

Mahogany is a nice fall shade - it goes really well with the ambers and browns of the season, and fits right in.

I love the density of this glass - it's well saturated, so it doesn't wash out or go translucent under encasing.  Layering is easy - it stays opaque.  The glass itself isn't too stiff or too soft, and didn't have any shocking problems.

Mahogany does have a tendency to striate - and strikes just a little.  You'll get little reddish streaks if you work the glass for awhile. Under clear, the color goes more brownish than red, especially if it's not melted in. 

It  encases like a dream, and doesn't bleed or spread much at all.  The glass is stable and the color stays put, even when used as encased stringer.

In these sets, I paired mahogany with Effetre Opal Yellow, Medium Topaz, Light Topaz and Black.  Clear was used for any encasing or layering over the Mahogany. 

All in all, I really like this addition to the color palette.  Nice and spicy for fall!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

CiM Glass Testing: 765 Chai Ltd. Run and 204 Peachy Keen

So, a couple of weeks ago I got a new box of color samples from Creation is Messy.  I was surprised, given that there are only four new colors listed on the CiM color preview page.  Kathy usually doesn't send test samples when there are so few colors.  However, when I opened the box, there were quite a few colors bundled up, and I didn't recognize most of them.  I'm not sure if they are all new - or if maybe some of them are coming back after being out of production for awhile - or what.  But I am happy to test them, regardless!

The two colors I am testing today are not new colors - one wasn't even in the batch I just got.  But when I saw an opaque peach in the bundle (Chai), I had to bring out my stash of the transparent color Peachy Keen to put with it. So I am blogging about Peachy Keen and Chai today, because we have very few choices for peach in the 104 glass lines, and I LOVE peach.  I'll get to the newer colors soon, I promise!

CiM's Chai Ltd. Run was a color I never had a chance to try before.  I don't recall when it came out, but I do remember some of the odd lots that came from it. I am not sure which version this is, because it's just labelled 765 Chai Ltd. Run.  However, the rods are much lighter than the old version seems to be, so maybe this is one of the odd lot formulas.

At any rate, this color is a light opaque warm peach, that is lighter when melted than in rod form.  It's not a dense color, but almost has a consistency of a CiM opal.  Chai can go translucent, but not as much as an opal color does.  When encased in clear, Chai goes very very light - almost ghost-like. I prefer encasing it in Peachy Keen to bring out the deeper peach tones.

Chai is also slightly stiff, and can pit and shock a little bit if you're not careful. Make sure to melt it all the way, or it won't pull smoothly into stringer.
It can still be made into encased stringer, and looks good with Peachy Keen as the encasement, but does go a little translucent at times. 

Layering this glass in melted dots can be tricky because of its lack of density, so I recommend a couple of layers of it to make sure it doesn't wash out.

Chai can strike slightly darker if you take your time with it. The longer it's worked in the flame, the darker and warmer the color gets.

All in all, I think I like Adobe better as a choice for warm peach, but Chai isn't bad.  I prefer it over Peaches and Cream - the opal peach shade that CiM had awhile back.

The counterpart here is Peachy Keen - a color that came out at the same time as the Peaches and Cream opal, but that I hadn't tried yet (waited for a good peach opaque instead of an opal, so I could layer).  I'm happy to say that this color is not a limited run - it's in the regular line up and I hope it stays that way.

Peachy Keen is a stable, light peach color with more saturation than Lauscha Peach or Effetre Pink. It's a perfect shade of peach!

Not too stiff, not too soft, this color can burn/scum if heated too quickly. Other than that, it's a wonderful glass to work with.  It layers well, encases nicely and has a beautiful clarity and shine.

This is a great color for any time of year - especially spring and summer.  Here, I paired it with navy blue for a soft, neutral look.

You can see how the Chai goes a little translucent, especially when layered with the Peachy Keen and melted in, as is show in the bead on the far right.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bead Soup Blog Party - Blog Hop Reveal!!

8th Bead Soup Blog Party List of Participants' Blogs

Finally, the day we all have been waiting for - the big reveal!  I'm writing this on Friday, and have it set up to post at midnight eastern time tonight/Saturday morning - hopefully it will work.

First, I would like to say thank you to the party administrator Lori Anderson.  She is so amazing - throughout all of this huge thing, and with everything she has been going through in her life.  I would never have been able to handle something like this, so kudos and hugs to her!

Now, as many people might have already guessed, this is my first time participating in what has become a very popular event.  I'm first and foremost a glass beadmaker - I rarely make jewelry, and I almost always use lampwork in any that I do make.  So this was a huge challenge for me, not knowing what I would get and having a deadline to create something out of unfamiliar components.

I have to say, it was really fun!  I am proud of myself for actually being able to come up with something that I think looks nice and used every single thing I was sent.

My partner in this party is Kat BarronMiller of Midnight Kat Productions.She sent me this gorgeous selection of beads - you can see the blog post about them here

The soup was beautiful, and it took me a few weeks of pondering to finally decide how to use it.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted to add pops of color to bring out the lovely autumn tones in these stones and in the brass findings.  I wanted to enhance the red and complement it, so I added some scarlet glass pearls and some amethyst gemstone beads.  I also added tiny metallic purple glass pearls and some deep chocolate brown pearls - some shiny and some with a matte finish for visual interest.

Stringing the necklace was pretty simple, so I started with that - adding two strands so the wearer could twist them if they liked. The brass wire really worked nicely - easy to wrap into connectors. I really love the look of the brass chain with the pearls, too.

The tricky part was coming up with a pendant that would incorporate all of the larger pieces - the dragonfly and flower, and also the agate focal.  I know we were't required to use everything, but I loved all three, so I couldn't leave any of them out.

I've never used anything this large in my jewelry, so it took me awhile to figure out what to do.  At first I thought I might glue the dragonfly to the stone, but I really wasn't sure I wouldn't make a huge mess of that, and I doubted it would come off if I messed it up.  So I decided to just make a sort of wire bail with the chocolate pearls, and then hang the dragonfly in front of the stone with some chain links.  The effect is somewhat cumbersome when handling the necklace, but once it's on, it hangs well.

I connected the flower element above the pendant using the flat connectors and some chain.  It's a little odd-looking, but I like it.

Lastly, I attached the pretty clasp.  The pearl strands are strung on Soft Flex wire and crimped, so the whole thing feels pretty substantial and strong.

I had tiny dragonfly charms left, along with vintaj drops, connectors, and balls, so I made some earrings to go with the necklace. I love these teeny litle dragonflies!  The whole ensemble reminds me of fall, which is just my thing.

Now, strangely, I don't wear a lot of jewelry, and don't have pierced ears anymore, so I will likely give this to someone I love as a present.  :)

My muse had a great time with this challenge - thanks to all for reading!

Now, go forth and visit all the other fantastic artists!
8th Bead Soup Blog Party List of Participants' Blogs

Friday, May 2, 2014

Random News and a Tutorial Sale

HI all!  It's been awhile, I know.  Sometimes the blog suffers when things are busy!

So here are a few updates....

First, I am having a tutorial sale this week.  Until May 10th, all of my tutorials on Coloraddiction are 30% off!  This includes the pumpkin tutorial.  Just use the coupon code MAYSALE when checking out.

**this does not include tutorials by Kim, or tutorials listed on Etsy.  Only the items under "Kandice's Tutorials" on the page linked here are included.

Next, just to let all interested parties know, the reveal date for the Bead Soup Blog Party has been moved to next weekend, instead of this weekend.  The coordinator moved it for medical reasons, and I wish her a speedy recovery and lots of love!

I have finished my jewelry pieces for the blog party/hop, and I am really happy with them.  It was a serious challenge for me, since I am first and foremost a glass beadmaker, and have only limited experience designing jewelry.  But I had a lot of fun stretching my creative muscles!  You'll see the results next weekend, and I will talk more about my process then.

Another piece of news - I have finished May's Bead of the Month Club beads.  They're purple and green, some of my faves for summer.  I'm now taking orders for June and beyond. Click the pic to see previous months and info on signing up.

As far as glass testing goes, I haven't done a lot lately.  I did run tests on the new CiM color Flax, but it's so pale and transparent that pictures of it just didn't turn out.  Plus, the color itself is way better as a layering color for cream, pale green or yellow, so pics of beads don't really show just the Flax color.  Sooo, I decided that it wouldn't be a fabulous color to write up.

I can tell you that it's lovely for what it is - a very, very pale transparent yellow-green.  I used it to enhance the cream color of Hazelnut Mousse in these pink and cream beads. As you can tell, any green that Flax may have when looked at by itself goes away when you use it for layering.  It's really, really light.  I may buy some to use in place of Effetre Light Brown when I need a paler cream color, but that's about the extent of its use for me.

Last but not least, people have been wondering where the beads are lately!  Mostly because I haven't been listing as many of them on my website as I used to. I have been making other beads to sell, but instead of posting them on the website, I have mostly been listing them as auctions on a couple of new Facebook groups.

If you're interested in getting some of my beads for a really great price, join one of the Facebook groups to bid. You will also see lots of other great lampwork artists posting their auctions. Lots of eye candy! My auctions are usually 24 hours long, so if you don't see anything from me, it just means I haven't got any to post that day.

 Lampwork Bead Market Group

Yes, I will still be listing beads on the website - just maybe not as many as before. I will continue to try and do both for awhile and see how that turns out.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!  :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bead Soup Blog Party - Soup Reveal!

I got my bead soup from my partner Kat last week - and she got hers too - so I get to post pictures of them both!

The blog party is in full swing - people have been posting their soup pics over on the facebook page all week long. We have until May to make something from our soups, but in the meantime we are all ooohing and ahhhing over the plethora of color and beauty that is beads.

Kat sent me some wonderful stuff! A gorgeous Russian lace agate pendant bead, along with some agate accents make up the bulk of the soup.  They are nice and chunky - fun to hold. She also included a whole bunch of Vintaj brass stuff - dragonflies and flowers and connectors - even earring hooks and some wire.  Chain and links and filigree and more!

Most of this soup contains elements I have never worked with before, so this will be a challenge for me.  My muse desperately needs a challenge - something to wake her up and get her out of the rut she's been in!

I am not sure what I am going to make, but I imagine I will break out the wire-wrapping tools.  I also want to add some color to this so that the elements stand out.  We'll have to see what I come up with!

Kat sent me these wonderful things to design with!
Kat has also received and blogged about the soup I sent her. For Kat, I made some lampwork beads, of course, in mint green and pink.  I made a large (for me anyway) rectangular focal, and added some floral accents and spacers.

I thought that copper would look really pretty with these springy colors, so I included some copper findings as well as a really pretty copper leaf toggle clasp and some flower connectors.

Of course, you know I had to add in some crystals - I chose cubes and rounds as well as some bicones.

I can't wait to see what Kat makes with all that - her style is so different from mine, I am hoping this is a challenge she will have fun with.

This is what I sent to Kat - I hope she likes it!

Monday, March 24, 2014

I Was Interviewed on Glass Beads Daily!

My bowl of tiny spacers - from 4mm to somewhere around 10mm.
I forgot to post about this on Sunday, but Holly of Glass Beads Daily posted an interview of me, along with pictures, for Space Out Sunday.  It's a fun blog - go check out the interview here!

I love Glass Beads Daily, because we can post our own links there every day, and I get decent traffic when I do.  Holly also puts up a post every day - which amazes me!  I'm lucky if I post once or twice a month on my blog.  Holly rocks!

Monday, March 10, 2014

CiM Glass Testing: 525 Marine Ltd. Run and 425 It Ain't Easy Being Ltd. Run

More teals and greens!  Even though CiM seems to release a lot of these colors, I never get tired of using them, especially together.  Today we have two new colors - an opaque pale green and a transparent teal. Since there are so many of each of those, I am also posting some comparison pics.

Both of these are Limited Runs, like most new CiM colors lately.  I am hoping they do some colors that they will add to the permanent line soon.

First, we have It Ain't Easy Being, which is a play on the phrase Kermit the Frog uses - "it ain't easy being green".  I find the name somewhat odd, since Kermit is vivid green, and this color is really pale.

The closest color to this out there I think is Mint Chip, which is just a tiny bit less blue than It Ain't Easy Being. It's not as grey as some of the other pale greens, making it a nice base for transparent green.  I like that it has less yellow - sometimes you want a pretty, true light green that isn't yellowish, especially this time of year!

It Ain't Easy Being works up nicely.  It's not stiff at all, and doesn't bleed under encasing.  If you use it by itself, it's very light - especially under clear.  In some of these beads, I used It Ain't Easy Being as a base for Effetre Light Emerald Green, and it looks perfect - a nice summery green. It layers well and stays opaque in dots and when encased.

You will notice some striations when you use it as an opaque base, but those are light and muted, so it's not too bad.

It Ain't Easy Being is a good substitute for Mint Chip if you can't find it - they are not exactly the same, but close enough to be interchangeable most of the time.

Next we have another transparent teal color that fits right in with the other teals and blues that CiM has put out over the years - Marine.

Marine is similar to the Mediterranean Ltd. Run that came out last year - but Marine is a bit more vivid and just a hair darker. It's not as green as Tuscan Teal (not pictured), but greener and lighter than Trade Winds.

Marine is not too stiff, but is a bit more finicky than I prefer.  It has a tendency to bleed a little bit when encased, and spreads somewhat when layered in dots. It's not unworkable, though - just needs a bit more attention when using as decoration. The color is so lovely though, that it makes up for the extra attention needed.

In these beads, I layered Marine with Effetre Light Sky Blue - the perfect pairing. The color is a vivid teal that is just on the green side of aqua. I love teals and greens for summer, so Marine made an ideal addition to my ocean color schemes.