Friday, December 5, 2014

Glass Testing: CiM 526 Ice Floe Ltd. Run

This pretty new glass color from Creation is Messy was kind of hard to capture in a pic, because it is very very pale.  Ice Floe is a limited run, which is sad, because it's a wonderful transparent color. There's nothing else like it that I know of in the 104 COE line - it's bluer than Effetre Pale Aqua, and a lot paler and more grey than any of the transparent blues out there.

The rods are a very pale transparent grey-blue, so the color name is really appropriate, here.  It does look like ice. I really liked this color - it's lovely alone, and layers well with opaque blues.

The consistency of Ice Floe is really nice - not too stiff at all.  It also didn't seem to scum or burn easily, which is a plus.  No bleeding or sinking to speak of, so the glass layers well in dots and as encasing.

In the beads below, I layered Ice Floe with CiM Zachary, for a cool, icy light blue that reminded me of frosty mornings.I love this light transparent - we don't have enough pale colors, I think!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Glass Testing: Fritty Bits by Melanie Graham - Blue Jeans

So last time I talked about frit testing, I was less than enamoured with the color I tried. The color I am blogging about today couldn't be more different! 

My muse was actually quite pleased with this frit called Blue Jeans. Made up of lots of pale neutral shades like cream and light blue, plus some medium teal, this frit can be soft or vivid, depending on what you do with it. The grains of glass in this frit are a little smaller, so it was easier for me to work with on my small round beads.

I tried a few things before I really fell in love with it.  Melanie's notes told me that this frit would look good on white, New Violet or Periwinkle, so I tried white first.  It was pretty, but not too exciting. The neutrals faded on the white, so the predominant visible colors were pale blue and teal. Not bad, but not enough to really draw me in.

Next I tried a light purple - in this case, Effetre Light Lavender Blue - which is similar to the New Violet that Melanie suggested. The effect was much prettier to me, because I love teal with purple, and this combo really brought out the teal. However, all the neutrals really faded away on this bead, and I am not sure why.  Maybe I didn't roll enough frit on.
Base is plain Effetre White

So I thought to myself - if light purple looks this nice, maybe a darker purple shade would look even better.  And I was right!

My final step was to roll the frit onto CiM Lapis, which is a deeper cool purple with similar reactive properties to New Violet and most of the other opaque dark purples out there. These kinds of dense opaque purples tend to striate and help other colors spread out - and the effect is usually really pretty.

I really loved the way Blue Jeans looked on CiM Lapis, so I made a bunch of round beads with  just a thick layer of this frit, and clear scrollwork on top to magnify the colors. You can still see the sweet light blue and just a tiny hint of the creamy shade, but the predominant color that comes out is the teal.  It's a wonderful complement to the purple.
Base is CiM Lapis, scrolls are Double Helix Aether clear.

Top - Effetre Light Lavender Blue base.
Next, I decided to make a couple more cubes just to see the effect, and I liked it.  I used the Lapis as encased stringer to frame the cubes and accent the purple.

The only thing I might change with this frit is to add even more of the teal - it's really pretty.

I find myself wanting to buy more of this - and that's a huge surprise to me.  I never thought I would like frit so much.  :)

I have two more colors to test, but I am not sure which one I will try first. We'll see!  :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Glass Testing: CiM 617 Trapeze Ltd. Run

Seems like CiM loves lavender! Creation is Messy has come out with at least half a dozen of these color-shifting lavender shades - each one just slightly different from the next.  All are lovely - and Trapeze is no exception. It's slightly darker (just a tiny bit) than Jellyfish, which is the lavender that was out before this one.  Other than that, I see very little difference between Trapeze and the other lavenders out there.

Plain and whiteheart
I am sure if you put them all side by side (Trapeze, Jellyfish, Count Von Count, Larkspur, Tranquility and even Purple Haze) you could see a few tiny differences in shade and maybe even a little bit of variation when it comes to the color-shifting properties in regular light versus fluorescents or halogens. But separately, you'd have a hard time telling the difference between any of these and their Effetre counterpart - the original 081 Dark Lavender.

I'm not complaining, though - don't get me wrong.  I LOVE all the lavender.  It's sometimes hard to find, and usually expensive.  So the more variations on this color, the better, I think.

Now, as far as Trapeze is concerned, I found this glass to be pretty much the same as Jellyfish when it comes to working it. Maybe a little less scummy on the rod.  Work cooler to avoid the bubbling or burning, and it melts like butter.  Trapeze has a nice, even tone, and looks wonderful layered over any opaque purple.

As usual, lavender glass turns lighter greyish blue under fluorescent lighting, vivid lavender in the sun, and pinkish lavender under incandescent lights.  Trapeze does this, but not quite as much as the Effetre or the Jellyfish. 

Enjoy the purple! :)

Trapeze is layered over CiM Lapis in some of these beads.

Trapeze looks gorgeous over Effetre Light Lavender Blue opaque.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Glass Testing: Fritty Bits by Melanie Graham - Jabberwock

Who knew I would be testing frits?  Not me!  :) 

A couple of months ago I was approached by fellow glass artist Melanie Graham (Mind Melt Blog and Melanie Grahamn Studios).  She asked if I would be interested in testing her new frit line Fritty Bits (available on her website and on Etsy)

Melanie knew what most people who are familiar with my work know - I don't use a lot of frit in my beads.  I mean, next to none. Other than making stringer out of crushed aventurine, the last time I used frit was probably 8-10 years ago. Her question was - is it because I hate frit, or because there isn't a great deal of frit available in my preferred coe or color lines? 

The answer to that question is that there are a combination of reasons, some of which are artistic and some of which are more technical. I'll go into that later in this post.

I wasn't sure if I would be the best person for the job - mostly because of my inexperience with frit, and because I wasn't sure that my reviewing it would give her what she needs.  However, after discussing it, we agreed that having someone new-ish to frit test her product might be beneficial, and I think would help bring a more objective view of it to the blog.

Ultimately, Melanie and I agreed that I would test a few of her frits on a trial basis and see how that goes before testing more.

The first thing you should know about Fritty Bits is that it's all 104 COE and tested for compatability. That's a big deal for me, because one reason I stayed away from a lot of the other frit blends out there is because they incorporated other COEs, and I was always afraid of cracking. 

Now on to the tough stuff.  The majority of my opinions about frit in general are artistic in nature. That means that they are mostly based on my own personal preferences and my own creative voice.  It doesn't mean at all that I think others will have the same opinions - and it doesn't mean that I hope to dissuade anyone from trying any frit and judging for themselves what they like.  I hope that makes sense. :)

Now onto specifics!  Melanie sent me four frit blends to try, and I will be reviewing the first one in this post.

Jabberwock is the name of the frit blend that I picked to try first - mostly because it's autumn
and I thought the colors looked pretty seasonal.  And let's face it - the name is intriguing. Something named after a weird monster in a nonsensical poem just calls out to be tried. :)

This frit is a blend of greens and browns and mauves, made up of transparent and opaque glass, some of which is a tad reactive.

Because I am not a frit expert, I wasn't sure what to expect, other than what Melanie wrote in the notes she sent with the package - that Jabberwock was pretty on White or Opal Yellow bases, and could strike when worked.

So basically, I was just flying by the seat of my pants!  :)

The grain of this frit is pretty small, I think - which is good because I work small. I started with a small base bead of white and lightly rolled it in the frit and melted in.  Some of the pieces were too large (for me anyway) so they didn't stick to the bead.  I used tweezers to manually stick pieces where I liked.

Here's where we come to the biggest reason I don't use frit a lot - it's visually chaotic. I'm the kind of artist who loves order - symmetry and precision are a hallmark of my designs.  Color harmony and crispness are things I really like. I very rarely use organic, random design and color in my beads - which is just a personal preference.  I typically am not drawn to a chaotic, random color arrangement, and the more colors I see, the more chaotic it looks to me.The random nature of the shapes and sizes of the grains is also visually unappealing to me, usually.

When testing, I tried to ignore that and just focus on the technical aspect of the frit - does it work as intended?  Yes, I think so.

One thing about this frit (and I think most frits will have this issue, because of the sharp edges in the glass) is that it can cause a little scumming or bubbling when encased.  It's not that noticable, especially when you manipulate it, but I am picky about such things.

Here are some pics of my test beads, and some more info about each bead.

L-R 1.Opal Yellow base, not encased, twisted. 2. White base, twisted. 3. Periwinkle base, encased. 4. White base, raked, encased. 5. White base, encased.
The first test I did was just the frit on an Effetre White base, encased.   The clear I used for encasing was DH Aether (which is reactive to silver glass). The first thing I noticed was that the colors are very subtle, except for the deep oxblood brown shade, which strikes darker and with a blue tinge when worked. I was not fond of this in just a plain bead without any manipulation.

I then did two more beads with white bases, and did twisting on one and raking on the other.  The raked bead was most appealing to me, as the colors blended a little and reacted with the DH Aether somewhat.

The most reaction came when I rolled the frit onto an Opal Yellow base and then twisted the spots. The frit spreads a little on Opal Yellow. The Periwinkle based bead also reacted a little but with darker lines around the frit spots.

To be honest, I would probably not use this frit in my designs, because I find the colors a bit muddy, and I don't really like the interplay of the deep opaque and the softer transparents. But again, that is a matter of personal preference. I am sure there are lots of beadmakers who could really make this color blend sing!  The sample beads on the Etsy page for Jabberwock are quite nice.

I will test the rest of the colors Melanie sent and do a review of each one separately.
Next up is Blue Jeans!

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