Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crazy for Color - Odd Lots and More

Beadmakers. Have we all gone insane? When it comes to glass color, I would say - yep. We’re nuts. Dangle a newly-released rod color in front of us and we salivate.

I think it all started when Effetre released their Handmade line back when I first started making beads, a little over five years ago. All of a sudden there were these new colors out - most of them opaque - that looked completely different than any other glass out there. At least to my newbie eyes they did.

Some rods were giant, some were teeny, some were even cone-shaped. And because they were all handpulled at the factory, instead of pulled by machines, we could see all the different batches and had fun picking our favorites.

We all drooled over the new Opaque Purple, which turned out to be a nightmare for some, earning it the name Evil Devitrifying Purple (EDP). Gorgeous, but eeeeeevil. I probably won’t have it reviewed here on Coloraddiction, because I am……EDP challenged.

We got excited by Copper Green and the dark version of Teal transparent. We saw a bunch of new opaque pinks, some of which were….weird (Tongue, Powder). We marveled at the new violets and the Sage and Avocado greens. We wondered what the heck Effetre was thinking when they named their new dark pine green transparent “Dark Sage”.

At that same time, we also saw Effetre’s coolest mistake ever. The enigmatic and hard to find Streaky Pink. Effetre just thought they made a crappy batch of their Dark Pink 256 (or was it Light Pink 260?)….but no. That glass was seriously cool, at least in my opinion, and led to the Streaky Pink craze, where beadmakers were buying and selling this glass online for several hundred dollars a pound - sometimes even more. I admit to falling prey to its siren’s call over and over again. I even became known online as the Queen of Pink – and probably other, less attractive names – when I began showing all my pink beads to everyone. People thought I was crazy to pay what I did for an opaque pale pink shade. But what I did with it turned out to be quite nice – if I do say so myself.

I think it was that one glass color that brought on the Odd Lot Insanity we see now in the glass market. Mistakes made by glass manufacturers are now called Odd Lots - and they have discovered that we beadmakers are defenseless against the temptation of buying every single Odd Lot out there.

One glass company, Vetrofond, has pretty much become Odd Lot Central to us. They release a new Odd Lot practically every hour. And the colors are becoming more and more complex and dare I say….freaking cool.

They started with Coral 420 (how many batches are there of that – 20 or so?) and worked their way through to some really interesting tri-color and organic shades.

To keep up with the insanity of us beadmakers, we have seen a surge of new glass companies starting up that specialize in their own new color formulas. Since I started in the lampwork field, I have seen Vetrofond start their Odd Lots, Double Helix (which specializes in handmade silver glass colors), Creation is Messy (CiM), ASK 104 (a partnering of Arrow Springs and Kugler), Precision aka R4 (which was primarily a borosilicate maker, but is coming out with 104 coe silver glass) and more. All these makers create soft glass in the 104 range, and are adding new colors to their line all the time.

There’s just so much more out there, choosing glass is almost confusing, and a whole lot more exhilerating than it used to be. We beadmakers are eating it up. Just look at the bidding wars on ebay that happen when a rare color goes up for sale. We often stalk the smaller glass makers’ websites for brand new colors, and we buy them out of stock as soon as we possibly can. We bug the larger vendors on a constant basis about when we can expect whatever new color that has been previewed. They can barely keep up with our demand. Frantz Art Glass now has a newsletter dedicated almost completely to new colors. We’re just out of our minds. But we’re happy about it!

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