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.

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