Friday, February 17, 2012

Cim Glass Testing: Let's Talk About Red!

This post is a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in!

Today I am going to review a group of CiM glass colors in the red spectrum - and we'll also hear from guest blogger Kim Affleck!  I asked Kim to help me test one of the reds that I got, because she is really great at striking transparent red, and she agreed.  She has lots to say about this new batch of reds that came in recently.

Red glass in general has properties that are different from other glass colors, and comes with its own set of unique challenges for glassworkers. Most transparent reds are striking colors - they change shade based on temperature and type of flame.  They tend to get brighter as they are cooled and reheated over and over.  However, transparent reds tend to burn very easily and will boil if heated too quickly or for too long.  Opaque reds are notoriously variable from batch to batch, and most of them striate. They also turn black in the flame - so keep that in mind when working together with black glass - you can't often tell them apart until they cool off.

Specifically, we're going to look at some of the brand new reds CiM has released, as well as an older CiM red that I really love.  I'll also talk about a vivid orange.

First up is CiM Valentine, a lovely deep opaque red.  This color can best be compared with some batches of Effetre Purple Red, but as we'll see, they are not exactly alike. Valentine is slightly warmer.

solid spacers
Valentine is a true red, and appropriately named.  It's incredibly saturated in color and looks to have fallen right off the Valentine's Day shelf.

Working with this color was fairly easy - it's a typical opaque red.  It striates a little when used as a base, but not overly much.  It's not too stiff for an opaque, which is nice, because I enjoyed using it as a layering color.  I did end up having a couple of cracking issues when layering this with DH Aether clear, but that could have been user error, in that it only happened on two beads out of a full kiln.  Because red can be temperature sensitive, keep an eye on your heat and don't let the reds cool too quickly.

Valentine makes fantastic stringer when encased with CiM Sangre (covered later) - probably the most gorgeous encased stringer I have ever seen.

If Valentine remains consistent from batch to batch, I am probably going to use it in place of my normal Effetre Purple Red for holiday beads and for basic red in general.  Because I like my reds saturated and deeper, this is a wonderful addition to my color palette.

Below, this first set has Valentine as the opaque red.  Sangre is used in the center bead, layered on the Valentine.
On the set below, Effetre Purple Red is used, by itself on the left bead, and layered with Sangre on the other two.  You can see it is slightly darker and colder than Valentine is. 

Next, we have the new CiM Maraschino - a semi-transparent light bright red, that looks exactly like it sounds.  It's cheerful and youthful - like cherry candy.

Maraschino acts pretty much like any other semi-transparent red glass.  Semi-transparents are different from opals - they carry no opalescent sheen.  They just sometimes opacify in the flame - usually underneath the top layer of transparent glass. Most "transparent" reds that aren't strikers do that.  Unlike striking red, the color in a semi-transparent remains saturated, but sometimes can't be totally seen through.

This is why I really like these types of colors as layering glass only when used with an opaque that is similar in shade.  Semi-transparents can then be used to brighten the opaque and make it really shiny.

These Maraschino spacers turned out to be sometimes transparent and sometimes like an encased bead.  The bead on the upper right looks to be somewhat opaque. What you get seems to be kind of random - I haven't yet figured out the specific temperature or flame environment that causes the opacity to come out in any of these types of reds. I've had similar reactions with Lauscha's transparent reds.

This shade of red was really tough to photograph.  It's so vivid that it threw off the camera, I think.  Red tends to do that, but this specific shade was tougher than most. 

My favorite red in the whole 104 COE line is CiM Sangre.  This is one of CiM's older basic colors, and I find it to be consistently beautiful and easy to use.  It's also a semi-transparent, and is a vivid Christmas red that's very similar in shade to Valentine.  I consider it to be relatively close to Lauscha Cherry Red from way back when. It's the perfect red for me - not too warm and not too cold, on the darker side - like red velvet cake.

Sangre doesn't really strike - it's basically the same intensity, no matter how you work it - as long as you don't burn it out.  It's a wonderful layering glass, in my opinion, but can almost seem like an opaque when you use it as a base by itself. It's not too stiff and doesn't spread or bleed.  None of the reds seemed to bleed at all, and stayed put for the most part on all the beads, even when raked.

Christmas beads and Valentine's beads really stand out when you use Sangre with Valentine - they work very well together. Below, you can see them in one of my latest sets.  The stringer is particularly pretty - Valentine encased with Sangre.
Next in line are two brand new reds that I got even before they were named. They started out as 11.10.9 and 11.10.9s. Now they are known as Crimson and Ruby Slippers respectively.  Both are limited run colors, and Crimson is already available, while Ruby Slippers will come out sometime in April, according to CiM's website.

I am doing these two together for a couple reasons.  First, as many CiM testers have verified, they look to be essentially the same color, even though the formulas are different.  Second, they both have some serious issues that make them unusable for me particularly.  These are also the colors I asked Kim to help me with, and she agrees that they are problematic.

This swatch is of 11.10.9s - Ruby Slippers.  I tried making a swatch of 11.10.9 Crimson, but it shattered every time I put it even near the flame.  I am guessing that's not normal for the color, as Kim was able to work with it without having it shatter.

Both colors are striking red transparents.  They change color when heated, cooled and reheated. 

Here's what Kim had to say about Ruby Slippers:

"This transparent struck easily for me with two strikes.  However, it is really easy to overstrike and gets livery (cloudy brown)

The plain spacer (3rd from right, above) was heated until clear, allowed to cool, then struck, allowed to cool, then struck again.  I got a nice red but there is too much brown in it for my taste.
The encased spacers (far right, above) were worked basically the same way but as you can see - they went VERY cloudy.
The bicone has a core of white, THINLY encased with 9s transparent red, then THINly encased with clear.  Nice red on this one.  it struck well - the uneveness of the red is due to the thickness of the application, rather than any uneveness in striking.
On the florals, I used the darker red for the base of the petals in one bead, and I used white for the base of the petals in the other bead.  I did not get the lovely, velvety red I was looking for and you can see that the red in the lighter flowers has a lot of brown."

As for Crimson, which is not pictured, Kim had this to say:

"It goes livery even easier that the other.  Frankly, it is an ugly red. No point in going any further with it.  It was also a bit more difficult to strike than the other one.  Did not like!  LOL!!"

Now, this is saying a lot, given that Kim is very good at striking red glass!  She regularly uses Effetre Striking Red, which is probably the most comparable to these two shades.

I personally prefer semi-transparent reds to striking reds, so it's likely that I won't purchase either of these.

Last but not least, we have CiM Pimento Ltd Run, a super vivid cool orange-red that can almost be called neon.  It's so freaking bright!  Especially when used as stringer.

Pimento is very saturated.  Like intensely so.  I am shocked by how much color is in this glass.  It overtakes everything!  It's your basic opaque - not too stiff, doesn't bleed, or spread, and is consistent in shade, for the most part.  It pretty much acts like an opaque red in the flame - it turns black when hot and can burn easily.

By itself, I don't find this a very attractive color.  It sits between red and orange and is just not my thing.  However, according to Pantone, this shade of orange is super hot this season, so there you go.  I'm not as fashionable as I thought!

This is one of those colors that seems to get brighter as its thinned out.  Encased stringer made with Pimento and clear is amazingly bright and pretty - a lighter orange.  However, an encased base with this color and clear is almost too dark for my taste.

On the set below, I tried using black and white to temper the sheer brightness of this color, and it worked to a point.  It reminds me a bit of the color of clownfish.  However, even the pic of these beads downplays the brightness of the orange.  Put on sunglasses!

Whew, that was a long one - hope you enjoyed the reviews - and hope your eyes don't hurt! Till next time.... :)


  1. Awesome post Kandice. I can hear your enthusiasm coming through. You made those reds sound edible. Kim did a better job at getting red out of the Ruby Slippers than I did. Mine tests turned very dark and brownish).

  2. FANTASTIC! Thanks so much Kandice for all your testing. x

  3. Thanks Kandice, for this great blog post! I always look forward to reading your testing results and seeing all your gorgeous beads made with the new colours!