Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Beauty of Bullseye- tips, techniques, discovery, design

Hello friends!

I'm excited to write this post because I have lots of things to share. Tips, techniques(maybe these are both the same things lol), discoveries and design. I am always amazed at the things I learn every time I light up my torch and work. I have been working in glass for seven years and most of the time I can't believe it's been that long. What an incredible journey it's been! I never really realize just how much I know about glass until I am telling someone else. Isn't that funny? Well not funny, but you know what I mean. I guess it must be one of those things where when things just come to you naturally you just don't think about how they don't to everyone.

So let's talk a bit about color. As many of you know I have a lustful relationship with Bullseye glass. They produce some of the most saturated and bright colors in pinks purples and the like. Their odd lots are just incredible since their palette is full of amazing colors anyways when they blend some of them together the colors get even more exciting!

Now one of the differences about our lovely Bullseye and 104 soft glass is that bullseye produces opal and transparent glass along with a small selection of opaques. So the thing that sets Bullseye apart from the rest of the glass world is their opals and their colors along with the fact that they are also 90coe, which means that they are only compatible with each other and not compatible with the rest of the 104 glass palette.
Here is an example of the difference between their opal and opaque glass. The blue colored spacer is one of their newer opaques, turquoise while the pink spacer is opal. When made into a bead you wouldn't really realize that the pink is an opal until you get to the glass on a stringer level. When you pull the glass into thin bits you will notice it's opalyness. You can see the difference on the two beads with the dots.

You can see the pink dots on the turquoise bead, but you can definitely tell that the color is more translucent than the turquoise dots on the pink spacer. So when working with these opal colors you need to mind which colors you stack on top of eachother because the base color will show through to the next stacked dot especially when melted into the surface. If the design elements are raised the colors will remain separate.

Here are two more stripe beads with a base of opaque turquoise on both then dots of pink opal on one bead and Tree Frog odd lot on the other. The beads are then encased in clear and then have Tree Frog dots on the pink stripe bead and pink opal dots on the Tree Frog stripe bead.

In this photo you can see how the stringer dots are apparent, but very light. This is the nature of opal glass dots melted into the surface.

Note that when you encase in clear this will dull the color underneath as well. Since pink opal is a beautiful saturated pink it still shows a nice bubble gum color even with a clear encasing :)

If you look at the stripe bead with the Tree Frog stripes you will notice that the color has a dark tint to it. The rod itself is a streaky lime green with brown in it. The darkness of the green you see is from a chemical reaction with the silvery turquoise glass(if you look by the bead hole you can see the dark almost black looking outline around the green stripe) and the fact that the opal Tree Frog is on top of the turquoise glass. This is an example of how some of the underneath color shows through the opal dots on top. Since green and blue are closely related in color they compliment each other when stacked.

These are two spacers made from Tree Frog green that came in the Freaky, Streaky, Striker pack that was sold at the ISGB gathering that was here in Kansas City a few years back. Notice how different the base color looks eventhough these were made from the same rod. This is how streaky odd lot rods are truly amazing in color! You can see that I used the opaque turquoise for dots since they appear more saturated than how the opals look. You can also see that little chemical reaction dark outline around the turquoise dots.

Here you can see glass headpins I made with turquoise as well. You will notice that the left glass drople is more aqua looking and the right one is more of a silvery aqua. Generally with "turquoise" colored glass there are metals that give it, it's color. Sometimes when worked these metals come to the surface leaving a metallic sheen on them like you see on the right.

The way I "fixed" the left headpin was by taking a small amount of "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner on a q-tip and rubbing it on the glass to remove the silvery build up.** You need to use gloves and eye protection while using this cleaner. It is VERY strong and not safe to get on your skin. Use care when using.** After "cleaning" off the silvery stuff with the cleaner I rinse the glass in water and then pat dry. You don't want to let the cleaner sit on the glass long as it WILL ETCH the glass!

You can also see that at the base of the glass the copper metal is very bright. This cleaner is meant to get rid of all of the scale and yuck in your toilet so it's no wonder it works on cleaning metal. Again, this cleaner is VERY strong and it does clean the copper metal to a bright color again, but the color is a matte bright copper. If you desire a cleaner copper, but still keep the shininess of the metal you will need to use this recipe I got from Sarah Moran of Z-Beads.

Vinegar and salt heated in a crockpot (6 oz. of white vinegar and two tablespoons of table salt.)I have not yet tried this recipe as I like to leave the copper headpins with that antiquey look to them.
Here is the very FIRST Bullseye Bead-inside-a-bead-hollow that I have made! I was SO excited about all of the things I learned while making this bead! Ok so first lets talk about that opal layering with color. As you can see on the raked dots(which are pink opal and tree frog green) the stacking of green on top of the pink makes it appear a brownish color. One of the reasons it looks this way is obviously the small amount of brown in the tree frog rod. The other interesting thing is the pink "showing" through the green glass. This is that stacking opals thing I was telling you about above. Why is is brownish?

Well kids, red and green are complimentary(see all of those art classes paid off!) :) When you mix the colors together you get brown. So since pink is a derivative of red and red and green are complimentary so are pink and green. When the two colors are stacked together they "mix" somewhat by the opals not being totally opaque and appear brown. Pretty neato, huh? ;)

Now onto the other interesting things.... Ok so first of all if you have not already worked with Bullseye glass it likes to be HOT and it likes a nice clean oxidizing flame. Through all of my different torches(hot head, Nortel Minor, and my current Carlisle Mini CC) the Mini CC has worked out the best! It is the hottest of the 3 torches, which has brought me to the above conclusion.

While creating this bead everything has to stay HOT. So there is lots and lots of moving your bead all over the place to make sure that the parts you aren't currently working on stay warm. First off I was excited to use Bullseye's color palette to create the bead, second their clear is far superior in clarity to most clears, third the glass retains the heat and there were NO cracks from chilling while making this bead(which is f*ing amazing!). I am SO incredibly happy with the clarity of the clear. Now you will notice some bits of fogginess and some kind of graininess in the above picture. That is the left over water and bits of bead release still inside of the bead(theses suckers are HARD to clean). The bead looks perfectly clean to the naked eye.
Here is another shot of the bead.

Now the last thing i want to talk about is pink opal. I had the WORST time working this glass awhile back. On a hot head the flame is just to gassy(lol. propane) to really work the glass well. On a minor you can work Bullseye better, but on a Mini CC it's a dream. The glass is nice and "soft" with a hotter flame and I have had the best luck with designs.

Awhile back I asked some respected artists for help working this color. I was appaled at their reply. They didn't realize that their negative responses were actually a compliment. So my gift to you is to tell you how to work this amazing pink. After all none of us were master glass bead makers that knew everything when we first started.

Ok so as you may know with hearts you need to do a lot of shaping and Bullseye doesn't like to be cold. So how do you get around this? Warm your tools and keep the glass from getting too cold inbetween shaping. I like to take my graphite marver and quickly and gently warm the top of the paddle in the edge of the flame. DON'T leave your paddle in the flame. Just a gentle glide of the flame over the graphite to warm it a bit for the hot glass.

While shaping you can't let the glass get "tink" cold against the marver. Roll to shape and back into the flame she goes! By "tink" cold I mean that when you work glass like moretti you can literally roll the glass and get it chilled to the point it makes a "tink" noise against the paddle.

Yep, that is all you really need to work this color!

Another tip if you want to press this bead into a lentil mold(or other shapes) I put the top and bottom part of the press on the outside top of my kiln "roof" to warm it. AGAIN USE CARE in doing this. The kiln is HOT! DON'T leave your press on the top for long. Just a quick warming so that the press is warm against the hot glass instead of room temp(which is chilly for me working in the basement!). When you are done pressing the shape, back into the flame to keep it warm again, then into the hot kiln!

Want to see what I made with some of the pretty beads you saw above?
I made this new style necklace using many basic techniques, love and imagination :)
Here is what it looks like worn :D Isn't is SOOOOO pretty?! I am absolutely in LOVE with it!

I hope you learned some things that will help you in your own bead making and designing. Please feel free to ask me ANY questions you might have. I want you to be able to make your very best creations, friend.

Much love,



steufel said...

Wow - thxs for sharing this. And your necklace is really, really pretty!

Genea said...

Thanks so much! Do you work with Bullseye glass? I love your fiber bracelets :)

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