I’ve been in the studio a lot over the past week, testing all of the new Reichenbach colors that I ordered. So many of them are VERY nice! Still, their product line for lampworkers does come with a bit of frustration. First, be careful with the Eco White. This white is lead free, which is great because it also happens to be a nice dense white. HOWEVER, I’ve had nothing but problems when I’ve tried to encase it. Every single bead where Eco White was used as core has resulted in cracks. Not stress like cracks, thermal cracks. Sort of like what happens when you encase some of the 104 Kuglar colors, like Silver Rattan. If you have Eco White in your studio, be very careful. Inspect your finished bead very well and I suggest waiting at least a week before list the bead because sometimes the crack doesn’t show up for several days. I plan to write OCR sometime this weekend to see if they can help. Believe me, I’ve tried every annealing cycle that I can think of and the ECO White continues to crack. (If you are a customer, please don’t worry. . .I haven’t shipped or sold any beads with Eco-W). Here’s a lovely bead that I lost to EW, just this morning. . .My heart is broken. I cried and gave it a nice eulogy before chucking it in the trash. Two and a half hours wasted but at least I have a pretty picture.
Before moving on to the singing of Reichenbach’s praises, I need to give you another word of warning if you are new to this glass. Stay away from Reichenbach Crystal. It’s seedy, runny and every bit as painful to work with as Moretti clear. Plus, if you work in a propane rich flame, it will go metalic on you in a hot nanosecond. Uroboros has a very nice 96 clear but I don’t recommend it either as I’ve lost many beads where I’ve mixed Uroboros and Reichenbach. So, what’s the answer? I struggled with this and then remembered that Gaffer now has a US distribution facility. I ordered some of their clear. The customer service was impeccable, they shipped my clear the same day that I ordered it and it arrived quickly. I sweating bullets until the Fed-Ex guy showed up because I could barely wait to test it. I worried that I would be about to try yet another painful clear glass that wouldn’t work. Oh how wrong I was to worry. . .Gaffer Clear is AWESOME! Not only is it seedless and crystal clear, it seems to really like Reichenbach glass which is no surprise since Gaffer makes a lot of dense furnace cane just like Reichenbach. Way to go Gaffer!!!
Now for Reichenbach. . .I must sing a song of praise to this company for the highly chromatic colors that they offer. Without them, I wouldn’t not be able to make beads like the ones shown below. Much testing had to be done in order to figure out the advantages and disadvantages of every single color that I now have in my inventory. Devit and pitting is very common with their glass which I’m sure has everything to do with the amount of metal that’s used in their dense cane. I still find that overall, the glass is worth the extra trouble.
Of all of the beads that I’ve made this week, “Floral Bouquet” is my favorite. It features two different types of floral murrini. It was a frustrating process because one little wrong shift of the wrist as the murrini is being applied can smear the the would-be flower into an unrecognizable mess. Embedding other elements close to the murrini can cause distortion too. This bead, although lovely, it testament of the latter. I think I can do better, still but it’s going to take more practice and much mental note taking as I get to better know the process of the application. Still having a great time in the interim, although it doesn’t pay so well. This statement isn’t related to the cost of this particular bead. It’s related to the many days that I spent making glass beads that I wouldn’t show if my life depended on it. Based on the bead offerings that I have in my store on any given day, you’d never know I work so hard. . .Studio hours are normally a minimum of eight and I am in it a minimum of 6 days per week. 25% of my beads get sold as first quality, 20% are sold as orphans and 55% end up dunked in the water jar. I suppose I could go back to working strictly in 104 glass, but I think I might end up bored stiff. Although all of this trial and error is not lucrative in monetary terms, it sure fills my artistic soul with pleasure.
Here are a few more beads that survived this week’s studio sessions. . .
Well, I’m late for a very important torch date. . .Hope you all have pleasant weekend!