Alchemistress :: COE 104 Glass Testing :: Blog

Alchemistress :: COE 104 Glass Testing :: Blog. The Studio, May 2015
The Alchemistress Studio, May 2015. Melbourne, Australia. 

My blog contains testing notes, photographs of glass, beads, mini tutorials and links to my quick Instagram videos showing the properties of COE104 soda-lime glass. I test glass that I work with in my studio, some of the glass I test are colours that have been around for a long while or old batches. The aim of this blog is for me to keep track of what testing I have done for myself. It is not intended to be a complete resource for all types of soda lime glass or to test the latest colours. I’m a busy person so the blog gets written in the limited free time that I have. I am by no means a glass expert, I am sharing my personal notes and you can use my advice at your discretion. There will be colour recipes and tutorials on how to get certain effects buried within the glass testing notes, but be mindful of my set up. You may not get the same results.  I enjoy testing the properties of glass as much as I like creating beads and I love to share information in the spirit of supporting the glass bead making community, both in my home country of Australia and around the world.

Huge 2in lentil beads made with a combination of Double Helix, CiM and Effetre glass.

Most of my notes are handwritten into little books and on scraps of paper, so I don’t have accompanying photos. After a while I found this method of keeping data really hard to follow and that is why I started this blog. Once I post glass testing notes, they are not static. As I discover new things about the glass, I will go back and make amendments or add photographs with new information. This means that my blog is ever evolving and it should, because glass batches do differ. I started writing this blog in 2015 and there isn’t a huge amount of information up because of how much time I devote to my full time teaching job. It will slowly be updated, as I have the time to take photos of test beads, make new beads and upload my notations. When I have used tools or presses in a design on a bead, I will try and explain or link to the exact tool. Some of my tools are “found objects” and some are modified for my purposes. As links go out of date, I will try and update them.

I have included a section of my blog devoted to setting up a studio either as the first time or as an upgrade. The information in this section is purely based on my experience of setting up two small studios for personal use. The information given in this blog is advice only, I’m not an expert and I’ve never set up a teaching studio with multiple torches. I personally like to work within my means, having said that, in the last few years I’ve been able to afford better equipment and a lot more glass.

Alchemistress :: COE 104 Glass Testing :: Blog :: Desi Rentos
These beads are a mixture of fine silver leaf and wire, Effetre and CiM glass. To get an understanding of size, the middle bead is the same length and thickness as a cigarette.

I used to work on a Nortel Minor Bench Burner that is connected to a 10Lpm Commercial Oxygen Concentrator and a regular BBQ gas bottle from my studio in Richmond, Victoria (Australia). I have recently purchased a Nortel Mega Minor Burner and from December 2016 onward, all of my testing will be done using this torch. I work only with Soda Lime Glass in COE104, fine silver and sometimes I will use 96COE frit or rod, this means that most of my testing is done on 104 glass. For ten years I batch annealed my beads, however, as of December 2016 all of my beads will be flame to kiln annealed in a Paragon kiln.

My testing is primarily done on 104 COE glass, my favourite brands are Lauscha, Creation is Messy, Vetrofond, Effetre, and Double Helix glass.  I do have notes on Reichenbach 104 and 96 glass as well. I will sometimes mention commercial frit brands in my testing if I have used them on a bead in a photograph. Most of my Creation is Messy glass comes from the first melts the company ever did, the batches are dated to late 2006 and early 2007. I sell this glass in my etsy shop along with my beads and jewellery. I started making beads in 2006 after getting up the courage to jump in and give it a go, like most people I had a basic introductory lesson and am primarily self taught. I feel like I’ll never know everything about soda-lime glass. Since I have an inquisitive mind, I want to know everything that I can possibly know, so I will also never be satisfied.

Copyright Desi Rentos, 2015
The extent I go to test a rod of colour includes effects and techniques. Encased in different brands of clear and against different base colours such as light and dark opaques and transparents.

I live in Melbourne, Australia; which is a really nice place to live, but its so far away from the action in the glass world. Being so far away means that I don’t have access to all the latest colours and innovations. Specifically, living in Australia means that I can’t test the latest colours immediately, in fact I sometimes can’t even get my hands on the new colours at all, they’re sold out well before I can afford them. This is the global economy and that’s life. In my blog posts, I try to compare older batches to new batches of the same colour glass when I can.

Thank you for reading my blog, it means a lot to me that in the short time I’ve had it online that artists have found it very useful and have encouraged me to keep going. This blog is for me, but its also for you. I hope I am able to inspire you to create something new or get you to think differently about glass that you already have in your stash.

You can contact me on my facebook page:


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