When I originally began this blog post in November 2015 I had no idea that it was going to get so big and difficult to navigate. I had no idea that I would write so much on the testing phases. I had no idea that 2016 was going to be one of those years that I didn’t have much time to devote to glass bead making. One thing that consistently annoyed me was just how big and cumbersome this particular blog post had become. A full year later, as a way of cleaning my mind and my studio; I have split the blog posts up. In the process, I have updated them all with further information I discovered throughout the year and I have also taken the time to update process areas that felt vague. Each rod of glass tested now appears in its own blog post. You can bookmark this post to navigate to them through the links below. This testing was an adventure for me, being only a somewhat user of Double Helix glass, a full year later and I am now a thorough devotee.
– December, 2016
Most generously, Natalie Monkivitch of Beadmonki Lampwork gave me one rod from every bundle in her 2015 Double Helix Garage Box as a gift last December. I didn’t want the gift to go to waste, languishing on a shelf and never using the glass because I didn’t know what to expect from it. I know I’m not the only glass artist who feels that sometimes glass is too precious to use, so I began to test and write up my findings. I am very slowly working my way through doing the testing on all the Double Helix glass I have. I thought I would begin by tackling the pile of rods that Natalie gave me as a start. I think I was overly ambitious.
At the time I began this blog post it was the end of the 2015 Australian school year and as a VCE English and Sociology teacher, I have my work cut out. Additionally, it is summer and my studio can reach 50c (122f) with the torch and kiln on. So the blog posts have been slow to update. This blog post will be updated each time I have done the testing for one of the colours in my lot of sample rods. As I have gone on, I’ve found this original blog post become far too long and unwieldy and this post is a contents page.
The 2015 Double Helix Garage Box glass (Batch 1) I have for testing:
I have included my research (educated guesses) into what the variants could be. The tested glass now links to its own page, rather than following on from this main blog. Click the links to open up to more information.
Ek.a – possible Ekho variant (tested)
Op.6 – Ossa prototype variant (tested)
Te.a – possible Ekho variant
Be.a – Lavender lustre variant (tested)
Oc.c – Opaque earthtone striking/lustre test batch
Cl/Oda – Fast and easy reduction glass (light) (tested)
Ae.a – Aether variant
Cl/Dk.a – Fast and easy reduction glass (dark) (tested)
To.b – Thallo variant, probably a paler version (tested)
Cc.b – Unknown code, possible reduction glass. (utter guess)
Sk2.a – test batches for a purple/blue based striking colour (tested)
Sk.d – test batches for a purple based striking colour
Oo.a – reduction colour (tested)
Cx.a – Hyperion variant?? superluster (tested)
This particular blog post is only devoted to the garage box glass from 2015. I do not have every combination that was sent out with the DH garage box. So if you have glass that is not listed here, but would like to replicate my formula to make your own test beads I explain my process below. Feburary 2015 Edit: I have received another generous load of rods for testing as another Aussie lampworker sent me one of everything in her stash and they are different to this stash! So I’ll have another blog post out with “batch 2” glass information.
Apart from DH Terra (all types), ASK Silver Cinnamon, DH Triton and Reichenbach reduction glasses I am not a big user of “silver glass”, it is not that I don’t like it. I really like everyone else’s beads made with silver glass, I think my beads are not particularly exciting when I use it. So I haven’t done a lot of experimenting with it. The samples so generously sent to me as a gift is such good motivation to get some experience up and pass on some knowledge. I’m being very thorough in this testing, because that is how I learn best and this is way outside of my comfort zone. Going through my stash last night I discovered that I have a few bundles of some test colours from Double Helix that looks like they were produced in 2013 that I haven’t touched. I’ll devote another blog post to those colours in the future and link back to Double Helix’s records of their glass. Enough of that though, on to the important information.
The base glass brands and colours used in the testing:
CiM Simply Berry (2007 batch)
CiM Hades (2007 batch)
Effetre Black (unknown batch)
Vetrofond Black (unknown batch)
Effetre Crystal Clear (2014 batch)
Vetrofond Pale Transparent Green [PTG] (unknown batch year)
Vetrofond Transparent Orange
Lauscha Superclear (2007 batch)
For the purpose of testing I am doing the following, dark transparent base, light transparent base, encased, not encased. I will also photograph any non test beads and explain what glass has been used in combination. By keeping my base colours systematic I should be able to do some comparisons and demonstrate if the glass does anything different if exposed to more or less heat, longer striking/reducing times, etc.
I will make a note with each photograph what the glass used in the test was, so that if you want to replicate the reaction you can reliably do so. I have chosen these particular colours as I know that they are good backgrounds to test Double Helix glass on and because I think that I often play it safe if I’m making beads because I want them to sell and fund my glass addiction.
Overview – Kiln Information
Bear in mind I do not go “flame to kiln” with my beads, I batch anneal. Based on testing my kiln, some of the DH garage glass does not strike in my kiln and some of the glass has had a small amount of striking from the kiln. Therefore, what you must keep in mind is that the colours I get are predominantly from flame striking. Garage times will impact your finished colour. If you are garaging for very long periods of time, certain glass will need to be used in your torch session toward the end because it kiln strikes easily. I explain if the glass is quick or easy to strike in the flame as I go through each rod. If your beads are changing colour dramatically after coming out of the kiln this blog post may help troubleshoot some of the problems.
I decided that I would use a few different base colours to test the silver glass with and I chose some that were traditional and some that are a little out of the box. A dark transparent (CiM Simply Berry) a light transparent (Vetrofond Pale Transparent Green or Transparent Orange). For my own bead making I also use a dark opaque (CiM Hades, Vetrofond Black, Effetre Black) and a light opaque (Effetre Dark Ivory), but sometimes I have used other colours and that will be noted. I don’t test all the colours on all the different bases, I try enough to get an understanding of how the glass works. I have used Effetre Pastel white for some of the testing, but mostly what I’ve discovered is that its not great for some types of Double Helix glass because it does not produce enough depth for reflection. Therefore it is rare you will see a test bead with Effetre Pastel White as the base, although you will see some with Dark Ivory as the base.
Edit: December 2016 – Throughout the testing it has become clear to me that CiM blacks react differently to Effetre and Vetrofond blacks, my guess is that Reichenbach Black will also create effects. I have been clear in my testing where I have used what black and why.
I encase with either Effetre Crystal Clear or Lauscha Superclear, the reason for the switch up is because I read that different brands of clear can actually impact the final colour reaction of some Double Helix glass. For instance I have read (and seen) that in some cases there is difference between Aether and Zephyr encasements for some Double Helix glass. When I do the garage testing for Aether I will make two beads up, one encased with Aether and one with Effetre Clear and Lauscha Clear with a non garage box glass, probably Triton to show you the comparative differences. As I don’t always use Aether or Zephyr for encasing and I don’t want to limit the tests to having this glass I am relying on “staple” clear glass that everyone can get their hands on.
Edit: December 2016 – I now know that Lauscha superclear does some funky things to Double Helix glass and I have made it really clear throughout how it effects each of the colours. What really interests me is how you can completely change the quality of a particular rod of glass simply by encasing with Lauscha. It opens up a door into another realm of bead decorating.
I am not the best photographer. I photograph my beads as well as I can but often, the photos are sometimes not clear, which means I have to go back and do them again. I spend a long time taking photographs, but one thing I am clear on there is no photo manipulation, I crop photos and upload as they are. All photos used on this blog look true to the colour of the bead. I try to photograph in natural light always and where that isn’t possible I have identified what the lighting conditions are.
Photography of the glass will sometimes demonstrate before kiln and after kiln shots of test beads. I also have some videos on beads that showed remarkable kiln strike or change after annealing or just beads that I think have had a really good reaction. I link to the videos on my Instagram account, through the blog. So if you see a link in the blog you can click it to access a video of the bead. The video quality is not bad and you can tell a lot more than from a static photograph.
Thanks for reading my blog, please bookmark or check back regularly as the Double Helix blogs get updated irregularly.