EK.A (possibly a variant of Ekho, but I’m not really sure)
Smoke Wisp Effects
My expectations for this glass were not particularly high. I have no idea what the code was for, as I couldn’t find a point of connection from research on the Double Helix website. My assumption is that its a variant or test batch similar to Ekho, but I didn’t really get anything that looked like Ekho based on the stock images on the DH website. The codes for the test glass of Ekho range from OK to TE. So far I haven’t found a point of reference for Ek codes. Not knowing what I had, I didn’t know if it was going to be a “good” looking silver glass or a “meh” looking silver glass. (Please note, good and meh are purely subjective measurements.) Turns out, this is a good looking glass that melts like butter and is very easy to get effects from it. I think this glass is one of those that you can reduce and strike, because of the way I work I find that I’m always striking glass after I have reduced it. I know that in order to get the wispy smokey effect under encasement that a light reduction with a moderate amount of striking is necessary.
Double Helix says on its website about Ekho that the glass likes to be “worked hot, cool reduce and encase”, you can think of Ek.a in a similar vein as it responds well to this advice. I worked one bead with very cool encasing and one bead with hot encasing. The reaction was prettier on the cooler bead. It’s a beautiful ethereal glass and when encased looks like captured coloured smoke, love it. So, get Ek.a glass hot, and spread it on your cool base bead, let it cool a lot, then reduce and then encase with gentle heat. If you’re a bit wobbly with holding your bead out of the flame, as you encase you will gently strike the bead as well. This is not a bad thing at all, but be mindful not to overheat and push the reaction along too far. If you use white hot glass to encase, you will push the reaction along to yellow, if you want a wispy colour reaction, cool and slow. If you want a vibrant purple pink (depending on your base colour) white hot glass to encase over CiM Simply Berry (you can sandwich Ek.a between two layers of clear if you want).
The middle one is encased in Effetre, the other two are encased in Lauscha. I think the difference in colours comes down to how I encased. I had to get the Effetre really hot to create a good encasement (my batch is very stiff), however Lauscha melts like butter and doesn’t need a lot of heat.
Ek.a changes colour depending on what is used underneath it. When I used Simply Berry as the base bead Ek.a developed an even purple-ish blue tonality with a tiny bit of opalescence (I mean tiny, just here and there little patches, you may be able to see it in the photo to the left). When I used Vetrofond Pale Transparent Green, I got more of the yellow, blue green smokey look with a hint of opalescence floating around the bead – lovely effect. I think Ek.a looks best on a transparent background if encasing, perhaps because I’m particular to the wispy smokey effect. These three beads were not “sandwiched” between clear glass. I did more testing in 2016 and found that if you place a layer of clear over your base colour you can keep a lot more of the opalescent effect after encasing instead of the wispy effect.
Important to note, this is a colour that kiln strikes very easily. It also strikes very quickly in the flame, work it very cool and slow and let the colour develop in your kiln if you have a long garage time. In my kiln, the test beads for Ek.a did develop a more colour, so I have learned to only just strike it and let my kiln do the rest. Like Ekho, you can encase this colour and strike it further when encased. I overstruck Ek.a and again, wow, the difference between the base colours. It stayed a greenish colour on Simply Berry and went all the way to butter yellow on Vetrofond PTG, see the long photo above.
Pop Ek.a over transparent orange glass (it will look pinker if you encase the trans orange glass in clear first), encase in Ek.a and bam, this colour goes hot pink. I didn’t have trans orange, I’d run out. I used Ek.a over CiM Clockwork and it has some hot pink tones but CiM Clockwork is too opaque for that really awesome hot pink effect. (Photo has been updated, I’ve run out of glass to do another bead testing it over Striking Orange, but you get the idea. It works well over orange toned glass.) I’d like to try it over something like an amber or peach transparent to see if that gives me pink as well. Ek.a is a seriously good, versatile glass. If you managed to get some in your stash, hoard it. If you didn’t get any, maybe arrange a swap with a generous person for something that they don’t have.
Lastly Ek.a has a lovely reduction effect if not encased, it mirrors up beautifully. The flowers on this bead have been layered over Effetre Dark Ivory. I heavily reduced it without encasing and I got a gold reflective surface on the first pass. The second pass of reduction caused raised sections to turn a reflective salmon pink. Super gorgeous. I wish I had more of this colour.