Jelly Opal effect under encasement
This was one of those rods that I didn’t really know what I was going to get. I had narrowed it down to being some sort of superlustre or possible Hyperion variant. Its not a Hyperion variant, the colours it produces are very different and it can react like a superlustre but it’s not exactly that either. I really can’t describe this reduction glass, it doesn’t seem to do what I think its going to do and each time I try to replicate something I get a different reaction!
The very first test I did was to make a little round spacer bead on Hades, lightly reduced which I encased with Effetre Clear to see what sort of glass I was working with. And it is glorious! I got a purple Paua shell reaction which shifted to olive green that reflects electric blue metallic lustres. Oh wow! Wow! WOW! I was rapt, now here was a glass I could easily fall in love with. Then, try as I could… I could NOT replicate that effect when encased again (probably a good idea, I only have one rod and I would have sold a kidney for another half pound of it). I have an idea of how I achieved this Paua shell look, but for whatever reason my glass-fu was off and I wasn’t able to achieve that exact effect again. Cx.a is a reduction glass, and it likes to be cold. That means your base bead has to be cold when layering Cx.a over the top. The whole bead has to be cold before reducing, it should be really cold before you encase and you should not apply white hot encasing glass. Cold… geddit? Cross your eyes, bite your tongue and don’t breathe if you want that Paua shell look, because for the life of me, I could not replicate it in a larger bead and I cracked plenty trying to do so.
Cx.a falls into two broad colour reaction categories when encased. It effects blue, purple and green mix (with or without lustre) when used on dark transparents and CiM Hades (probably all blacks). Then there is the jelly opal effect (some lustre, some colour shifting, some ghosting, just like jelly opal) which occurs on pale transparents and clear glass. Whilst this is a reduction glass, reduction on the surface of the bead did not produce a lustre, instead I got a dull metallic gold look which fumed anything not encased in the flame (doesn’t appear to have fumed anything in the kiln). This glass looks better encased from what I see in my tests.
The jelly opal effect occurs when Cx.a is layered over a pale transparent or clear glass, then reduced and encased again. I tested this out in a few different ways on this bead to the right after noticing it when encasing dots on another bead. What you can’t see in the picture is the core of this bead, it is Vetrofond Medium Topaz Transparent. There is a layer of Cx.a dots melted in on this core of Topaz, I gave it a light reduce and then encased in Effetre Clear. I got a really nice greenish purple jelly opal look on these dots. I then did another layer of dots on the Effetre Clear, melted flat, light reduce and encased. This layer of dots went pale coral to yellow with a dark outer ring where the glass reacted with the clear. Okay, not as pretty as the first layer but still cool. The bead was shaped into a bicone using a graphite marver.
Then I did a row of dots on the clear surface, melted flat, reduced and then topped off with a raised dot of Effetre clear. This layer gave me the jelly opal droplets, whichever way you turn the bead, the colour shifts in the dot. Very pretty, some of them even have a bit of lustre and some have hazing. The lustre ones were properly cold before reducing and the hazing ones were slightly warmer. Finally, I did tiny dots of Cx.a on the surface of both the Hades caps and the clear and heavily reduced. Hades instantly fumed picking up an oilslick appearance, but the reduced dots did nothing special. So I heavily reduced them again and got more fuming on the Hades. Now the dots took on a completely dull metal appearance. There is no discernible kiln strike on this bead and there was no striking once the glass was encased. I reduced it enough after encasing it and I did not see any difference.
If you’re like me and the sight of jelly opal beads doesn’t really excite you but shiny purpley blue stuff does, then I’ll explain how I got the reaction on these beads pictured to the right. I’ll start with the tapered barrel because I know exactly how that happened. I created the centre of this bead first using a layer of Effetre Striking Orange, (you can see what I was thinking can’t you?). I let this get cold (I stuck it in the ventilation shaft to really chill the bead) then I wrapped Cx.a around the centre, spot heated and did a few twists. I gently heated and marvered smooth. I very gently heated this bead up, rotated it out of the flame until I was sure it was cold (back in vent) whilst I heated a gather of Lauscha clear. Right before I encased I did a bit of juggling and turned up my propane, really LONG yellow cones and just grazed the bead through the top of this flame, I mean… no more than 2 seconds per side. The moment I saw a reaction I pulled the bead out. I had my gather ready, warm but not hot and did a sloppy around the world encasement, marvering it out smooth. I then capped the ends in CiM Hades and shaped in a CGBeads beadroller. So that is how I got the purple to olive green effect, when you rotate that long barrel bead you can see the a purplish-blue lustre shining through the layers of purple glass. Keep your encasement on the cool side, hot encasing pushes the reaction from deep purple to light purple with olive green undertones.
Q. Why does the tapered barrel bead look different to the little blue spacer bead?
A. Because of the different colour underneath Cx.a and the brand of clear glass to encase with.
Here’s the deal, Cx.a reacts to Lauscha clear. It reacts by fuming the clear glass yellowish brown when used over the top of it it. When used underneath a Lauscha encasing it just looks “fuzzier”. So I made another bead because I thought part of the problem of not getting that superb Paua shell look was what I was encasing Cx.a with. The photo below is a mini tutorial which explains the reactions to heat and clear glass. Sorry the photo of the bead isn’t as bright as I would like it to be, but I prefer to photograph in natural light where possible, even when it’s overcast.
Overall I think Cx.a is awesome, if you have it in your stash you’re in for a bit of a wild ride with it. Although hopefully this blog at least narrowed down some possibilities, so you know exactly how to achieve the colours you want with it. It absolutely hated CiM Simply Berry, it just turned a muddy brown on top of it. So my guess is, it’s going to do that on any dark purple glass and probably any pink glass. I’ve run out of the rod to test that hunch. I adored how it looked over Striking Orange, and I think I got more of that lustre effect when I encased with Effetre Clear, it likes it on the cool side although there is great potential for using this glass with the “storming” technique by Amy Kinsch. As far as I can tell, this glass must be struck in the flame. I took before and after firing photos and I can’t see much kiln strike.