CiM Simply Berry or simply boring? Simply Berry is a transparent purple-ish red that is an exact colour match for the flesh of ripe blood plum fruit, or claret, or port-wine jelly. Well okay then, still not excited? It is completely unique to the COE104 glass colour range, there are Effetre colours close to it, but nothing exactly like it. So its important to know that it cannot be substituted and it’s impossible to hand blend a colour similar to it. Its a dense purple that looks pretty good against green, blue, tan/brown and grey glass and is right at home next to the CiM range of pinks, any pink really; it just works with pink. Simply Berry is a staple in the CiM range of glass colours and whilst it’s not particularly exciting, its a nice colour to have on hand.
At first Simply Berry appears to be one of those really intense purples that will look black if used all on its own, but it’s not at all like Effetre transparent purple or red toned glass. Effetre transparent purple and red glass seems to have a blue or brown undertone to it. Whereas CiM Simply Berry has a pink undertone, which probably accounts for why it is one of the more expensive transparent purple-ish colours. This means that when you layer it or pull it into stringer, you’re not going to get glass that fades out to lilac or bluish grey, it will stay a purpleish red colour. This also means that it can be used more frequently for dot design over darker colours than other really intense transparent purples because it doesn’t look black.
Simply Berry has a light transmission quality about it that means it doesn’t look bad at all when used all by itself in a spacer bead, it doesn’t look too dark or black, it looks just like it does in the rod. Its also looks great etched. Simply Berry is one of those transparent glass colours that looks good all by itself when pressed into a shape because of how it refracts light. The rods are stiff compared to other CiM colours, but not as stiff as transparent rods in other brands. Simply Berry prefers the cooler temperature ranges of your torch so that it doesn’t bubble up in the flame. It shows its berry colours best when layered over something lighter than itself.
However, Simply Berry is a changeable colour, it looks really different depending on what it is layered over. Over lighter opaques (I tried it over CiM Rose Quartz and Effetre Pastel White) and encased in clear it washes out a little and has a raspberry purple tone to it. I layered dots of Simply Berry over CiM French Blue and encased in clear and the result is that it looks very close to Effetre Dark Premium Violet (trans). Layering it over blue or green opaque glass makes for interesting colour combos. Its handy to know that Simply Berry washes out to a pinkish purple colour when layered and striped over pale opaques as that will make a difference to encased stringers.
When I used Simply Berry over Effetre Anice White I noticed a few things, firstly Simply Berry wants to bleed over it and secondly it develops a dark reaction line. In fact, when super heating Simply Berry and Effetre Anice White I got some interesting curdling reactions that looked as if Simply Berry was trying to web out over the Anice, I really didn’t expect that. I had similar curdling reactions with Effetre Ivory. Simply Berry when used in your own home made frit is pretty dark, so use it sparingly in blends. The odd thing about Simply Berry is that when I used it as stringer design it didn’t seem all that dark. I decided that it looked better when it was used to encase a pale opaque colour for stringer design. I also prefer it layered over Effetre Ivory rather than white, the colour just looks better to me for flower petals and dots.
Equal parts CiM Simply Berry mixed with CiM Cirrus, yielded a gorgeous soft dreamy purple colour. It did take a really long time to get the two colours blended properly, so be prepared to hand mix for a while before pulling stringers. There was a portion of stringer that wasn’t blended together completely and that gave a gorgeous wispy plum smoke effect, so there is a reward for being lazy. I also decided to mix equal parts Simply Berry with CiM Peacock Green, which proved interesting, mostly because Simply Berry completely took over and I ended up with a stringer that sort of looks like CiM Crocus. (Pic at bottom of this blog post with the bead made with the “crocus” stringer.)
So with all of that in mind, I thought that there might be something about Simply Berry that makes it a bit more special than just another pretty transparent purple glass. I broke out the Double Helix silver glass and started experimenting and what I found is those silver glass colours which have an original rod colour of dark purple, blue or tan brown react very nicely when layered on top of Simply Berry. Depending on the type of glass (striking or reducing) the reaction lends itself to the purple-blue range of colours of the silver reaction, probably because the transparent berry undertone is filtering through the silver glass layer.
It’s a different sort of reaction when comparing silver glass layered over opaque black glass or lighter coloured transparents or even Effetre purple transparent glass. My post here about my DH experiments talks more about the specific colours used with CiM Simply Berry.
CiM Simply Berry is a good all rounder. Its a smooth melting yet, fairly stiff transparent glass that is the perfect “port wine” colour. It works really well as a base colour for “raku” frit and can be encased deeply with no problems. Its a dependable colour and a good one to have on hand if you’re looking for a purple plum colour that works with pink glass.
I have a working relationship with CiM Celadon, the kind where I’m always working with it. It has a really strong place in my preferred colour scheme. Its a gorgeous opaque sea green that sits very nicely in the Effetre blue green colour palette. To me, it is a shade lighter than Effetre Light Turquoise in the rod, although they look different when melted. It’s not a soft or particularly stiff glass, it does hold heat well, so it makes it a good base for long beads and sculptural work. More than likely everyone has a bit of CiM Celadon in their stash, it has been around since the first release in 2006 and is still available. All of the Messy glass colours have cool associations with their names and Celadon is no different. The name “Celadon” is traditionally associated with a type of soft sea green glaze that originated from China and has become highly prized pottery from the dynasties it was produced in. Which, I think is a very nice nod to the heritage of the colour and the country Messy Glass is manufactured in.
Celadon rods like to be heated up properly at the top of your flame before introducing it lower as it will ping and crack if thrust too quickly into heat. Which is a good clue about the glass, heat transforms Celadon a lot. Celadon striates when used as a base bead. Celadon dot decoration does not striate. With careful, gentle heating; Celadon dark striation lines can be minimised, instead what appears can be best described as a “mottled” effect. To minimise the dark striations and to achieve the mottled effect; Celadon requires a slow, cool and even heating and to apply all your glass at once. So melt a big gather and resist the temptation to make the bead larger by adding more glass. Repeatedly heating and cooling Celadon in the formation of a bead, such as using marvers, brass presses and forming trays and then blasting the bead with heat will develop striations. If Celadon is heated rapidly whilst actually forming the bead, then that too will cause it to develop these striations. If the bead was created in concentric wraps you will develop extremely dark concentric lines around, which can actually be used as part of the design (see picture above). Forming a bead with Celadon wraps mean that as the glass melts and moves together a dark striation line will form where the wraps meet in the centre. These dark lines can then be dragged into patterns like stringer design. So this is something to keep in mind when you want to create a base bead with Celadon, it will create striations if you add more glass on top of it.
Celadon is highly reactive with a lot of other glass. When I say highly, I mean that it produces effects when used in conjunction with just about everything other than transparent glass. Celadon over Effetre Dark Ivory develops a dark reaction line. Cooking Celadon into Dark Ivory will produce a brown webbing where the two colours meet. I don’t particularly like this effect, but I do think Dark Ivory and Celadon look good together so I lay down a dot footprint of clear glass so Celadon does not react. Dark Ivory over Celadon produces the same dark smokey reaction line. Most opaque glass laid over the top of Celadon will develop a reaction line or colour separation lines. What I mean by colour separation is the effect that occurs when opaque glass is wound over the top of a Celadon base. The opaque glass wound over the top will split into a lighter and darker version of itself. If it is a dot melted flat, a dark ring appears in the centre of your dot. If it is stringer decoration melted flat, a dark line down the centre of the stringer or a separation of dark and light colours occur. The key part is melting that dot or line flat over Celadon to get the colour separation.
Looking at the two barrel beads in the image, both of these have been made with a tube base of Celadon and then concentric circular wraps. In addition to building the bead in wraps I also heated and cooled both beads rapidly to pull out the darkest striations possible in Celadon, as I wanted to use this effect as part of the finished design. Then I wrapped a thick ring of Effetre glass around the centre of each barrel bead and melted in. The centre wrap in the bottom barrel bead is Effetre Dark Violet. Where it met the Celadon it separated into three distinct colours. A fumed line at the outer edge, a thin dark reaction line and the actual Dark Violet colour in the centre. Three distinct colour separations was unusual and a really nice surprise. I hadn’t put these two colours together before. I reduced the bead lightly to bring more of the shine out on the Dark Violet. The bead looks more complicated than it is and I like the colour separation effect a lot. It’s handy to know that any glass with a high metal content in it is going to fume where it separates over Celadon. The barrel bead at the top has a wrap of CiM Glacier, not that you would be able to tell because Glacier has separated into a pale lilac middle band and an even paler lilac outer band. It doesn’t particularly look like Glacier, more like a pale baby blue. Again there is that slightly darker reaction line where the two colours separated, but it is not as intense as it appears with Dark Violet.
Contrast these barrel beads to the round beads. The larger bead has a base of CiM Glacier and the blue is much more true to the rod (it’s peeking out from behind the geometric dots). Layering Celadon on top of Glacier gave a tiny colour separation reaction, but that is hidden thanks to Reichenbach Raspberry layered over the top. There is very little colour separation between Reichenbach glass and Celadon that I can tell. In some of the darker pinks you can see a slight fading at the edge of dots and stringer, but that is only if they’re really melted in flat. I’ve tried with a few different colours, it seems that Reichenbach glass just doesn’t react much with Celadon. The smaller bead is made the same way except the base is Effetre Pale Lavender and the dots are encased in CiM Cirrus, which has transformed and washed out Celadon quite a bit.
Going back to Reichenbach. I particularly like to use “Raku” frit and I was a bit annoyed by an unexpected reaction when I encased Celadon in Effetre Kelp. Looking at the picture shows an example of how quickly Reichenbach “Raku” frit burned out on Celadon when encased with Kelp. I blast heat my Raku, chill it, encase and I can watch Raku bloom, but that method needs to be done with care because Raku can turn muddy quickly on Celadon. I was so annoyed by the effect that I stopped making the bead, which is a shame because Kelp over Celadon is really pretty and helps fade out the striation lines. The end is a wrap of CiM Pumpkin. Oh well, I think if I want to use this colour combination I will have to be more gentle with my heating of Raku onto Celadon.
I have noticed a propensity for Celadon to cause slight devit lines around transparent glass dots and lines that have been worked too long and hot. Because most colour separates on top of Celadon, my guess is transparent glass does too, only it’s not very noticeable. Its only noticeable when the edges of a design start to devitrify with prolonged heating. This happens very noticeably with Cirrus, less noticeably Halong Bay, and even less noticeably with Effetre transparents, so it could be something about these moonstone glasses that does it.
Etch Celadon. (Ha! That sounds like an order, but really… do it sometimes). Etched Celadon becomes a soft dreamy matte green. I did a test after 30 seconds in Etchall Liquid Etch and Celadon had etched just enough to give it a soft colour but not completely lose it’s shine. About the two minute mark Celadon becomes matte. Etched Celadon also strikingly resembles unreduced Effetre Copper Green (or Copper Red Green), so if you like that colour but don’t want to use a more expensive type of glass try etching your bead and masking what you don’t want etched. When etched it looks even closer to the pottery glaze it is named for.
Celadon can be encased, despite popular belief that it cannot. I have encased it successfully with Effetre Super Clear, Effetre Clear, various Effetre transparents, CiM Halong Bay and CiM Cirrus. However, there is a limit to how much Celadon can be encased by Cirrus and Halong Bay, it does not like to be deeply encased in these colours. I have had no problems deeply encasing Celadon in Effetre Super Clear. I have linear encased it with plenty of coloured transparents and have not had an issue with cracking. Celadon holds a lot of heat and it takes a while for the surface to go solid enough for encasing without distortion. Take this into account if you want to encase a large bead, do it in sections and roll heat through periodically.
Lastly, if you reduce Celadon, a metallic red lustre appears on the surface of the bead, it is a very dramatic and a very quick shift in the flame if your chemistry is right. Gentle reduction will give you a shiny ruby red. By gentle I mean turn up the flame to a mostly long blue reducing flame and roll your bead through the top. Then watch the surface of the bead metallise in the flame, take it out as soon as you see the bead do that and you will be rewarded with a very ruby red, shiny bead. If there are some bits not quite reduced, only reduce those sections. A heavy reduction will give you a more dull copper red (see little spacer bead in photo), this occurs if you reduce your bead several times or for a very long period of time (over a few minutes). I have a video showing the difference between Effetre Red Copper Green and Celadon, these beads are all worked for the same time, in the same flame, on the same mandrel. I feel that I’m absolutely terrible at getting Effetre Red Copper Green to get an effect out of, but that doesn’t matter because I don’t actually like the red webbing effect! Lastly, this video shows you the ruby red encased bead in the photo. You can also mask sections of your celadon bead with clear and then reduce for a marvellous southwest style bead.
Celadon is a staple colour for me, I think I rely on it far too much. I use it together with Effetre Dark Turquoise and CiM Ginger in a frit blend because of how the colours look and react together. Its such a good looking combo with anything pink, that I find I pass over Effetre Turquoise a lot in preference of Celadon.
I have been wanting to write up the testing notes for Cirrus for a while now, but I didn’t have any beads on hand made with the colour. CiM Cirrus was an on release glass in 2006 when Creation is Messy first began crafting COE104 rods for lampworkers. Back then it was very exciting to have a glass like Cirrus; a true moonstone glass. I don’t recall another glass like it at the time, Vetrofond Silk was perhaps the closest. After all these years, I am still in love with Cirrus. Even though it is a glass that is mostly overlooked these days, I hope you will find renewed delight in its simplicity after reading through these testing notes. This is a longer than usual testing blog post as I go into a lot of detail about how Cirrus is used and what it can be used for.
There is a very fine blog on Cirrus written for the Frantz Newsletter in 2009. This is a good start but the secrets to Cirrus are beyond this starting point. As this blog suggests; Cirrus is a translucent cloudy glass. Unlike other cloudy glasses that only reflect the present colour back, Cirrus reflects a blue tint (depending on the light it can throw peach tints as well) in addition to its milky whiteness, just like moonstone. This is very useful for making beads as it adds depth to your existing colour palette. I use Cirrus a lot in place of clear glass. Instead of encasing with clear, I will encase with Cirrus for a soft dream like bead. It is particularly beautiful when used in small amounts over dots, as the blue translucence catches the light and adds depth in a new way. I cannot say that Cirrus always lightens opaque colours when used over the top, that is greatly determined by the depth of the encasement, how it’s left to melt in and if you managed to keep the moonstone effect. What I can say is, that a simple three colour palette using Cirrus becomes more, as layering Cirrus can achieve different tones in your opaque glass.
It is possible to burn Cirrus. In fact, I find it very easy to scum if dropped too low in my flame or heated too quickly. You must definitely work Cirrus cool otherwise it will develop dark striations on the surface of the glass. On my Minor, I found the best working zone to melt Cirrus is the upper part of the middle heat zone. The best zone to keep Cirrus warm whilst decorating is about a half inch up (this is also where you should be applying Cirrus stringer decoration). If you work in those zones Cirrus will keep it’s moonstone effect. It is very important not to overheat Cirrus, do not zap it quickly in very high heat, even if you don’t get the black scum developing you will burn it out to clear. You can resurrect some of it’s moonstone effect by letting it cool right down and heating it gently in a reduction rich blue flame, but it’s not always salvageable and the bead might just look like a slightly blue clear glass. The best way to get a strong moonstone effect is to work cold and build the bead up in layers, basically think of it as “encasing” Cirrus with layers of itself.
Cirrus responds to being cooled down outside of the flame then reduction striking (long blue flame by turning up your propane) as a means of drawing out more of it’s cloudiness. Although a great deal of that is determined by how you heated the bead in the first place. One of my tricks to getting a very moonstone looking bead is to create a small base bead, working it cold and slow to maintain as much of the cloudy blue colour as I can, then I encase the Cirrus base bead with Cirrus and gently melt in. I will do this as many times as I need to get the bead to the size I want, rather than melting a big gather.
I’m not particularly scientific but I think what is happening by building up a bead like this; is that the optic quality of Cirrus is increased through reflection as each encased layer is reflected through all the other layers. Cirrus will also look cloudier the longer and slower you work it, so if you’re beavering away on a complex surface design, expect your Cirrus bead to look very hazy and translucent by the time you’re finished.
To my mind, the best thing about Cirrus isn’t when it’s used as a base bead. For me, Cirrus is like valuable paint. You can mix it with other opaque colours to radically change those opaques into semi translucent versions of themselves. I hand blend a lot of stringer so that I can get new colours for beads and one of my tricks has been to use Cirrus as a modifier. A long time ago Vetrofond produced a colour called Silk, it is very similar to Cirrus but without the moonstone appearance. Sadly, Silk is no longer in production and I used to use it for all my blending. Cirrus replaced Silk for me to an extent. My particular favourite is to blend 60% Cirrus with 40% Effetre Dark Turquoise in the flame and pull a thick stringer. I adore how Dark Turquoise takes on a new dimension, it’s not quite opaque anymore nor is it a transparent. For the purpose of this blog I decided to blend Cirrus with Effetre Sunny Mango and the result was the same as for Dark Turquoise, a new colour that wasn’t quite opaque and not quite transparent. Once you get started blending Cirrus with opaque colours you can’t stop (at least I can’t). However a word of advice on the blending, err on the side of caution when mixing Cirrus with any orange and yellow glass. I found with the Sunny Mango blend that the stringer wanted to bubble up and scum in the flame, although the bubbles aren’t visible in the finished bead. Also, a 50/50 mix is a good starting point, but if you want more ethereal “smokey” colours add more Cirrus and pull your stringer out with the blend just mixed in. Streaky stringer leaves a wonderful “coloured smoke” appearance. If you check out my Instagram feed you will see video of the stringer pulled with Effetre Dark Tuquoise and Cirrus and Effetre Sunny Mango and Cirrus.
This sort of translucent “milk” glass has always had compatibility issues no matter who manufactures it. Vetrofond Silk had a lot of incompatibility issues, which is why they created “Silk 2” and now neither glass is for sale. Cirrus is the same, I’m still discovering what it can and won’t work with, every time new glass is released. The biggest issue occurs with Effetre Opaque White and CiM Celadon. Absolutely under no circumstances should you use Effetre Opaque White with Cirrus. Just don’t. Not even as a layer underneath another layer of glass. My habit is to use Effetre White as a core for really big beads and I get incompatibility cracks all too often when I pick up a rod of Cirrus to encase with instead of clear. It will incompatibility crack either in the flame or days later depending on how little or much you’ve used. I’ve had beads go into the kiln fine and come out with incompatibility cracks. I’ve spent a few hours making beads today so that you can see how they crack when used with Effetre Opaque White, check the photos. Another incompatibility test is Cirrus and CiM Celadon, but here’s the thing; this combination doesn’t always crack. There seems to be no problem when Celadon dots are encased or when Celadon is thinly encased in Cirrus. The problems arise with deep encasement. You can clearly see a colour shift in Celadon encased in Cirrus. If the colour washes out to pale blue green, its too deeply encased and your bead will crack. If the colour stays a more true sea green, it’s thinly encased and your bead will not crack. Unless you can linear encase evenly, do not encase Celadon in Cirrus, there will be trauma and I think it is Celadon that is the culprit.
Perhaps the last secret with Cirrus is the best. On dark opaque glass (particularly Effetre purples) trails of Cirrus melted in will spread out and look just like water has been spattered over watercolour paint. To my mind it is such a cool effect, that this alone makes Cirrus a useful colour to have on hand. (See the photo above). I use this trick a lot in my beads and you can be guaranteed that somewhere in the background of an sgraffito design is a generous smattering of Cirrus. I have a few favourites that I like to do this with particularly and in a later blog post I will create a “cheat sheet” of watercolour effect for Cirrus. Like Peacock Green, Cirrus does not etch very well and you can use it as a “mask” to bring out certain effects. This is particularly good if you have blended it with another colour and created stringer or dot decoration but want the base bead etched.
Cirrus looks surprisingly good when stamped or pressed into faceted beads. Cirrus works well with Thompson Enamels, although I find they tend to sit on top and not melt in but that could be because I work Cirrus beads fairly cool. Cirrus is a spreading glass, this is evident by the watercolour effect but it’s also really handy to know for creating dot bead effects. The usefulness of a soft “almost transparent” glass is that you can use it as an intermediate layer to push dots into geometric patterns easily. It’s also helpful in maintaining lines between your dots. Sure you can use Effetre clear to do that, but why would you not mix it up a bit with a cloudy transparent glass?
Cirrus is good for pushing dots around in layered bead effects. It is particularly useful as most transparent glass is very stiff and does not want to move across a base bead enough to merge into geometric dot patterns. Cirrus creates subtle colour shifting and colour changes when layered over colours. Its helpful in creating depth in dots because of it’s nature to reflect a blue tint, so it looks excellent on purple, blue and green glass. The bubble dot bead in the picture is a base of Effetre Lavender, dots of CiM Celadon, dots of Reichenbach Raspberry (96), Dots of CiM Cirrus over the top. The dots melted and moved into a geometric position with the final layer of Cirrus. Some of my Cirrus dot placement is not perfect and it has overlapped the Reichenbach Raspberry and Celadon causing a bit of a colour merge between those two colours and a colour shift; Celadon appears lighter. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve with your beads, you might welcome that Cirrus is a good blender or colour shifter and use it to great effect in your own glass beads.
Edit: I’ve been asked to explain the beads in the cover photo that I don’t mention in this blog. The middle bead with the over twisted swirls is a blend of CiM Cirrus and Effetre Pearl Grey pulled into stringer than used as decoration. The big bead with the “belly” is encased in Cirrus, but I overheated it and burned out the lovely moonstone colour. The unfortunate thing with this bead is that I had a central core of Effetre White and it incompatibility cracked in the kiln. I repaired it back in the flame, but the same thing happened; incompatibility cracks. This is how I know that Effetre White and CiM Cirrus do not mix even when layered under another colour.
So there you have it, all the reasons why I think Cirrus is a remarkable addition to the lampworking colour palette.
My batch of CiM Glacier is so old, that some of the rods have the original tag name for it; “Blue Slate”. Although CiM went on to produce a different glass with a similar name (Blue Steel), which is an altogether different colour. Glacier is a solid cool pastel blue, that is soft and buttery to melt in the flame. I’ve never had it ping or crack even without pre-warming the end of a rod. Its a very forgiving glass as it is hard to burn and holds heat deep in its core, which makes it a good base for finicky designs.
I’ll confess that I’ve only recently fallen in love with Glacier, I thought it was such a “blah” colour for a long time. I didn’t think how this particular shade of non reactive, non streaky, just very plain blue was anything special. I was so very wrong. I’ve gone from hardly using Glacier to spending the last six months constantly using it.
Glacier completely loses any of it’s streakiness (not that my batches have much streakiness to them at all) when heated over a long period of time. It’s a very solid soft pastel blue colour that etches to perfection. (Yeah, I am in love with this glass). Glacier looks better etched. It is nice when it’s glossy, but the soft blue it becomes when etched is very hard to resist.
The beauty of CiM Glacier is in how well it mixes with Effetre pastels. When Glacier is superheated and swirled with Effetre Dark Ivory it still maintained it’s density and didn’t spread out as I expected a soft glass would. I had to really twist and twirl the two colours together to get some reaction. When superheating where Glacier and Ivory meet there is some frazzling, caramelising and mixing of the two colours. Although, if you do not superheat, you can keep a very sharp line between Glacier and any other opaque glass. I’ve personally fallen in love with the blend of Ivory, Glacier, Avocado and Copper Green.
When you pair Glacier with Effetre Violet Pastel a slight watercolour reaction occurs. Glacier will seep out over Violet Pastel in a way that looks remarkably like water paints. Moreover, Glacier in thin trails or stringer takes on a more lavender hue. It took me far too long to work this out, because I had pulled a bunch of Glacier stringer once and left them sitting in a jar with the purple stringers because I’d completely stopped paying attention that day. Much later I grabbed one of these “lavender” stringers and used them with Effetre Violet Pastel then when I was asked to repeat a bead, I couldn’t figure out what glass I’d used.
So, I went looking for a “lavender” glass that was giving me those lovely watercolour reactions and didn’t find one. If you look at the beads in the last photo, this is the reaction I’m talking about. A very thin layering of Glacier will look like pale lavender glass. Be mindful of this if you want blue trails or a slender tube bead to look more blue, you’re better off using a blue like CiM Zachary or CiM French Blue that doesn’t colour change when used in small quantities. Only recently did I put Glacier and Violet Pastel together again and there was the magic. I’ve gotten the same (but less intense) effect of layering Glacier stringer over other Effetre pastel purples and on CiM Gelly’s Sty as well. Etch the watercolour reaction sometime, it’s worth doing. Etching pulls out some striations.
However, CiM Cirrus and CiM Glacier do not play well together when Cirrus is used as a stringer design over Glacier, it will always devitrify. I haven’t noticed any other colours doing that over Glacier, it could be a quirk with Cirrus. It bears more investigation.
Glacier is a dependable blue that has a few little tricks waiting for you to discover. It fits so well with other soft muted colours and works equally well with fiery reds and yellows. It is a must have colour for your stash because it is so versatile.
Canyon De Chelly was in the original line up of colours launched by Creation is Messy in 2006 and is still in primary production today. My batch of Canyon De Chelly dates from 2006. The rods for this glass are a smooth greyish-green to brownish green depending on the batch and the light (natural light seems to bring out more of the brown tones). Each batch varies a little, with some interesting concentric circles of different colours through the middle. The most interesting thing about this glass is the array of bruised pastel colours that will show up if you work the glass just right. Canyon De Chelly is named after the mystic canyons in the USA where the Navajo resided for thousands of years. Just like these great canyons, the glass is as changeable as the rocks that soar up hundreds of feet into the sky.
You can trick a variety of colours out with careful heating and cooling and Canyon De Chelly will reward you with a range of pastel tones, rather than the sandy brown colour it’s most known for. The method for tricking out Canyon De Chelly’s colours reminds me of the technique used with Reichenbach Iris Orange Raku R-108 (“Raku” for short) to make it pop. In one sense I think of Canyon De Chelly as a striking glass (because it can kiln strike a little) in another sense, when I’m working this glass in the flame I treat it as if it is Raku’s little brother.
The colours are not as intense as Raku but they are very pretty in their own right and a lot nicer than the brownish tones most people like this glass for.
Here are my tips for pulling the soft pastel “bruise” colours out of Canyon De Chelly. If you want to make these beads and you do not batch anneal, make them at the end of your torch session so that your beads are not soaking too long. Canyon De Chelly will strike all the way to it’s golden sand brown colour if the beads are sitting too long at a high holding temperature. You will lose the colours you’ve developed in the flame.
1. Get used to working slowly and out near the top of your flame if you want the bruised pastel colours. (This means you should be working about two inches above your normal working zone).
2. Don’t melt a big gather of this glass to make a bead. Apply slow even heat to the end of the rod and wind the glass on to the mandrel. (A big hot gather will strike to a rich ochre brown)
2. Any shaping and melting should take place in the top part of your flame. You’re working this glass cool and slow, if you bring it down to melt hot and fast you will strike it all the way to brown.
3. Once the bead is the size and shape that you want, bring it down into the middle part of the flame (where you normally work) and heat it all evenly. You want the glass to glow red, from a slow deep heating. Do not get it molten.
4. When the bead is glowing red all over (for a good sized round bead this will take about a minute), move the bead out of the flame completely, rotate the glass in cool air (This is also a good time to use any shaping tools). As it cools the bead should go white, you may think you’ve burned all the colour out, but you haven’t.
5. Slowly introduce your bead to the flame, green, then blue, then purple will develop (in that order) first. To get this colour range you don’t need much heat. To stop the reaction and to develop brighter purples, greens and blues, touch the glass to something cold. A brass marver is good. If you like those colours, flame anneal way out at the tip of your flame ,if you are batch annealing to stop the strike. If you’re going straight to kiln, don’t let this bead sit too long before going into an annealing cycle. (The brighter you can get the colour in the flame the richer the colour will be after finishing in the kiln).
6. Keep heating if you want the darker grey purple tones and light caramel tones, if you go this far and touch your bead to brass or cold graphite you will pull back some of the paler blue, green and purple tones.
Other interesting things to note with Canyon De Chelly is that you can layer dots of it on top of itself and you will see a variation (as if they were two different glasses). You may also get a thin black line around, for some reason this glass when merged with itself develops striations. It’s not exactly black, it’s looks almost like a transparent vein (see heart beads).
Also if you heat up a gather with intense heat and dot it onto your existing bead Canyon De Chelly will go a rich cocoa brown (see the very tip of the big heart bead for the colour reference). Hades and other dominant dark pastel colours like to spread out over the top (see lentil bead for reference).
My Kiln Firing Temperature
My kiln has a ramp up schedule of 5.5 degrees celsius a minute (330C an hour), holding at 45 minutes at 535 degrees celsius (995F) before ramping down at 3.5C a minute (210C an hour). I do run my kiln slightly hotter than normal firing temperatures because I mostly make very big beads. For Canyon De Chelly you may want to run your kiln to 505C (940F) to keep as much of the bright colour developed in the flame.
Lastly, Canyon De Chelly is a soft glass (it doesn’t need long to etch) even after it has been correctly annealed it is prone to chipping. When cleaning bead holes out with a Dremel the glass will chip at the edges of the hole if not careful, so go slow if using a Dremel or electric tool to clean out the bead holes. I’ve only ever seen this chipping happen with Lauscha White Kryolith and Canyon De Chelly, it’s a sign that this glass is very soft.
Update: I was reminded recently that Canyon De Chelly is another one of those CiM glasses that does not like to be encased. Canyon De Chelly dots layered in trans glass for petals and such is fine, I haven’t noticed any cracks doing that.
CiM Peacock Green has changed in colour since it’s first introduction as part of the original Messy Glass range. My batch comes from 2006. I don’t have any new batches of Peacock Green, but I have given some of my rods to friends who have shown me the stark difference via photographs. Older batches are very light emerald green, newer batches have more blue toning. These photos all show beads made with old batches. However both batches perform the same in the flame. The only difference is the slight shift in hue.
Its really hard to photograph the true colour of this glass. These beads are solid Peacock Green and shift their opacity depending on the light. Peacock Green will become more opaque with prolonged heating. It doesn’t become a “solid” colour.
I heated these beads up for a long time to see if it did. Instead it will get darker in hue and opacify to look like jelly (it really reminds me of Apple Lime Jello). If you want it to look as it does in the rod, work it in the cool part of your flame and don’t let it get too hot.
Peacock Green is easy to devitrify if pulled into stringers and used as surface decoration. It also doesn’t like to be thickly encased. Encased stringers always scum up unless you’re really careful not to overheat. Deeply encased Peacock Green has developed cracks for me time and time again. So perhaps don’t risk encasing it in clear. However it is really great to encase with. Peacock Green picks up the silver in glass and reacts in an awesome way, it turns yellow! Dot decoration seems to glow when used in minute amounts when left raised. When melted in flat whatever it covers develops soft pastel tones. Effetre Turquoise under Peacock Green and melted flat is a pretty effect.
Peacock Green doesn’t etch with Etchall liquid etch. All the beads photographed here have been etched. The top two photographs show the same beads that had been left in Etchall for 15 minutes, and there is no change to the glass at all. Probably a great trick if you want an etched bead but you don’t want the surface decoration etched. Peacock Green is a stiff glass and the rod needs warming in the top of your flame before use. Surface decoration won’t run or bleed on it, in fact, surface glass decoration doesn’t spread much at all, so it’s great for keeping crisp edges on designs. Its a unique colour to the 104 range of glasses and is one of my favourites because of it’s juicy green colour.
As for the beads in the very top two pictures. The reaction you can see in the Effetre Dark Turquoise is because it is layered over Reichenbach Opal Raspberry Opaque (96COE) R-65. There is a very slight reaction between the R-65 and the Peacock Green, producing a tiny dark line around the dots. Although there is no reaction between R-65 and Peacock Green.
Peacock Green has a reputation as being a tricky glass that is flawed and incompatible with just about everything. Some of this is true, but it doesn’t completely deserve the bad reputation it gets. There are plenty of brands that have 104 glass colours that can’t be encased, Peacock Green is one. If you use this colour for a base bead it is a stable surface for dot decorations, with every brand of glass on the market. If you use it as surface decoration (dots and stringer – 10% rule) then incompatibility will not be an issue. I have blended Peacock Green (30%) with Effetre Pea Green (70%) and created a stable blended colour that is lovely to use as stringer decoration.
I got very excited when CiM Hades first came onto the market in 2006. Vetrofond Black (which is better than Effetre Black because it is more dense) was hard to come by in Australia. CiM Hades promised to have the density of Vetrofond Black, be in endless supply and easier to source. I wasn’t let down when I received it. I love this particular black if I am using it as a base bead, or to cap the ends of a long bead. It is a “soft” glass, which holds onto heat for a long time. I don’t Hades so much when pulled into stringer and used as decoration. When in stringer form the colour is still dense, but Hades spreads and won’t keep its crisp edges when layered over opaque glass and heated for prolonged periods. It is the nature of Hades to be a soft spreading black. At its best, it makes for a really excellent black to cap a design off, or as the base of a design. At its worst, it becomes a hard to handle mess. Depending on your overall design, the characteristics of Hades could be disastrous or really cool.
One thing that a lot of artists have noticed is that Hades can be reduced. This is true, but trying to reduce Hades on its own takes a massive amount of reduction for quite a decent length of time to get it to reduce. I tested this out recently and it took a good three minutes in a heavy reduction flame to get Hades to reduce. When it does reduce it looks like a faintly metallic oil slick has spread across the surface of the bead. When I used Hades with Double Helix glass and reduced the bead, I found that the Hades sections fumed and reduced much more easily, with more pronounced oil slick effects. Hades fumes in the presence of some Turquoise glass and anything with silver in it. Again, depending on your overall bead design, this could be really annoying or freakin’ awesome. Personally I don’t mind this about Hades, but rest assured reduction on Hades doesn’t happen easily and is more likely to happen with a glass that has heavy silver content in it, which is understandable.
I really like working with Hades to cap the ends of a bead design (for that block ended by black look) or as a base for organic silver designs with fine silver. When fine silver wire is wrapped around Hades and reduced the wire gets a matte halo effect around the blobs. When fine silver leaf is added to Hades and reduced a range of metallic oil slick colours will bloom. Intense heat reduction will produce the “sandy” matte colours, metallic blue develops at mid range heat blending into a metallic sea green hue. Lastly a purple sheen will show if you hold your tongue right and flash your bead very gently at the edge of a reduction flame. Very thin leaf does some beautiful cloudy blue effects. Thick leaf or foil will produce intense metallic patches. Some of these reduction silver leaf colours will shift depending on the light, the angle you hold the bead at or how much you have reduced the beads. (The photos show the same beads in different lighting and at different angles.)
For these particular beads pictured below; I trailed Reichenbach Iris Violet over the top. When Iris Violet is lightly reduced it will get a silvery gold sheen. If Iris Violet is heavily reduced it will turn an oil-slick metallic dark purple. Although, when Iris Violet is placed directly over fine silver leaf with Hades as the base it leaves a dark line as if it had been heavily reduced.
So if you like the blue green effect on these beads. Make your base in CiM Hades then use leaf (not foil) and burnish it in really well, reduce the bead lightly. If you are going to trail R-128 over the top, reduce the the bead once. Don’t reduce the leaf then reduce the R-128 you will transition the leaf into the sandy colour. (Although if you really like the sandy colour, a heavy reduction will get it to look very reflective, like molten mirrors on the surface of your bead).
CiM Hades is a soft, melt like butter, dense black glass. It etches very easily and is really lovely etched. It holds onto heat, so be careful if you encase it, the whole bead can move if you don’t let it cool properly. This is a must have glass if you’re teaching a beginner’s bead making class as Hades is so forgiving in the flame and so easy to heat and round out. Hades is heavily pigmented and can be used to produce organic effects when layered over other reactive glasses. It webs like intense black over Effetre Ivory, but not with the same intensity. Hades will create a cloudy web effect if superheated and allowed to move. When pulled into thick stringers Hades doesn’t go transparent, but it does look blue-ish if pulled into fine stringers. Hades likes to spread and web out over other opaque glass when heated hot and fast and particularly likes to crawl across transparent glass if overheated. Hades is great for small spacers and working fast because it melts so quickly. I would keep it in the back of your mind that Hades for murrine might not be the greatest choice because of it’s tendency to creep over other colours when super heated.
I have used Hades extensively in my testing of the Double Helix Garage Box colours, I’ve purposely chosen Hades to test because it is such a fundamental CiM colour and its reaction to silver means that its likely to produce some interesting results with Double Helix glass. You can check the Double Helix section of the blog for more details on Hades and Silver Glass.
If you want really sharp black stringer control on opaque colours use Effetre Intense black, or if you can get your hands on it Reichenbach Opaque Black.