Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Custom Orders and Fussy Glass

A regular customer of mine who I also consider a dear friend asked me to make her a special bead based on a video game called Okami. I've played about 15 minutes of video games in my entire life so I was at a distinct visual disability.  But my friend sent me photos and even a video screen capture of the flower she wanted moving about.

That garlic bulb looking flower is the desired bead. The Okami game is stylized visually after Japanese watercolor. However, I felt the black outlines might be too much for glass - especially a sculptural piece where all the pieces parts would be made well ahead of the final  bead.

The flower has a bright orange center and the petals are actually a cloudy pink with white veining. The only cloudy glass I know of is CIM's Cirrus. And that's the where the trouble began.

I am not the biggest fan of this glass because I saw a rather fussy annealing schedule on many of the glasses a few years back. I don't feel the colors are that different and frankly I just don't have the money (or earn it back on my beads) to be buying Chinese made glass at "boutique" prices. Still I do love a few colors but... the inconsistency from batch to batch (making ordering online impossible) has made those colors lose my favor as well.

I'm not knocking what others do. I know many that love this glass and do wonderful things with it. For me, I'm only successful with CIM when I use it alone or with very little of any other glass. I have quite a bit of cirrus from a project of hollow birthday cakes I made and filled with czs. The cloudiness of the cirrus can read both white and transparent. I truly do love its look.

But when I layered it with a Vetrofond pink and dabbled on some veins in Effetre white, the entire bead cracked. I did some reading and found that fussy annealing schedule. It recommends cirrus anneal between 970 - 1040! I feared the rest of the bead would slump at those temps.

After discussing it with my friend, I slowly ramped up my kiln to 995 over the course of several hours. I fired up the torch and gently placed that hot bead back in the flames. I got everything glowing red. I healed the cracks and added definition back to some of the melted Italian glass. When I was certain there were no more cracks, I moved it back in the flame and back into the kiln.
And the next day, holding my breath, I opened to the door to... a more evenly cracked bead!

In the end, I simply couldn't sell a bead that cracked but... my customer insisted that it looked so realistic (in keeping with the theme of the game) and since she wanted it HUGE, she was just going to display it, I shipped it off. Still, I had to make her something to wear... (Yes, I am aware of my anal retentive nature!) That's what the small one is - minus the cirrus. I do love how cloudy the cirrus makes the core and I so wish there were something more compatible that would give me this effect.
Yes, I probable could've purchased /  used a CIM pink trans but who knows if I wouldn't have the same issue? In the end, It is a really cool looking bead and... I'm donating that cirrus to my bead group. I'm done!

I'm ending the sale on Artfire on the 30th so only a few more days for 50% off!

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