First up is Helios, the new "super lustre reduction glass" from Double Helix. I was expecting a silver mirror shine, which truthfully wasn't exciting me too much. But oh boy, I disagree! I didn't get mirrored silver, I got beautiful golden liquid sunshine!
Helios turns a lovely pomegranate shade when heated, then fades back to amber as it cools. It quickly reduces to a golden orange shine but will turn cloudy if overheated - happily the cloudiness is easily removed by heating through thoroughly, cooling then reducing again.
My best results are when Helios is reduced and left on the surface, even careful encasing can burn off the shine.
In this dark ivory heart bead, I made one shoulder from unencased Helios, reduced to a golden orange lustre. The Helios has lightly fumed the dark ivory.
Here's an encased lentil, I started with white then added Helios, cooled, reduced and encased with 006 - I added some Helios stringer on the surface too. Its difficult to see in the photo but there are delicate golden wisps inside and golden orange lustre on the surface.
This big hole bead is made from Tongue Pink (please, please, please can we change this glass's name ... lets call it Striking Terracotta!) then I covered it with dots of Helios. Some I melted flat, reduced and encased with 006 (orange Mother of Pearl effect), the others I reduced and left unencased for an orange mirror shine.
I played with lots of different bases for the Helios. It really fumed this transparent red bumpy bead. The dots round the centre are Helios over Dark Ivory, the other dots are Helios straight onto the red.
Now for more encasing experiments. I got mixed results really - some good, some quite disappointing but then one of the exciting things about Silver Glass is its unpredictability! Let's start with the nice ones ... Helios swirled with white and some Silver Foil. Not particularly shiny, but still a very pretty creamy gold.
Over Opal Yellow and Transparent Amethyst and silver foil - hurray, I see lustre (okay, maybe you can't see it in the photo, but its definitely there, that lustre you get on fish scales!)
But these groovy beads weren't so successful. The Helios over Black or Straw Yellow (both with silver foil) initially reduced beautifully but, even though I thought I'd kept the bead cool whilst encasing, the lustre was lost on both these Groovy beads - the greenish tinge is very disappointing.
These rounds all started off with Transparent Striking Red, then Helios (the middle bead also had silver foil melted into the Red), then encased - again, no nice lustre, just mucky yellow.
To finish on a happy note, I had to try a sprinkle of raku frit, just like some beads that Claire Morris added to the Silver Glass group on Flickr - thanks Claire!
NOW for the second glass I've been playing with, Effetre 'Cool Colour' Marine Wave.
It reminded me of one of my favourite colours, Baby Blue 038, so I have based most of my testing on a comparison with this glass - which I will refer to as 038. The main difference on comparing the rods is that Marine Wave appears to be ‘seeded’ with tiny bubbles, whereas 038 is a very clear palest blue. I can see subtle stripes in the Marine Wave as it melts but the stripes are lost when applied to the mandrel.
I started with some simple round beads and added Silvered Ivory Stringer and silver wire. The bead on the left is 038 and is virtually indistinguishable from the Marine Wave.
The similarity is more apparent when they're etched - in fact I'm not entirely certain which of these beads is the 038, I think its the one on the left again!
You can see the tiny bubbles in this lentil on the right - I have to say, I prefer the clarity of 038. The Marine Wave lentil has some yellowing, probably due to fuming by the silver.
I tried the trick that Sarah Hornik reported on Torchbugs, a Hades base with silver foil melted in, then Marine Wave stringer and encased in clear. I tried the same experiment over Hades, Copper Green and Transparent Striking Red. Over Hades, the scrolls turned greeny blue; turned brown over Copper Green and acted like clear over the red (not a great bead!).
I made a similar bead using clear stringer over Copper Green and the outcome is definitely different to Marine Wave.
Finally, I also tried Marine Wave with Dark Ivory as reported on Lampwork Etc., there is a dark reaction line where the colours meet.
In conclusion, I'm rather underwhelmed by Marine Wave. Its pretty enough, but I really do prefer 038 and if I want bubbles I'll use some bicarb!