Monday, September 20, 2010

The Many Faces of TNT

I'm going to do some write-ups on my latest glass obsession Terranova 2.0. This is not about Terra 2 which is a different Double Helix glass and it's not about Terranova 2.1 which has a formula change from 2.0 that I do not like. This is just on Terranova 2.0 or TNT. If you have the 2.1 version then you may get similar results from the regular or the dark version...and you may not. What I get from 2.1 is a muted color with god awful white splotches that ruin my bead.

What I'll try to do is explain how to get different colors from this glass and do so fairly consistently. We'll start with this post on blues and teals which are by far the easiest colors to achieve.

Start by melting your glass fairly hot to wrap it around your mandrel. You don't have to work it screaming hot. Once you have the right amount of glass and it's shaped, just pull it out of the flame a bit to cool. The next step is what I like to call "surface cooking". You're going to put your bead under the flame and just let the surface of the bead in the flame. The goal is to see white striations appear on the surface. Keep cooking and these striations will break apart and mottle or curdle. As you're surface cooking you can take your bead out of the flame if it starts getting too hot and let it cool a bit and then start again. I also like to tilt my bead to work the area by one side, let it cool a little, then put it back in the flame to work on the other side. Once you're happy with the pattern, pull your bead out of the flame and start melting the end of your clear rod for encasing. If you need to, you can quickly flash your bead in the back of the flame to keep it hot. Don't worry about striking it. Your bead may turn brown while you're melting your clear and it may not. As soon as your clear is ready, encase your bead fairly thickly. I like to do two wraps around the bead. The trick here is to keep your bead pretty cool for the rest of this process so you don't overheat it and lose your patterns. A thick encasement helps to insulate the bead and keep it cool. I usually don't worry about encasing all the way to the bead hole either, again this is done to keep the base bead cool to keep the pattern and colors. Try to melt in your clear working the bead fairly cool. As you start to encase you'll probably see your bead turn from brown to blue and then as you melt the encasement in you should see your patterns popping out. You should end up with teal and blue or blue with dark blue. You may even get some creams and lavenders. If you over heat your bead as you melt in the encasing you may lose all your colors and wind up with a translucent peridot. I'll talk about what to do with that to get different colors in another post.