Inspired by my snorkeling in Ibiza and Formentera, where the light turquoise waters tickle the soft pale sands into ripples, and little fishes suspend quietly above welcoming their mermaid friend with big eyes… πŸ™‚

OK, I’m being romantic here, but this is how I felt.
I miss Ibiza already…

A little piece of "Isla Formentera"

A little piece of “Isla Formentera”

… so in the meantime, before I return again soon, I must wear it!

4mm (1/6 ") mandrels poking out of my kiln, annealing my "Isla Formentera" beads

4mm (1/6 “) mandrels poking out of my kiln, annealing my “Isla Formentera” beads

I created these beads just after my little experimentation (story below) with some new Effetre pink and purple glass rods. I will make more tomorrow to complete a bracelet… photos later!

I am ALWAYS very excited whilst waiting for my glass art to anneal in the kiln. I just want to see the results, but alas, many hours must pass before that is possible! Occasionally I pop on my protective eyewear and peep through the little window πŸ˜‰

“Evil Purple” and my new pink glass collection

I’m not sure why I ordered the “Evil Purple” glass in my last order, but it was definitely not based on read ups about it. Lampworkers world-over either love it or hate it!

In life, I like the quirky, unusual, untamable, wild, mysterious… I like a puzzle, the enigma, a technical challenge, strange chemistry… so I figured “Evil Purple” may be my kind of glass, we’ll see πŸ˜‰ Still so much to explore, but my first date with it has enticed me to want more!

Here, you can see the “Evil Purple” glass rod sitting nonchalant between the Periwinkle blues on the left, and the five new pinks on the right.

Effetre glass rods used for the experimental work: the Periwinkle blues, the infamous Evil Purple, and, my new collection of pinks

Effetre glass rods used for the experimental work: the Periwinkle blues, the infamous Evil Purple, and, my new collection of pinks

My first two test beads shown here have the Periwinkle (#1220) and Dark Periwinkle (#1222) at the core, followed by a layer of transparent Dark Amethyst (#1044), and then decorated with Evil Purple (#1254).

As you can see, the devitrification reaction is quite unique! The crystalline deposits transform the appearance of the glass and the reaction creates hues that you could never truly intend from the outset. This is where the magic of glass is such fun, for me anyway!

Applying Evil Purple for decoration creates an unusual effect

Applying Evil Purple for decoration creates an unusual effect

And my new Effetre pink rods, shown here in the photo under the beads, (from right to left): Powder Pink (#1262),Β  Tongue Pink (#1258), Light Pink (#1260), Dark Pink (#1256) and Angel Pink (#1261). The Evil Purple rod is left-most.

Evil Purple and its chemistry with various pink glasses

Evil Purple and its chemistry with various pink glasses

I applied a few blobs of Evil Purple to each pink glass bead, to check the reaction. As you can observe, it has a very strong reaction with Powder Pink! For the rest of the pink glasses it seems to merge and dissolve itself slightly. I note it can also create a matte or chalky look too, as well as visible seamlines, such as that shown for Dark Pink.

Glass rods for "Isla Formentera" beads

Glass rods for “Isla Formentera” beads

Evil Purple also had reactions with all the glass rods used for the “Isla Formentera” beads. For those, I used Effetre opaques Dark Cobalt (#1246) and Dark Turquoise (#1236), and transparents Light Teal (#1026), Light Amethyst (#1040) and Ink Blue (#1058), and Evil Purple of course.

A little about fume extraction

I realise I haven’t actually written much about my fume extraction set up…so I’ll quickly mention it here!

I did a LOT of research for setting up a lampworking and kiln fusing studio, and the fume extraction solution was actually my most expensive purchase in terms of equipment. The air we breathe (and re-circulate through machines and chemicals) is a very big responsibility we must undertake for our own health and that of others.

Here in the photo below, you can see my fume extractor (this is professional welding equipment) and is designed, I quote, “for heavy-duty operations that need high capacity and continuous particle filter monitoring. Incorporating microprocessor technology, an easy-to-read graphical LED filter condition monitor changes from green to yellow to red as the filter becomes clogged. Additionally, flow sensors increase power to the motor as filters become blocked to assure peak performance. The filter monitoring system self calibrates using a membrane keypad on the front panel and an audible alarm alerts the operator when a filter change is required. A three-position motor speed button is also on the front panel“. [Pace Fume Extraction Systems, 2012 brochure.]

Torch, glass rods, tools, quenching jug, fume extractor & various eye protection shades

Torch, glass rods, tools, quenching jug, fume extractor & various eye protection shades

I have the ‘Cleanroom’ filter which is recommended for “applications in cleanroom environments or
where the highest filtration efficiency is required“. The air that is re-circulated out of this system is much cleaner than the air it sucks in, lampworking or not!

The suction must be strong enough to remove any particles during torchworking, but the flame but also be consistent and straight throughout the session. I also have a door or window open to replenish the air that is being sucked in, even though the ‘cleaned’ air is re-circulated.

The special hosing was provided by a high-performance motor sport exhaust manufacturer, cut to size for my needs. For future expansion I could attach a second hose arm to the fume extraction box, in case I set up another torch (for my apprentice or student maybe!!!)

The layout of any studio requires optimal consideration for your health and safety… no step to be skipped in the design! There are many clever folks who provide excellent free information about this, which I mention in an early article.

Originally published: Monday, July 7th, 2014 at 01:43 in Atelier, Inspiration


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6 Responses to “Evil Purple?”

  1. Julia Akers says:

    This piece is absolutely stunning – love it!!

    • πŸ˜€ Glad you like my snorkel-dreaming beads! I’m definitely going to make more on this theme… bought some new transparent turquoise and teal rods, so along with the new pinks we’ll see what the alchemical ‘moon sister’ can do! You may also like what’s cooking right now in the kiln – some turquoise and pink ankhs! X

  2. Eric says:

    I met you on the bus station and I think I fel in love with the beads that you are making .. so nice

    • Hi Eric!
      Thank you for your appreciation! I enjoyed our discussion about the value of beads, trade, etc. and its relationship with African arts. My mentor, Anuschka, encouraged this fascination too (she also teaches glass arts locally in Overijse and Brussels).
      We are all so connected by some very unusual things on this planet, no!??
      Since you are close by, perhaps we can catch a beer opposite the Overijse kerk one evening?

  3. Beckie says:

    Hi Bunny,
    I’ve been researching a fume extractor as my source of ventilation rather than the ducted outside systems. I’m surprised more glass artists haven’t weighed in on the subject. Are you still using this setup? What made you decide to go with Pace versus Sentry, for example? Any help appreciated. I’m so surprised I even found your blog about it! Thanks, Beckie

    • Hi Beckie!
      I’m still using this set up; just moved studio location so will upload some new pics of it as I usually do. The Pace fume extractor is excellent. It is designed for professional welding, and I’ve modified the hosing so it is direct with the flame and extracting without upsetting the flame consistency. The air in the room is very clean and fresh when the system is on, and I always have a window open for new air flow. I did look at other extractors but chose this one after finding a special deal on it πŸ™‚ If you want to know more please let me know. Happy torching!


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