Demystifying Lampworking: Exploring Types of Glass
Lampworking, the art of manipulating molten glass using a torch flame, offers endless possibilities for artistic expression. As a lampworker, understanding the characteristics and differences among various types of glass is essential for achieving desired results in your creations. In this article, we will delve into some of the prominent glass brands used in lampworking, including Moretti (Effetre), Creation is Messy, Double Helix, Reichenbach, and Oceanside. By exploring their unique qualities, as well as the COE differences between 96 and 104, you can make informed choices and unlock new creative avenues while ensuring compatibility in your glasswork.
Moretti (Effetre) Glass:
Moretti, also known as Effetre, is one of the most popular and widely used glass brands in lampworking. Hailing from Murano, Italy, Moretti glass is renowned for its vibrant colors and consistency. These glass colors make great base glass for most projects. Key characteristics of Moretti glass include:
Color Range: Moretti offers an extensive palette of colors, including opaque, transparent, and special-effect varieties, providing lampworkers with a wide range of creative options.
Softness: Moretti glass is soft and easy to work with, making it suitable for beginners and artists who prefer a more malleable material.
Compatibility: Moretti glass is compatible with other popular glass brands, allowing lampworkers to mix and match colors seamlessly in their creations.
Creation is Messy Glass:
Creation is Messy (CiM) is another well-known brand in the lampworking community. CiM glass is beloved for its unique colors and interesting reactions under different flame and heat conditions. Key characteristics of CiM glass include:
Reactions: CiM glass is known for its ability to produce intriguing reactions, such as color variations, striations, and metallic sheens when exposed to specific flame settings or thermal shock.
Special Effects: CiM offers a range of specialty glasses with distinct properties, including silver glass for metallic effects, opalescent glass for a milky appearance, and raku glass for an iridescent or multicolor finish.
Double Helix Glass:
Double Helix glass specializes in creating silver glass, which contains elemental silver in the formula. This type of glass is highly valued for its striking metallic effects and unique reactions. This glass can look iridescent like mother of pearl or a shinny metallic finish. Key characteristics of Double Helix glass include:
Silver Glass: Double Helix offers a variety of silver glasses that, when properly heated and reduced, produce stunning metallic colors, iridescence, and organic patterns.
Reactivity: Double Helix glass has specific flame chemistry requirements and reacts differently under different flame conditions, allowing lampworkers to achieve intricate patterns and color variations.
Reichenbach glass, originating from Germany, is renowned for its rich, vibrant colors and high-quality craftsmanship. The 96 COE glass have such intense colors, the glass almost looks black. It requires diluting or mixing with white to bring out the beautiful range of colors. You can use these in small amounts with 104 glass to create beautiful petal colors. Key characteristics of Reichenbach glass include:
Opacity: Reichenbach glass is known for its beautiful opalescent and opaline colors, which add depth and dimension to lampworking projects.
Compatibility: Reichenbach glass is compatible with other popular glass brands, making it suitable for mixing and layering with different types of glass.
Oceanside glass, often referred to as "System 96" or "COE 96," is a type of glass specifically designed for fusing and kiln work. While not as commonly used in traditional lampworking with 104, it offers unique possibilities when combined with other glass types. This type of glass can work well when using 96 COE frit blends to create vibrant transparent beads. Key characteristics of Oceanside glass include:
Compatibility: Oceanside glass has a different coefficient of expansion (COE) of 96, making it compatible with other COE 96 glasses, allowing lampworkers to combine fused glass elements with their lampworked pieces.
Translucency: Oceanside glass is known for its beautiful translucency, making it ideal for creating delicate and light-catching lampworking designs.
Understanding the different types of glass used in lampworking is essential for artists seeking to explore new techniques and achieve specific visual effects in their creations. Each brand discussed in this article offers unique qualities, such as color range, reactivity, compatibility, and special effects. By experimenting with different glass types, lampworkers can unlock a world of possibilities, pushing the boundaries of their artistic expression and creating truly remarkable glass art.