Monday, 16 February 2015

New Little Worlds 2.0 are coming! And this time they're Alien!

New Alien little worlds being cleaned
Long time no blog, but as I've been taking a few extra weeks away from Covent Garden and Greenwich I've been catching up on a few things, including new ideas.

Tiny 'Men-in-Black' marble with penny for scale

Lately everything has been small, from smaller and smaller little galaxy marbles for people making the 'Men in Black' prop (or just who like small cute marbles!) to a return to finding a replacement for the little world earrings I used to make.

For those who didn't read about if previously crack-in-world,
Past Little Worlds that had problems with batches of cracking glass

or haven't seen them, I used to make some little tiny world earrings and pendants that had multiple layers of glass to produce clouds with 23ct gold leaf as islands and continents. They were getting more and more 'Earth like' and was about to explore a way of even adding poles to make them even more realistic when I ran into some problems with the glass I used for them.

It was pretty exotic stuff, and also needed lots of layers which didn't always play well with each other, I could have a failure rate of 20% some days, added to which it wasn't even the usual borosilicate glass that I use so have to clear the decks to stop cross-contamination of the different glasses. One of the types I used was becoming harder to get hold of, and after waiting a few months got a precious 1/2lb from the American factory that makes it. That's when disaster struck.

I always had a higher than wanted failure rate, but this last batch was terrible! Out of about 50 I think only 3 didn't crack in half before I even got them out of the kiln. Contacting the factory seem to also fall on deaf ears, and later talking to people 'in the know' found out they'd been having problems with this for a while. Even when I did get them to work the colours weren't nearly as good or as reliable, so I decided to start looking around for an alternative.

I made a few back in January of last year, and one or two looked quite interesting. One batch mostly went a boring bloody brown colour, but a few of these were an amazing multi-coloured medley of blues and greens giving them a real Neptune effect. Some stayed a little lighter red and whites to make passable Jupiters too. However time constraints and swapping from Greenwich to Covent Garden didn't give me time to explore them further - until now.

I'm still tweaking the formula, the effects are quite random, but revisiting them I'm getting some lovely colour combos. There is a failure rate, but so far it's around 5-10% which is much better if it says like that. There are the green and blue Neptunes, a few with purple whisps, brown and reds for Mars, and even the odd Jupiter too. Plus it's given me ideas for new glasses to try, one is producing a green-yellow that's quite weird, and even some slightly metallic textures too. As for Saturn, no, not doing that one yet!

Pairing them up is going to be quite a tricky one though, but hopefully I'll have some in the Etsy shop soon, and will be bringing them along to the MCM Expo in Birmingham on 21-22ns March at the NEC.