February 2021: Red Pendant

Posted by Carol Ann Savage on


February seems to be the appropriate month to talk about the color red. It can be brilliant and strong like the dragon in the Chinese New Year’s parade or warm and luscious in our Valentines roses.  Throughout history not only has it symbolized courage, danger and sacrifice but also love, passion, anger, sexuality and joy. We employ it every day in some aspect of our lives, making it a very dominant color.

The human eye sees red when it looks at light with a wavelength between 625 to 740 nanometers. Red is the color evoked by light that our long wave length cone cells perceive. It’s also interesting that along with green and blue, it is part of the group of primary colors in our modern color theory. When you combine all three together you achieve white light.  Definitely not what would happen if I combined those colors of glass!

Ordinary soda-lime glass is colorless to the naked eye. The addition of selenium, cadmium sulfide, copper or gold will produce deep reds or beautiful cranberry pinks. These are the most expensive glasses produced. In order to work as a glass worker one relies on the colors of hot glass and very much on color changes as it cools. Red glass cools to black before red again thus making it tricky to add other dark colors to your work. You rarely see beads with black and red dots as it is hard to be precise. 

I always enjoy making these free form pieces. And it’s always a pleasure to see the transformation of a warm black bead to a vibrant red from my cooled kiln. 

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