As spring turns to summer my garden is bursting with new colours every day. These shades of pinks, blues, yellows and greens inspire me to create new flower murrini and to search for interesting colours for the base of the bead. This spring the glass company Creation is Messy (CiM) has offered us some lovely opalescent pinks, purples, blues, greens and yellows to try in our studios. Most of these rods of colour come in both a misty and a milky (more dense) version. Not only is it exciting to try the single new colours but it’s also fun to mix different glasses together and come up with something entirely new. Unlimited options!
Of course opalescent glass is not new- big beautiful windows made of opalescent glass can be be seen in iconic buildings and churches around the world. From 1878 to 1933 Louis Comfort Tiffany had a factory on Long Island NY, where he developed many formulas for opalescent sheet glass. His main rival, John LaFarge was the first person to register a patent for this shimmering glass. Tiffany remains a well known artist and designer of beautiful lamps, bowls and windows to this day. In the 1890s Rene Lalique also experimented with this kind of glass. The 1925 Paris Exposition contained stunning displays of hand crafted jewelry, perfume bottles, vases and even hood ornaments for cars; all of which made use of this glowing, slightly opaque, slightly transparent glass. Another major contributor to this movement was Charles Henry. In the late 1880s he opened a factory in Kokomo, Indiana called Opalescent Glass Works. The primary product was sheet glass and electric insulators made for the Edison General Electric company. One of their first shipments was for Tiffany in 1888: 600 lbs of blue and white opalescent sheet glass. The factory continues to produce beautiful glass that can be seen in buildings and churches around the world- the White House, the Vatican and Disney World, to name a few.
In my studio I have access to a wide range of luscious colours. Experimenting with new glass brings the usual rush of excitement, which can lead to a whole tray of new beads in just a few days!