Monday, March 7, 2011

Wig Wags!!!

A day of low bead mo-jo and a inspiring thread ( WigWag Thread ) led me to make a few really bad skinny uneven wig-wags! I decided to take the challenge to continue on until I mastered it! (well until I got it a few times LOL) I tried a couple different methods of making them. I remember reading something about the pull a while back, but had not really paid much mind to reading up on the subject prior to starting out on day 1. Day one was quite the disaster mind you! I give you the basics on how to make them at the end, and my color combinations. Enjoy!

Day 1: I figured I would start like any other simple twistie 2 colors melted into almost a ball,heat, let it cool and pull and twist!  ~um no~  So I tried to salvage it by spot heating and twisting in a variety of directions. again NO. Funny looking thing it turned out to be!!! 
OK try number 2! After noticing that I could not heat all the glob and just pull and twist, I decided to heat, and pull from only one end. OK right concept!!! Not very well executed! I got a SKINNY SKINNY almost thread of different twists. I would have stopped, but I figure this was a good way to get the motion down, and notice the timing. The thinner glass cools faster, and makes it an easier task than a thicker pull. This was helpful to see (as tiny as it was) exactly what was happening depending on my pull and twist thing. I had remembered from forever ago that someone had said "its like twisting 4 or 5 times in one direction and then the other." I do not remember the part about the pause between twisting. This is essential!  So after day 1 I had a few skinny trials, and no glass mo-jo at all!

Day 2: I stopped in at the wig wag thread on LE. I realized I could add more stripes, and start off like a complex twistie, rather than a simple 2 color paddle mush. Much better! I had mo-jo. I even ran out of propane in the middle of a great pull, but no worries, I still had mo-jo after returning from a quick fill and iced coffee! I did not even turn the kiln on! I was determined to master the wig wag!!!

I started off with the basics I learned on day 1: don't pull the whole glob! It is not helpful if your initial shape is not entirely melted in, or when it goes long on you its harder to control, and start with a barrel with stripes on it. remember what the LE thread said. Start with a barrel! GOT IT! OK

I start with a barrel on a punty. I have used puntys for all my twisties, but read on. OK black barrel, a few stripes of purple and pink colors. melt in, punty to the other end, heat, cool, concentrate heat so you can pull from one side, twist......wait, twist in other direction, wait... re twist and so on. A bit wonky, but OK over all. I did notice that the barrel seemed to be too long for my heat control, and I stretched it out a bit too much initially when pulling. It made it harder to fix. After a few tries, I notices I was getting better, but not at the beginning of the pull. At the end I seemed to find the flow, and timing. Usually this was a thinner piece of pull at that point. It took me too long to find my groove.......

Then I played around with the initial shape of the glass. I really like starting off with a round marble shape and squaring it slightly before adding lines of glass to it, the re-rounding. I thought 4 lines of glass was perfect, so a square worked. I also did a triangle, and that worked well also. Flattening sides seemed to help it round out better in the long run.  I was still having issues with the pull though... I switched from a metal punty on the pulling end to a clear stringer. BINGO. I do not know why, or how, but it was so much better! I got a cleaner more even pull, that was easier to control over all. It allowed me to get my groove right from the start, not towards the end of the blob! It was also easier to control the thickness.

How to make Wig Wags ~ Tips and Basic
Timing is different based on your heat, and your colors. Remember this. You really are gonna just have to figure out the timing part yourself! This is a great heat control exercise. 
1) Wether you punty up to glass or metal initially, always pull with a glass punty from the other end.
2)Make a round marble shape o the end of your punty (glass or metal), add stripes of color, and melt in. They do not have to be the same size, straight or evenly spaced. It makes a cool effect. Melt in thoroughly. Try and round out your initial shape as much as possible before pulling. 
3) Add your glass punty to the opposite end. Center it where the colors meet. Then imagine your pull looking like a hot air balloon with rods on the ends, small on one side, and big on the other.
4) Heat the entire mass, and cool a bit. then start pulling from the end that has the glass punty slowly, as you would a stringer. The entire mass may be out of the flame for this. Add heat to the bigger mass of glass as necessary, keeping the heat even by rotation.
5) As you pull out an inch of twistie determine the width of your wig-wag, by how fast you pull. twist as you do this slightly.
6) When you are satisfied, twist and pull an inch or so. Let it sit 2 seconds longer than you think you need to, and repeat the twist in the opposite direction. Creativity in your design will determine how much you pull, twist, or how tight you wan your design to be, based on timing.  The timing differs due to the stiffness of the glass, and the heat in it.
7) Keep the bigger ball of glass in and out of the flame. Be sure to rotate it for the best overall smoothness in your pull. If you don't your pull will be flat on one side, or the cooler glass with create ridges.
8) Tip: Be mindful of the glass you choose, and its stiffness. I find mixing stiff transparent with  softer pastel colors will create a challenge! One glass will move faster than the other, and make it difficult to keep an even pull. It can be done. I suggest evening out the stiffness of the glass by layering them in a pattern, or starting with a core  color that is thicker than your stripes of colors. You can get some really neat effects by playing with layering colors in wig wags!!!
9) Overall. HAVE PATIENCE AND PRACTICE. Note that these take longer than simple twisties, and pull much slower. They may take just as much time to construct as a intricate complex twistie as well.

RECIPES (from top to bottom)
Most have about 4 alternating stripes of color on them. I like the effect of 4 lines better than 2, even when you only have 2 colors. I like when they are not the same thickness. It adds more character to the wig wag.
1) Base: Grasshopper Green (213) Stripes: Black (064), Purple (273) and Purple (046) over White (204)
2) Base: Black (064) Stripes : CIM Pumpkin, and Acid Yellow (416)
3) Base: Purple (273) Stripes: Lt Sky Blue (224), Lt and Dk Turq. (232, 236)
4) Base: Black (064) Stripes: CIM Celadon, Nile Green (214), Pea Green (212), Grasshopper Green (213)
4 1/2 ) 1/2 a black and white one sneaks in here
5) Base: Black (064) Stripes:  Lt Sky Blue (224), Lt and Dk Turq. (232, 236)
6) Base: Black (064) Stripes: CIM Thai Orchid, Reichenbach Opal Raspberry Opaque
7) Base: Black (064) Stripes: White (204)
8) Base: Bubblegum Pink (260) Stripes: Reichenbach Opal Raspberry Opaque, Black (064),
9) Base: Acid Yellow (416) Stripes: Purple (272)
10) See #8
11) Base: Acid Yellow (416) Stripes: Purple (273)
12) Base: Black (064) Stripes: Acid Yellow (416), Purple (273)
13 &14) See# 8
15) Base: Acid Yellow (416) Stripes: Purple (273), Black (064)
16) See #11
17) Base: Black (064) Stripes: My own orange mix (Acid Yellow and Carrot Red) and Acid Yellow (416) and Carrot Red (424)
Just a note, The Dark Turquoise may actually be Dark Sky Blue. I use these colors interchangeably.
There is a purple/pink mix that is not in this picture, but can be seen in other pictures. Base: Black (064) Stripes: Purple (272),  Bubblegum Pink (260), Reichenbach Opal Raspberry Opaque
The very wonky one in the day 1 picture is Med Blue (058) and Reichenbach Opal Raspberry Opaque

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