Melinda and I visited Doug's Garage four times in the last week; photos of our work are up at flickr. Melinda's been making pendants and mice, nearly all based on latticino. I've made penguins, ornaments, rings, turtles, and some other bits. The turtles are a good object for learning how to strike colors: they're fast shapes to make and have roughly uniform thickness. I've tried using Purple Sable (TAG), Blue Lightning (Momka), Silver Strike 3 (Glass Alchemy) and Persimmon Strike (Glass Alchemy). All are silver colors (Persimmon also is a ruby strike, done in the kiln). I can accidentally get some deep blues and purples out of the silver colors but often there's a muddy haze over everything. In one piece I worked a turtle over again several times, losing most of its shape, in an experiment to work the glass (Persimmon Strike) very hot, until it was clear, to try to better understand if that was a necessary step in striking. I got some nice purples out of it but also the muddy color. The best color was the nub of the tail, a part of the piece I entirely ignored. Glass Alchemy has a tutorial on striking silver colors, which says to heat the glass to 975F for a short period then let it cool. This suggestion doesn't make sense to me: the kiln holds the glass at this temperature as well, for hours, and anneals at 1050F for 15 minutes. How can flaming the glass at this same temperature for 10 seconds make a difference? I very much would like a guide on striking colors that describes the chemistry, not just the cargo cult; understanding the physics lets me diagnose my results better than blind instructions. I ordered some DVDs from Milon Townsend, we'll see if they help.
We're on our third cylinder of oxygen at Doug's Garage now, and may well run it out by the end of this weekend (has about six torch-hours left in it, if I recall correctly).