wombat1138: (narbat)
Obligatory themed lolcat.

My lampwork beadmaking instructor finally resumed our local classes, after a summer hiatus for him to go teach intensive day/week-long sessions elsewhere. I think I've managed to recover most of the basic grokkage from the spring classes about working with hot glass (no major injuries yet yay), but I'm still having trouble broaching technical discussions with him about how to do certain things.

Part of this is the sheer orthogonality of approaches-- I have a fair amount of theoretical geekage on the subject, but don't know how it translates into practical working conditions; he has a great deal of experience and skill with the hands-on stuff, but not nec'ly much knowledge of why it happens.

(And also, I am a big geek with no conversational skills. Case in point: we all get to wear didymium safety lenses, since they screen out certain colors and make it easier to see what's going on inside the flame. He reminded someone that their regular sunglasses wouldn't do for this purpose, and we had to wear the didymium lenses, whatever dydimium was. I incautiously infodumped that didymium was a mixture of the two different rare-earth elements neodymium and praseodymium, which might explain why the neodymium-based "lavender" glass looked colorless when seen through the lenses, and that neo-lavender looked blue under the fluorescent working lights but purple under incandescent lights and sunlight, and then I ran out of infodump. Crickets chirped. I slunk down in my chair, resumed melting glass, and waited a few minutes for the normal conversations to resume around me.)

But I've also realized that though I had a lot of small bits and pieces of knowledge about glass color chemistry, it didn't really fit into a coherent theoretical framework-- I could chirp out factoids about opaque/translucent glass containing fluoride compounds, but didn't know why/how they turned the glass opaque instead of simply changing its color. (And I had a total abject fail when suddenly asked to explain what colloids were. "They're a mixture of stuff... with other stuff?" *bzzzt*)Read more... )


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March 2013

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