Yikes! I've gotten a few emails from folks who are partipating in the reduction frit bead exchange, expressing their frustration working with the stuff.
When I work with it, there are two different things that I do. I either roll the bead in the frit (I use small frit), or I make stringer with the frit and use that to decorate the bead. Often, I combine both techniques. Here's some information I sent back to the exchange participants based on my experience with it.
When I make stringer, I use transparent pale amber as the base glass. I get a gather of it, and then roll it in copper ruby small frit. I usually roll it about 3 times, melting it in after each roll. When I pull out the stringer, you can hardly tell there's reduction frit on it.
I find that if I make dots with that stringer, I have to leave the dots somewhat raised or else when I reduce it, it looks kinda lousy. I've had good results putting these dots on dark ivory or on transparent glass. Tese are SMALL dots that Im talking about. Imade a set on opaque pearl gray, but those were real touchy. Sometimes when I'd reduce, the gray glass where there was no stringer decoration looked like it had soot on it.
Before I reduce, I rotate the entire bead in a neutral flame, take it out of the flame for a bit, then turn up the propane so that I get a very yellow flame. I then rotate the bead fairly close to the torch about 3 times, then take it out. Sometimes my reduction looks dull, almost a raku look, and other times it looks very shiny and metallic. I can't really predict when each look will happen. I'm still learning about this stuff myself.
The bicone and "applecore" beads that I do with reduced ends are lots of fun. I make each end of the bead using transparent pale amber, roll each end in copper ruby small frit just once, then melt in the frit. Then I fill in the middle of the bead with dark ivory, decorate the middle with stuff, and melt in that stuff. When the bead is finished being decorated, I heat up each end a bit, take it out of the flame, turn up the propane, and rotate each end of the bead in the reduction flame about 3 times. I've had real good luck with these. That's how I did the ends on these beads:
I've worked with other frit colors, but I'm really partial to the copper ruby. Hope this helps a bit!