Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Resin - A Love/Hate Relationship by Karen McGovern

Resin has come a long way, baby. I've recently been experimenting with jeweler's resin, thanks to the inspiration of Susan Lenart Kazmer and her Ice Resin. Ice Resin is a fairly recent development in the mixed media art jewelry world, an easy to use, crystal-clear resin specific for jewelry design. The possibilities are endless...fill bezels and embed gems, color it with inks or powders, layer it, add metals, glitter, dried flowers, coat art paper, anything you can think of. It's quite amazing what you can do with a bit of imagination and some free time.

As you probably figured out from the title of this post, I both love and hate resin. I love it because my head is filled with a million ideas to use it, I hate it because I am the most impatient person on Earth and have limited time and space to work on jewelry in the first place. Working with resin takes time, patience, and attention to detail. Three strikes, I'm out!

For those of you that haven't tried Ice Resin (or similar products, the are several jeweler's resins out there now), I encourage you to do so, but be prepared. You need a dedicated, clean space to work, and a clean, dust-free space to cure. Cure time is at least 24 hours. I'm including some links and photos here of my favorite products and artists working with resin to inspire you. It really is a fantastic art product that totally frustrates the Hell out of me! I long to be able to create works like these, from Altered Alchemy and Susan...gorgeous! Sigh....



I am a schizophrenic artist at best. I flit between projects, never make the same thing twice, and jump between media like a jack rabbit. I also screw up...a LOT. So, I shall share my most recent resin screw-up, which I actually managed to salvage, thanks to a surprising automotive product. Are you on the edge of your seats yet??

I recently was inspired to make a ring based on a pomegranate. I constructed a brass ring with a dish-style bezel. Really pleased with how that turned out. I planned to fill the dish with tiny garnets in resin, representing pomegranate seeds. As usual, I was going for broke, in a hurry, and mixed what I thought was the perfect amount of resin, and set my garnets. Lovely. I carefully placed the ring in a clamp, set it in a dust free space (a shelf in my kitchen) and tried not to have a brain embolism waiting 24 hours. The next day I snatched the ring from the clamp and found the garnets resting in a pile of sticky goo. What the...?? Okay, maybe it needs to cure a bit more....imagine the Jeopardy theme song in the back of your mind as I waited, and waited. Test number two, now 48 hours...still a pile of goo, with garnets in it. Craptastic! At this point I had to accept that I had not mixed the resin correctly. I obviously used too much resin and not enough hardener, even though I thought I was being very careful. You need to be precise, one part resin, one part hardener. Soooo, I spent an hour scraping the mess out of the setting. When I was done, the setting was free of most of the resin glob, but still coated with a film of sticky gunk. How to clean? I didn't 't want to use paint thinner, I was afraid it would affect the patina I had painstakingly created on the brass. Salvation came in the form of a can of WD40. I knew WD40 worked well to remove adhesive residue, so I spritzed it into the setting, and wiped it around with a Q-Tip. Viola! The resin wiped away completely, and the patina wasn't affected at all. Rinse, dry, ready to go again. This time I used calibrated syringes to measure out the resin and hardener, mixed, poured, set the stones, and THANK YOU JESUS IT WORKED.

WD40, the miracle in a can, and the ring that tried to kill me.
The moral of this story? Patience is indeed a virtue, which I do not possess...and, WD40 is pretty awesome.

Also, there is another type of resin out there for those of us who need instant gratification. UV resin. Lisa Pavelka's Magic Gloss is a pre-mixed, ready to pour resin that cures in sunlight in about 5 minutes. It must be exposed to UV light to cure, you can even purchase a UV bulb set-up specific for this resin. Nunn Design also has their own version, and the product is fantastic. BUT, you cannot color or free-embed anything using this resin, since the UV light has to penetrate completely to cure (yes, I learned this the hard way). I love this product for coating paper/photos or filling bezels that are fixed with items glued down to the base. Resin-coated papers are my favorite thing at the moment...more on that in my next post--"Resin-nating" (see what I did there??).
 
A necklace I made featuring vintage nudes UV-resin set in steel wire frames.


Until then, give resin a try and let me know,what you think. Share some pics and stories about your experiences. Stay sticky, my friends....
 

8 comments:

Erika said...

Karen, I just LOVE your jewelry creations!! They are gorgeous! I really like the cuff bracelets with Mary Ann's enameled discs.

I know what you mean about resin. I found something that is pretty foolproof, but you have to watch out for those dreaded bubbles. It's called Diamond Glaze by Judikins. It's a water based product, so any pictures will have to be coated first (I just use clear nail polish.)

Your pomegranate ring is beautiful!

Gale said...

I can see why you'd want to save that ring from impatience!

TesoriTrovati said...

Oh boy do I love that ring! I have had more resin wrecks than I care to admit. I find that I am like you, very impatient and I need instant results! For that reason I like the MagicGlos or the Gel du Soleil, but I learned the hard way that they don't last forever. I bought some of the Gel du Soleil in the largest container and then forgot about it for a few months. When I found it again, in the dark hiding place, it had turned completely hard in the bottle! I do like the look of coating paper with resin. And Altered Alchemy is a complete whiz. My favorite thing is to swirl ultra fine glitter in the resin to make a druzy effect. Still have the first one I made by accident in Susan Lenart Kazmer's class in 2008! Will have to unearth that and make something with that clasp! Thanks for sharing your foibles as it makes me feel all the better for my own! Enjoy the day. Erin

Artisan Beads Plus said...

OMG! No wonder we connect! I, too, have a bunch of different things going, switch mediums regularly, experiment constantly and screw up OFTEN! I think I am going to hold off on resin. I had wanted to try it, but have learned that I need to have the key ingredient of patience..... not something I would describe myself as possessing! lol!

Kelli said...

Hahahahaha!!!!! Karen I love this. I've not tried resin yet, as im sure I'd be saying "craptastic" too haha!!!!!!! (Gonna be using THAT one) So glad you were able to save that ring. Its wonderful

Katherine said...

I hope you keep trying at the resin! I get a lot of troubleshooting questions on my blog as well, and I can tell you what you're experiencing isn't uncommon. It looks like you learned the first rule of working with resin, 'the resin always wins'! Can't wait to see what you do next.

Katherine said...

Way to go with the resin! I hope you will stick with it. I get a lot of troubleshooting questions on my blog as well. What you shared here isn't uncommon. It looks like you learned the first rule of working with resin, 'the resin always wins!' I can't wait to see what you try next!

stacilouise said...

Thanks for sharing your mistake and remedy! Those of us who are fellow dabblers like info like that! I too hop from thing to thing. I never seem to have enough tools or new methods to try! REsin, I have only done a little bit with the UV resin, and it was ok. Not sure I really like it though- I am NOT patient- AT ALL

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