Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Tips - Pearls of Wisdom, Be Prepared

Working with words lately, I've been putting some into resin to create cabochons to add to the jewelry designs.

I wanted something fresh and clean-looking that would be consistently readable, as I've had some problems in the past with obscuring the words in the resin.

And I didn't want the words to become translucent, I wanted them to stay opaque.

It has warmed up just enough to do some resin casting, so I had a session over the weekend. These rough versions haven't been cleaned up, sanded or colored yet, but I'm pleased with the legibility of the words in them. I found some pearlescent glass seed beads that I think would look great combined with these, they have a glassy, milky look to them.

The interesting part is creating the words and combining them, sometimes they suggest the jewelry piece they may become, other times the other beads call out for certain words. It reflects my mood, too, and what I'm pondering as I work, the words that find their way into the resin.

Sometimes the words rearrange themselves to tell a story on their own. I'm thinking these might be fun to put into magnets, sort of like the poetry magnets you see around. For refrigerator poetry.

And I have an idea kicking around to create stickpins. Not everyone wears necklaces or bracelets, it might be good to have something you can just add to your lapel on your coat, put on your ball cap. With a favorite phrase or word, to generate conversation.

Here are some tips for working with resin that I was reminded of by the recent session creating these word gems.

Prepare everything ahead of time, your work surface, any masking tape, inclusions and things you will need. Once you mix the two-part resin the clock is ticking and you want to be ready to pour when it's ready. It won't wait for you.

Don't forget to wear your gloves. I put on a double pair, so if the outside glove gets sticky or messy, I can just strip it off and my hands are still covered.

Do all your leveling before you start to pour. The resin will slant and settle if your pieces aren't level, and it's much trickier to fix when the bezel is full of sticky, gooey resin.

Make some extras, you can use them for experimentation. If your favorites come out well and you want to try something new with them, try it out on one of the blanks or extras first, to avoid spoiling your most favorite one, so you can adjust whatever you're doing as needed.

Follow the directions of your particular resin and don't mess with the percentages. You want your finished casting to be hard and not sticky. Measure carefully and use the right proportions. Mix a little less than you think you'll need to avoid a lot of waste, you can't save the resin for later use once it's been mixed up. And be sure you really mix well, it's important.

Finally, do your resin pour at a time when you can continue to check the surface for emerging bubbles for at least fifteen minutes, and thirty minutes is even better. Once you're sure no more bubbles are coming to be dealt with, leave the pieces alone. Let them cure with something over them to avoid dust or particles getting into the resin, but don't move, touch or bother them.

Twenty-four hours is not too long to leave them before messing around with them.

Got any words or pearls of wisdom to add?


JenniferJangles said...

Those are beautiful! I am waiting on some bezels to cool in the kiln so I can go play with resin too. Can"t wait to see what you make with yours
Jennifer Jangles

Kristin said...

I've never tried resin before, but all of these beautiful things you are making sure make me want to give it a go.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I've wanted to try resin (along with the zillion other techniques I want to try but have no time for). I've heard the humidity can make or break the curing.

LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Resin is easy to work with, just really messy. I've given up trying to keep from spilling or having droplets falling here and there sometimes. Jennifer, your resin pieces in your ceramic bezels are so cool! Love your inclusions.

If you do try it, don't skip the gloves, and have good ventillation. It's not good to breathe the fumes or get the resin on your skin.

Cindy said...

I love these. I'm fascinated by the different ways that words can be used in jewelry. I've been too distracted to read thoroughly lately, but will come back to read through these tips. Thanks for posting them.