Halloween in South Philadelphia

Some pictures from my neighborhood.

The Creative Act is Not Performed by the Artist Alone

Marcel Duchamp

New Resin Bangles

I have been making more resin bangles with the home made silicone molds I wrote about in an earlier post, and experimenting with different colors of alcohol ink, glitter and leaf. Again, I’ve used both Easy Cast and Envirotex Lite resins and like them both. One thing I’ve learned is that finishing a resin bangle properly is hard work but the results are worth it. I’ve tried dipping coating and painting with resin, laquer, gloss, enamels and countless other mediums. I’ve learned that I don’t like glossy bangles; I prefer a soft satin shine.

Finishing the bangles properly is similar to finishing metal or polymer clay. The resin is a bit cloudy when it comes out of the mold. I start with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper and work my way up to 1500 or 2000. This would give me a very shiny finish after buffing if the material was polymer clay. But with resin, I like to keep a satiny finish with just a hint of shine. It’s important to keep the resin clean; tiny molecules of sanded resin can clog the sandpaper and fill cracks keeping you from ssanding them away. After I finish with the sanding, I like to polish with a muslin wheel and Brasso metal polish until I get a soft sheen that’s a little difficult to see in these pictures.

One thing I have learned: If I’m going to put all that work into a bracelet, it had better be interesting. The two bracelets you see below are pretty but, to my mind, not nearly interesting enough to justify all the hand work.

I have only seen one book on the subject that I do not hesitate to recommend: Resin Jewelry by Kathy Murphy. It’s written for the artist as opposed to the hobbyist. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a hobbyist. I consider myself a hobbyist. But if you want to try to push your resin work to a higher level, Resin Jewelry is the book for you.

I have also been learning about compounds, polishes and how to use them. Some of the compounds you can use to finish resin, such as rouge, you can also use to finish metal. But that’s a huge topic. I found an instructive polishing guide on lline and you can download it here.

Do Overs


Do Overs.    Don’t you wish you had the chance to do some things again because they didn’t turn out  the way you wanted the first time?  Or, maybe you thought of a better way to do something, but it was too late you you couldn’t get motivated to begin again.   Do you give up or try again?

Contrary to popular belief, even talented people don’t usually nail  a technique the first time they try it.   In his book  Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says you have to work at a technique for 10,000 hours to master it.  I normally have to try something many times (except marriage thank the powers that be) before  I get something that comes even close  to what I had in mind.  Sometimes I never do.  Sometimes I  take a detour, have a happy accident, and end up in a new place all together.  Now that I think of it, that’s how I ended up getting married!

Do not be afraid of Do Overs!  Do overs are a great way to learn.  Do overs do not make you a failure.   Here’s an example: Look at the Viking Knit  necklace below.  It’s a triple weave made from 24 gauge copper wire.  I wanted to make a finding that would work as a focal piece and clasp.   First, I made the one  you see on the left.    I liked it for about a minute, then it began to aggravate me.  I thought the scale was right, but it was boring.   It was difficult to open and close the necklace.  The metal (14 gauge wire) was dinged and hammering it flat didn’t add anything to the design. 

Compare the finding on the left with the one on the right.

   

I used the same gauge wire and the same length for the second finding.  This time, I fabricated hooks with balled ends and  loops.  I suspended the hooks from the  loops coming out of the end caps.  This gave me the option of making  a  focal piece or clasp I could attach to the hooks, and it gave me the option of  switching out the item if I wanted a new look.

The new focal piece/clasp is also a spiral, but I balled both ends this time.  This was a design decision instead of the design indecision I  made on the first piece where I cut the spiral ends, filed then and just left them.   You need a hot torch to ball copper wire this thick,  so I used my EZ Torch.    Then I made copper jump rings and soldered them to the spiral.  The necklace is now easy to take on and off and is more comfortable to wear because the hooks and jump rings make the assembly more flexible.  I don’t like to know that I am wearing jewelry and I don’t want to spend a lot of time putting it on and taking it off.  But I don’t want to lose it, either.  The hooks and the weight of the necklace components work together to hold the necklace on securely.


Press here  to see another piece I  did over before I was happy with the results.  And here are two metal lentil beads I made and wore suspended from chains.  One day I decided to try them as pendants on bead strands.  I think the whole look is more opulent.  If you’re not happy with one of your projects, don’t be afraid to do it over!