In this blog I will present commented discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of various art resins; discuss how to prepare flowers for use with resin and which flowers have worked best/not worked for me. I will be presenting interviews and discussions with other pressed flower and resin artists. I will have a "tip of the day" section.

I'm hoping that lots of you contribute; comments, arguments and disagreements are always welcome. Resin is such a complex medium that we all have something to learn. Besides, tweaks and even new resin products are coming out all the time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'll Introduce a Wonderful Resin and Pressed Flower Artist; and GOOFS with Resin and Flowers, and Repairs

   I'm proud to be able to present a well known Etsy pressed flower artist whose work I  really love: Dianne of  A Gift For All Seasons
 Dianne has been working with pressed flowers for many years, and excels in the craft. Her work has been featured in major magazines and she has sold lots of her work. I'm proud to say I'll be featuring an interview with her in one of my next posts. Her flowers are presented with both resin and  glass. The above, one of my absolute favorites, is resin, as are the next two:
This piece is so great, and shows what I love the most about Dianne's work:  her color sense.  She knows just what colors go together, and how--something I'm still learning. Aren't the graduated shades from pink to purple lovely?  The next earrings show same expertise:

The bright colors in the earrings complement each other wonderfully.  I'm looking forward to the interview--I have lots to learn from Dianne!

Now, for GOOFS:
I'll admit resin can be hard to work with, and easy to mess up. What I like, though, it that many of the goofs are just as easy to repair. Of course, sometimes there is no repair, except the "circular file."

That being said, I thought I'd show a few goofs, or potential ones, and how I've learned to fix or save them.  All the "goofy" pictures are mine; no one else would claim them anyway!

First: a "foreign object" found after you've poured the resin and it's dried, or at least too late to fish the offender out. The day I poured clear resin over the flowers above, I started out with just a couple. My dog was shedding that day, and even though I blew off my workspace with canned air before pouring, I found some tiny hairs the next morning in the piece.  I had three choices:  sand down to the hair and repour (making sure the dust from sanding is cleaned off--I use a baby wipe;)  toss the piece, or what I did, fake it by adding more flowers.  I actually like this piece better than the initial one.  

However, sometimes a bit of something is just too deep to sand:
 In the blue larkspur piece above, which I poured a couple of days ago, there is a little piece of stem that crept in.  It's way too deep to sand. Normally I would toss the piece; however it's one of what will be a pair of earrings that otherwise turned out beautifully; moreover I don't have any more matching larkspur in that size or shape. So I've decided, after review by my resident expert (my hubby) to ignore the piece and make the earrings anyway. If one looks, one can see the stem. But after all, us humans aren't perfect anyway!

 This black piece is bumpy and I unfortunately left it late (by about 2 months!) to correct it.  If one sands off the bumps and repours within a few days, it works much better. This late, it might or might not show. I've just left this one for my "orphans" sale bin at the next craft fair.

Which brings me to a very important point:  new resin pieces are not as hard as they feel/look for at least a week. If you accidentally have one piece touching another, they will become bonded. They scratch ever so easily in the first week. And, heaven forbid, if when you're sanding/cutting edges off and a scrap resin falls on a new jewelry piece, well, it has become part of it. Once the resin is about two week old, it is tough, and by the time it's a month old, the resin is extremely resistant to even determined scratching.

Sometimes a big bubble will form on the surface of a piece then you're not watching, and then break.  I treat that just like the scratches:  sand, clean, and repour--generally you can't even tell where the bubble was. Resin can be forgiving.
    The piece below shows another hangup:  it  had a second coat of resin to make them shiny after they came out of the mold and the edges are uneven.  The edges worry some. I just clip them down, use a sanding stick (about 200 grit ) to even them out; and if needed paint a little tiny bit of resin over the sanded edges--often it doesn't even show!

Often I have a piece of plant that either floats to the top of the resin and sticks out.  You don't want to leave the plant exposed to air;  it will rot. I just sand it down, if possible, and pour another layer. Or if worst comes to worst and I really like the piece, add another petal then pour another layer!

When you pour resin in a mold, you should pour carefully  (in the final pour if there are layers) right up to the top so it is a little rounded. Otherwise you have to sand the edges, which can lead to needing resin to cover the sanding, ....and on and on.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog.  I welcome your comments and suggestions, and I'd love to feature your work too!  Chris

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How Pressed Flowers and Resin Interact

I just finished pouring resin for about 15, each very different pendants. Some are clear, some are on pendant settings, some are second or third (or even fourth) layers. I've learned I have to creep away from the pendants and keep my hands off until morning--even if I see something, through the clear cake coverings, that needs correcting.  Absolutely guaranteed, if I fix that one, I'll tip over or dip into or otherwise mess up two or three next to it.

In the morning I'll go out and anxiously inspect my pendants. Because of experience, most will be ok. But I'm sure I'll find at least one where the flowers have migrated to the edge --or off the edge, or otherwise  skewed.  I'll find one where the resin dissolved through part of a petal--hopefully  I'll be able to correct or cover it with another petal.  I'll find another where the flower or leaves are sticking out and will need two or three more layers for the pendant to be smooth. And I'll always find somewhere on one where the resin totally darkened part of the flower. 

Here's some examples of these common problems, and some possible but not foolproof solutions:
 In the above picture, part of the little wildflower migrated. Generally they wait to do this until you leave the room. Some flowers you can affix with a little glue, but I've found that most discolor when the glue hits the resin. Another solution is to pour just enough resin to fix the flowers in place, then go back in 45 minutes and pour over that to round off the pendant. I've found that if a flower wants to migrate, it will, even in 3 drops of resin. They're stubborn little things. And, admittedly, once I've spent two hours bending over pendants and resin babysitting arranging the  flowers, pouring the resin, clearing the edges, walking the resin out to the edges, etc, I'm usually too tired to go back until the next day. When its usually too late.
 The resin almost immediately (within 12 hours) discolored the red verbena.  That is more common with Johnny Jump Ups, so I was surprised.  I could have put another petal on top and repoured resin, but I didn't like the pendant enough to bother. A tosser.

The last  two show two problems: the fading and discoloring; and the daisy's center was so thick it would have taken several coats if I had continued with it. Note, though, I have put up to 12 coats to cover a flower I really wanted, and the pendant came out great.

I want to introduce you to a silver artist who just ventured into pressed flower and resin, and turned out a masterpiece in her first piece (her silver work really compliments it. Boy am I envious!)  Lissa's pendant:
Thanks for stopping by!  Chris

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oh Good Heaven's it's September

I've gone along just having fun creating, experimenting, dreaming of new projects, basically clueless of the time flowing, until today, when it hit me: big craft sale; lots to do; start thinking increasing my visibility, catching up on the projects I don't especially like (read: sanding) and finishing things. I love starting projects, but finishing--I have at least 6 or 7 pairs of socks knitted half way; a whole tub  of unsanded jewelry; loads of cards to make. I'm ashamed to admit I started a sweater for my Uncle Bob 10 years ago and was "just finishing it up" when he died this year. I even have a few baby clothes 1/2 made for my (now) 21 year old!

I ran out of Colores Doming resin a few days ago; waited anxiously and did some sewing (I make fancy lacy panties custom sizes.) Now I could have prepared some new pendants--filling the bases with white, black or colored resin. But I told myself I couldn't really do anything without the doming resin. Hah! So I think I'm going to be feeling the  time push all the more. At least I have an excuse not to press more flowers since there are only a few blooming in our yard, and I caught up this year and have scads.

At least, I figured I can't really make Halloween jewelry, or Christmas--at least I never have. Then it hit me that I make lots of red flowers; have lots of greenery, there's no reason why not. So besides catching up I'm going to be looking for ideas for Christmas-y pressed flower jewelry.

Speaking of red, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite pressed flower artists: Kate Chu. If you go to her site:      you will see on the first page what I consider by far the most beautiful pressed flower art  piece ever. But like all artists, she's done a lot of different things, and two pendants of hers are wonderful:
 This wonderful (Christmas-y) donut pendant, and :
 I would have never of thought of the second one, with the writing!
 Let me know what you think.

Hint of the day: After you've poured resin and are ready to cover it (I use a clear cake cover from Safeway) use a magnifying glass or glasses to look at the piece from several angles. I work on a lazy susan so I can rotate the work without disturbing it.  Lots of problems will only show up from certain angles. This is especially true of domes and valleys with Envirotech Lite on corners of flat pieces; and cat hair or dust pieces.

Thanks for visiting.  Chris