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.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Interview with Dianne of GiftForAllSeasons, Etsy; and why I use resin instead of glass

I am so proud to be able to present an interview with Dianne of AGiftForAllSeasons, I feel that she is the top resin-pressed flower artist on Etsy and also off!

1)How did you first start working with pressed flowers?
I have been pressing flowers for as long as I can remember. My grandmother and mother were fantastic gardeners. I am self taught as far as learning the art of pressing flowers, and I did pressed flowers mats for photos, and some jewelry, and sold them at craft shows, church fund raisers, etc. I was hired by a lady who had a cottage industry who hired mothers that wanted to work from home making pressed flower jewelry, and still allowing us all to stay home with our children. I learned a lot from her. After she closed her company here in the states, I loved it so much, and decided to branch out and continue to do what I so loved to do. I have companies who buy from me, and sell my jewelry at different shows around the country. I found out about Etsy a little over a year ago. I was really intrigued, and scared at the same time, but all of my wonderful friends encouraged me to give it a try. I love selling on Etsy, and I have met so many wonderful people along the way, and we are all are so supportive of one another. It's a very nurturing environment for any crafter.
2) What do you enjoy most about making pressed flower jewelry?
I really love it all, every phase of it, from going to the garden centers, looking for that new found flower or plant, and taking in colors, shapes, and the unusual. I love gardening, so that comes very easy, from planting, watering, pinching, deadheading, fertilizing, weeding, and on and on, I love it all. Love getting up each morning to see what new treasures are blooming. I enjoy the pressing process very much as well. I find it very relaxing, and is such an important part of the whole process. How you placed a flower/leaf into the flower press, will determine how the jewelry, photo mat, etc. will look when finished. Pressing takes patience, and a lot of time. From carefully harvesting each tiny bloom, or leaf at it's most perfect, in shape, color, and size is so important. It must be done early morning, when not too hot, not wet, and when the flowers are just waking. Early evening is a good time too, once the sun has started to set, and flowers are not wet from rain or from watering. How it is placed in the flower press is how the finished flower or leaf will look. I go into another world, where time doesn't matter. I completely lose track of time, myself, and go into a zone of another world. Also true for when I start creating something new, whether it's for a wedding order, jewelry, a keychain, photo mat for my shop, doesn't matter, love it all. Many times in the middle of night I will get an idea, or inspiring thought, jot it down, or sometimes I just have to get up and put my ideas to into motion.
3) Can you tell us about some resin challenges you've encountered when working with resin and pressed flowers, and how you've overcome them.
Depending on the type of resin, I will have different challenges. Probably the most important thing is measuring the right amounts of resin/hardener/catalyst, depending on the type of resin, and mixing extremely well. If not mixed together well, the resin won't dry properly, and will remain sticky or tacky, and your piece will be unwearable.
I learned this the hard way. With my metal pieces, the resin I use doesn't set as quickly as the transparent pieces. This resin sets up slower, so you must "babysit" each piece to make sure the flowers don't shift, or move.
Toothpicks have become one of my most important tools, as I can pick up the tiny, and move the delicate flowers, without breaking them. Works great! Not so great though for my arthritis holding a toothpick like a pencil for hours on end. This will take several hours sometimes depending on the temperature, and I will sit and make sure each tiny flower is where I want it, and doesn't drift, or move out of place. The transparent pieces you must work quite a bit faster, as it will start to thicken within 10-15 minutes on a warm day, a tad longer on a cooler day. Air bubbles are always an issue. A hairdryer on low will help take care of most of them.

4 Do you have some hints for someone just starting to work with pressed flower jewelry?
Start small. Experiment with pressing flowers and leaves first, and see what works with your climate, and what is available. Pansies, and most leaves are always a great place to start, as they almost always press beautifully. Patience is key. I press flowers everyday during our Summer months, but once in the flower press, must wait at least 30 days, some flowers much longer, several months. No peeking! If you peek too soon, the flowers will rip, tear or stick if not totally dry. I live in a suburb of Denver, so our growing season in very short, 3, maybe 4 months a year, from late May to August, and if we are lucky, into September. Last year it snowed here the last day of Summer! Compared to California, the Northwest or the south, where in most locations, you can garden all year. So it's a mad rush to get enough pressed to carry me from Autumn till Summer of the following year. I need enough to create all Winter long.
Once you feel comfortable pressing, try anything, as long as it's not to thick. Look at shapes that appeal to you, things that will add interest. Some of the things I've tried to press, and wasn't sure if it would press well, turn out to be some of my favorites. Sometimes the tiniest of flowers or leaves, and be the most interesting, and compliment your creations more that a big accent. Know when to stop. Many times, less is more. Stop, and look before adding more. You can always add more, but once dry, very hard to remove flowers once resin is starting to dry, or is dried. Make sure your choices don't over power one another, but are in harmony with each other. Don't give up, it takes practice, and with each success, will encourage you to make another, and on and on. It's easy to become hooked on creating with pressed flowers.

5. The colors blends in your jewelry are stunning and often unusual. How do you decide what colors to use?
I choose what I like. I don't think there are any rules. Do what is appealing to your eye. I like bright, contrasting colors, such as bright blue and bright pink. They compliment each other beautifully. You can always lay your pressed flowers side by side on white paper before starting, and see what works, and what you like. Sometimes I just start making a piece, and go through what flowers just came out of the flower press. Some things work, some don't. But it's such a fun journey, and even my mistakes are a success, and a learning process. Trial and error is how I have taught myself, and over the past 24+ years have perfected some things, and still working, and learning on lots of others. Still learning, and it's never ending, always evolving, never boring. Still love it, and have such a passion for what I do, all these years later.

Thank you so much Dianne! You have been my inspiration.

Some of the most beautiful pressed flower jewelry I see today is under glass. I love the  glass pressed flower work of Botanical Creations ( Etsy, who has sold hundreds of pieces, all glass. Certainly there are advantages of glass: it is more durable; it is heavier (an advantage or disadvantage, admittedly).If you want the piece on a leather cord, you need a heavier piece. There are lovely Greek leather cords of all colors and thicknesses now. Often, a resin piece simply isn't heavy enough to sit well.
There are no problems with bubbles behind glass. Layering is simple, you just...layer; no pouring multiple times.  Finishing is easy.No sanding and re-pouring. The colors are not affected by glass, whereas resin can change the color of some flowers. Magnification is better with glass unless the front of the resin piece is quite thick in front of the flowers.
I've almost convinced myself,  but for two reasons.  The first is  an almost silly reason: I love the challenge! I worked so very hard for the first few years to learn resin, without any support. I had one booklet from the Envirotech company for the first two years until the internet grew and more resin products came out..  I'm proud of myself that I overcame a lot of obstacles to, eventually, produce nice jewelry. Certainly I could have saved myself at least a year if I had deigned to follow directions, but I did learn a lot along the way!
The other reason makes more sense: the use of a mold (outside a glass factory) means that the shapes for resin are almost unlimited. I spend a lot of time (and too much money!) looking for new pendant settings and for new mold shapes. I have a large variety of colors, as I've been able to add both opaque and clear colors to the resin . If I were more adventurous, and handier, I could make my own molds from silicone
So my reasons for using resin are the challenge and the malleability. I could probably sell more jewelry If I switched to glass, but then I wouldn't have the joy of doing what I do now.
Hint of the day  (I keep forgetting to include this!  Sorry): if you want your resin product flexible, add more of the less strong color. Resin dyes can be purchased in concentrated or regular, and in opaque or clear. In addition, you can just add acrylic craft paint, or powders. I've found that just about any additions except the concentrated dyes will change the resin''s flexibility.
Thank you for visiting my blog.  Chris


  1. What a lovely interview to read! I really enjoyed it, and Dianne is my favorite pressed flower shop on Etsy as well! ♥

  2. Great Interview and information from You both. thanks for sharing secrets ! peace

  3. Wonderful interview and lots of very helpful info! Thanks Chris!

  4. What a great interview! Thank you Chris and Diane for sharing your knowledge and talent! Lynn L