Flowers – and how to preserve them

Spring has Sprung in the South of the world, and in my little slice the daffies, crocus, hellebores and camellias are flowering.

So, what better way to preserve these lovelies than suffocating them in silica sand for 7 days and drowning them in resin (to use in my art).

Dried Florals
Dried Flowers – silica sand still dusting them

Here’s a camellia that has just started her bath.

Camellia in Resin in Glass (1)
Resin – Layer 1

Once you have suffocated and drowned your flowers, you are ready to hang them.  Here’s a new method I am trialling using black organza ribbon – appropriate for hanging, don’t ya think!

For those who struggle with the trauma associated with suffocating, drowning, or hanging flowers – don’t despair, or feel blue, as inversion therapy can assist.

 

Note:  No flowers were harmed in the making of this post (well, not anymore than if you picked them from the garden and put them in a vase to slowly die from soil starvation).


Sunday Morning Creation

I have been on leave for the last week, enjoying time to be creative, and yesterday morning I decided it was time to try something I have been wanting to do for a while – resin a table top!

Creating a Resin Tabletop - 1 - The Base

I rescued an old garden table from the  local Tip Shop last week (a bargain at $6).  It was sturdy and solid, with only a smidge of surface rust which I sprayed with an all-in-one primer and paint that had a hammered finish.  I gave it 2 coats and let it dry for 2 days, then I brought it inside and put it on some plastic sheeting ready to resin it.

I prepared my resin, a 2 part epoxy from my local hardware shop, and added small amounts to 7 separate shot cups which had some mica powders (a metallic powder that comes is gorgeous colours) added to them. (Forgot to take a photo of that).   I poured a layer of clear on the table top, spread it all over with my double-gloved hands, and then poured the different colours on.

Once I had added them I hoped they would spread and blend out with a bit of help from my heat gun – but that didn’t work so well, it just blasted a big dimple in the resin – oops.  On to Plan B – the hair dryer:  which also didn’t work very well because it really needed a directional cone to be more precise.  (The youtube videos made it all look much easier).  On to Plan C:  swirl it around with a stick!   Creating a Resin Tabletop - 3 - Swirling (1)

The swirling gave me some lovely colour mixing, finer lines, and some cells on the edges.

Then I checked around the edges to make sure the tape was secured (to stop the resin dripping over the side.


All through this process there was a fair bit of squinting of eyes whilst muttering  “it’s not doing what I want it to do”, and many moments of pondering.  (In my case, “pondering” means wondering what the heck I’m going to do to make it look better).

Creating a Resin Tabletop - 5 - Pondering

I knew that the resin would keep moving for a while yet, and that what I was seeing now would not be what it eventually looked like, but I was still a bit sad at this stage to see that most of the cells and distinct lines were blending together.

Creating a Resin Tabletop - 7 - Finished

In the end, I am happy with the final result.  There isn’t any obvious dimples or spots in the resin, it has set level, and sometimes what you get is what you get.   I have plenty of room for improvement in my resin technique for any future pieces I create, and that’s a good thing to look forward to.

Thanks to Eli for taking these photos whilst I was playing with the sticky stuff.

Exploring Acrylic Pouring

Yes, I meant it to rhyme!

I had fun today playing around with acrylic pouring.  I’ve been watching videos of it on Youtube for the last few days and decided I wanted to have a go.  Pretty happy with how it went, and think I may be doing this again real soon.

My favourite is the last one (excuse the bad photo, the lighting wasn’t good in the kitchen by the time I finished doing it).  It is true fire engine red, with tones of black, and I was so happy to see the cells form that large.

Little Bursts of Creativity

For a long time I haven’t made any jewellery, but in the last few weeks I have felt an urge to start playing again.

I’ve had the red and silver mokume gane polymer clay components on my work table for over a year!  last week I finally made up the smaller set into a pair of earrings for myself, and wrapped them in silver wire with an inbuilt bail so that I didn’t have to drill a hole through them.  I’m really happy with them, and the resin on top of the clay makes is shine nicely.

Yesterday I finally took the plunge and made up the larger focal piece into a necklace, I attached the chain to the focal by filling a link with resin and setting it on the back.  I’m still not completely happy with the chain going all the way around the neck, as it seems to sit a little stiffly, so I may have to change that at a later date.  Maybe half chain links and the other half double strand tubing.  I also made up the middle pair of focals into earrings, again attaching handmade wire bails (to hang the hooks through) on the back with resin.

I also remade the ring – prior to yesterday it was swirly wire and pearls, but I never really liked it very much.  I carefully unwound the swirls of wire, and then reshaped them to hold the handmade glass cabachon.  During this process I got the balance point for the “stone” slightly off, so it is heavier on one end than the other, but I don’t think the gold-wire is up to me unwinding it again to reset the cabachon.  I can live with it.

Last week I also played with the three pendants shown here, each has been created using “Prisme” Pebeo Paint.  I love how the metallic paints works itself out into patterns, however I have to fight my inclination to push it around and mess up the patterns – so I am trying to learn patience.  If you mix 2 different colours (as in the triangle pendant) you can get interesting effects depending on which paint floats and which sinks.  I think my favourites is the diamond pendant, these aren’t my normal choice of colours but I think they work really well and the soft tones compliment the “cell” effect.

Today  I’ve been playing with some other things, and have part completed a couple of other pendants, but that’s a story for another day!

Shameless Self Advertising

Some of you may know that I used to have a hobby!  I used to enjoy making a little bit of jewellery, playing with glass, wire and polymer clay.  Sadly I have just noticed that it has been over 2 months since I created anything.  Not sure why I have stopped, except that I still have too much jewellery hanging around my house.

I haven’t had anything in the local gallery for a long time, it all got a bit too hard to deal with when I increased my work hours, etc, (excuses, excuses),  So now I’m trying to sell it on the internet (which hasn’t worked out to be success for me, so far).  However, towards that goal I have marked down a lot of stock (some as much as 50% off) on my website.

If you’re in the market for a unique, handmade piece of jewellery, check out my Etsy shop

I promise I won’t do any more shameless self advertising, at least not until Christmas!

Sterling Silver Wrapt (4)Aqua stitchedBurgundy Ring (2)Blue stone ring (2)

Zero to Hero – Day 12: Community Inspirations

Today in Bloggin101 we are supposed to create a post based on one of the comments we left yesterday.

I’m going to talk about something that interests me, Handmade.  Yesterday I left a comment on the blog Handmade Australia Blog, the post I commented on was handmade blogging hints and tips.

I make handmade jewellery, and sometimes housewares.  I sell through a local shop that specialises in local handmade items.  Well, sometimes I sell, more often I don’t.  My hometown is a tourist town, so in the off season (which we are approaching now) there isn’t much going on.  I have also have a shop on etsy since 2012, but I have never sold anything through that.  Etsy is just too big for a little handmade fish like me, unless you really get into all the networking side of things, you are lucky if you ever get anyone to see your shop at all.

I do have a facebook page and my website, but again, you really have to do the whole networking thing, and I never really have, mainly because I just don’t have the time.  Handmade for me is a hobby, I love making things. I love the tactile pleasure of smooshing (very technical term) polymer clay.  I love sanding and polishing the clay to get a soft and silky feel on the finish.  I love, love, love hammering metal.  I love melting glass (although I have to be careful with the glass, because I always want to grab it with my hands, which is a big NO NO when it is like molten lava).

So, making handmade is what I love.  Selling and marketing handmade, not so much.

So when I get the time I will be going back to that blog and reading some more of his posts, who knows, I just might find some hints and tips to make things easier.

 

Zero to Hero – Day 9: Inspiration doesn’t strike!

The assignment today from Bloggin101 is to post something inspired by the “About Me” page I wrote yesterday.  Weirdly enough, as you’d think someone who takes the time to blog would want to say something about themselves, I don’t want to talk more about me.  I felt I said enough yesterday, so what more do I choose to tell you.

I have toe rings, I sometimes sing
my eyes are blue, my hair is grey
I love to play with polymer clay.

I took a class to play with glass
but my beads aren’t round, so I melt them down
I use my kiln to fuse and slump it, and also for glass that is dichroic.

Some clay, glass, metal or wire
entwined in a fashion
to make simple jewellery – my hobby “passion”

I was a carer for my husband for 3 years before he died, raising our girls through this time with the constant help of my Mum (mother of advanced age- MOAA), who cared for them whilst I spent large amounts of time at the hospital with my husband. I sadly admit now that I can’t remember a lot of things from those years, my girls often say “do you remember when ……..Mum?” and I can’t.  It breaks my heart that I cannot remember those precious years when they were so young.

So funny, weird, silly is my way of coping with what has been lost.  Sometimes it is just easier for me to write it in rhyme.

I’m trying to focus on happy, positive (without going to the perky positivity of extremes), joyful things in life.  Which, I guess, is what my blog is about.  So there, in a way I have been inspired by writing this post.

Whatdayaknow!