So I resisted the lure of resin for quite some time. Why coat a perfectly good surface in polymer clay-- one that you have sanded and buffed so carefully to achieve a subtle, glowing sheen-- in plastic? I have never loved the use of the shiny coatings that some polymer people adore to the point of making the Holy Grail of Polymer the ability to achieve a lampwork glass-like mimicry. Yes, I'm going to get flak about this but really, why not embrace the characteristic of the medium itself in its 'natural' state? OK, polymer is plastic but it has a unique ability to cure to the texture of kraft paper or really, to any other texture you want to apply. Its truly unique ability is to take texture -- why cover it over? For instance, I give my clay pieces that will receive colored pencilling a subtle texture, some 'tooth' so the pigment will adhere better. “Exploit those Nooks and Crannies” should be a needlepoint wall motto in my studio!
So why turn to the Dark Side at all? Well, first I had to discover what resin could do for my designs that I couldn't do with polymer. After all, polymer clay has its own liquid form that cures to near-translucency. But it's very sticky and messy, so pouring it into a small space would be difficult. You can paint it on as a coating-- I've done this as a patina on metal with the addition of alcohol inks for color -- but it's a real bear to sand. And it drips.
Since I had an ICE Resin kit sitting here in my studio for ages, when my sister came to visit this past fall I figured, let's see what this baby can do! I dug out ALL my bezels, lots of tiny metal beads, my vintage books, many clay pieces with attractive holes that could be filled and then made several pairs of earrings that had holes straight through their forms. Of course, I have dozens of handmade silicone molds that I've made of anything that would hold still and I knew that resin could be used to fill molds and make objects.
I had very little specific information to work with-- I have just recently bought Sherri Haab's book "The Art of Resin Jewelry" but I didn't have it at the time. But I really like to work this way-- just puttering and playing and seeing what I can do with something I've never used before. I had no preconceptions and no expectations-- anything was fair game. I didn't edit myself at all. Playing off the things my sis was doing was very helpful as well. She is a very creative person and also had no prior experience with resin either so we both had no “can't be done” admonitions to overcome.
"Eye of the Dragon"
Polymer using the mokume gane technique, oil paint, pencil, gilders paste, coiled and patinated bronze wire, resin
Previously-made polymer clay pendant, applied resin, Objects & Elements bezel
Polymer clay, gilders wax, resin
"Rockport Sunday" bracelet
Picture jasper, African bronze beads, clasp by Objects & Elements, copper chain, resin bezel filled with collected sumac leaves, Fall 2009 and African brass spacers
"Song of Amergin" ring
Bezel ring from Objects & Elements, filled with bronze polymer
clay, bronze headpins and resin
Polymer clay with resin
Polymer clay with resin, metallic powders, gilders wax
Polymer clay with resin
Polymer clay with resin and acrylic paint
Polymer clay, resin
In the few months since my initial experiments, I have made finished jewelry with some of the pieces I made and have done a few more pours. I've learned a few tricks and made many sketches of what I want to do in the future. All in all-- a successful encounter with a new material. What more can you ask?