Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I'm all for the newest and coolest in mixed media and craft supplies. But I'm a great advocate of thinking outside the box and expanding the realm of what's possible in the techniques and processes that already exist.

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

"Imaginarium" earrings
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

"Theodora" pendant
Polymer clay with resin, metallic powders, gilders wax

Polymer clay with resin

Polymer clay with resin and acrylic paint

Polymer clay, resin

Resin experiments

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?


  1. Wonderful experimentation! I especially love those imaginarium earrings!

  2. i love resin to use in different ways - and i really love what you did with it! filling in small spaces, etc... glad you had fun with it...

  3. Nice experimentation and I especially like those imaginarium earrings!

  4. I love the way you think. I think that diving right into a new medium and being able to take those risks that could lead to disaster or happy accidents depending on how you view them is a great way to begin! And truly you could read oodles of texts and reports and reviews of resin and everyone seems to have their own way to work with the stuff. I think that resin is great for somethings but quite cumbersome with others. I have used almost all the resins out there and my preference tends toward the UV curing ones simply because I cannot wait to touch it for three days, but 20 minutes, oh yeah! However, I learned resin from Susan Lenart Kazmer and ICE Resin is still pretty fine in my eye. I love how you made this adapt to your look, not your look adapt to it. Well done! Can't wait to see more of what you do! And you have inspired me yet again. I truly need to take a class with you. And soon!
    Enjoy the day!

  5. I still can't cover my polymer with ANYTHING...I've tried topcoats, resin, etc...and it's just beyond my personal preference...but your examples are beautiful and have me second guessing myself! LOL! :)

  6. Great results! I have a package of the ICE resin too, untouched now for months, because I don't know yet what I want to do with it. Someday...

  7. Absolutely inspiring, Christine! Love how you have used it in your own way. This has just opened a new perspective for me...

  8. Love your work! Thx for sharing your resin experiments - and taking the leap of faith for so many others! I too have some ice resin, but my basement is currently too cold to use it! I'm guessing that is a sign..lol..or maybe an excuse? Hmmm....

  9. Gingko is my FAVORITE -- I'd die for that. I've avoided resin, too, but have two (three?) different types here at home. After my show in March, I'm pulling out all the stops.

  10. Hi - I'm wandering around and looking at the links on Lori Anderson's BSBP hop and wanted to say "Hello". I love your polymer work and the resin in them looks awesome.

  11. Hi - I'm wandering around and looking at the links on Lori Anderson's BSBP hop and wanted to say "Hello". I love your polymer work and the resin in them looks awesome.

  12. Christine, I just love that image of a needlepoint, hanging in your studio that reads, "Exploit those Nooks and Crannies!". I had a good laugh at that one! :-) As I read through your intro, I was hoping you'd show pictueres of your experimentation and you sure delivered!! It's amazing how you tried the resin in a number of ways, with pieces inside or in small spaces. My favorites are the Theodora pendant and the Rockport Sunday bracelet - WOW not that is one stunning piece!

  13. I'm in love with them all but most especially the Imaginarium earrings. I'm still a bit wary of resin.....one day I'll take the plunge.