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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Welcome to 2008

Ah... yes... it's been a while since my last post. Please forgive me :-)
The holiday period got a little bit crazy, with unnecessarily hot weather, hiccups at the Post Office, orders coming in from all angles, and my Birthday (complete with excellent party with even more excellent friends!) in the middle of it all. But I have come through to the New Year relatively unscathed. Phew!
I hope everyone else had an enjoyable and relaxed Xmas and New Years Eve as well :-)

So here we are in 2008, and I thought it was only right to start off a new year with a new medium. RESIN. It's something I have been eagerly interested in for several years, as a new medium in which to realise my jewellery design ideas, but until now I thought it was out of my league.
Late last year I quite seriously considered doing one of the several Resin workshops in and around Melbourne, but the price tag was a little prohibitive. I wanted to be really certain that it was a creative journey that I was willing to embark on, so I did a bit of research (I love you Internet xox) and found 2 books that seemed to have some pretty good reviews and purchased them (at bargain Basement prices!!) from Amazon. The first is: "The Art of Resin Jewelry" by Sherri Haab (ISBN 0-8230-0344-2). It's a really great book if you know nothing about Resin, but are interested in finding out all the basics and getting some ideas for projects. The information is very clearly written in a simple to understand way, that isn't an insult to your intelligence. The instructions are also quite clear. Not all the products used in the projects are available in Australia, and as of yet I haven't been able to find too many U.S. websites that will ship a lot of the stuff internationally (which I think is due to the potentially hazardous nature of some of the products). However, if you have your wits about you, you should be able to figure out something that is a suitable alternative which is readily available in Australia.
Although I did really enjoy this book and all the hints and tips, I do have to admit that some of the projects are incredibly ugly (which is of course, simply a matter of taste) so I'm sure that the projects in the book that I think are beautiful, others will find to be hideous.
Despite this, it is an EXCELLENT introduction to the world of Resin jewellery. I can highly recommend it :-)
The second book I purchased is "Resin Jewellery" by Kathie Murphy (ISBN 0-87349-619-1). This is a slightly more "high brow" publication and is probably directed more towards people who have a bit of previous knowledge in jewellery design. It gives an excellent history of resin and other plastics, which gives you a great insight into how and why different products react in a certain way and how they can be best utilised. This book also gives you lots of information about different products, techniques and standard safety tips. But I think the best thing about this book is all the photographs of some seriously STUNNING and amazing resin work by artists and designers from all over the world. I found the images to be of great inspiration and made me DESPERATE to rush out and buy all the things I needed to start making my own Resin masterpieces :-)
So I can highly recommend this book also.
I have seen both these books on several websites where resin supplies are available, and they are both extremely over-priced. For example one Australian website is selling the Kathie Murphy book for $57AUD, and it is currently available on Amazon for approx. $5.20AUD. I did a lot of searching around and Amazon was by far the best place to purchase both the books (even with the crazy postage prices :-)

So far I have made a few smallish beads with the EasyCast 2-part resin I purchased, and they have been quite good. I used a purpose made polyurethane resin mould, also from EasyCast. The shapes and designs of the mould which has several cavities are quite good, however the resin really does pick up EVERY minute detail which meant that some of my castings came out with unwanted impressions that were left on the mould during production. I tried to gently sand this away without success. So I am in the process of making some of my own moulds using a "pour and mix" type of silicone rubber.
I am quite keen to see the results of this. I am making moulds for several different rings and some bangles also. I have so many ideas racing around in my head and I can't wait to post some photo's of my creations on here for you all to see :-)

Okay, I'm heading back to the studio (a.k.a spare room) to start casting some more of my ideas.
x Shara

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