Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Studio Tip #4 - Working With Resin

The Sludge Jar
(click on images for larger photos)

No, I have not branched out into alchemy, although I do find some of the ancient premises fascinating. The creative scientist in me is always driven to defy accepted limitations. This, my friends, is my "Indiana Jones" moment, my crystal skull, if you will. Working with mixed media, resin is a regular tool. One problem with resin is that it sticks - sometimes where you don't want it to. We know it does not stick to polyethylene (white kitchen garbage bags) which is why my studio worktable is covered with garbage bags. You can drop left-over resin onto the plastic and, two days later, peel them right off to use elsewhere. But I digress.

When a resinned surface needs to be sanded down to remove bubbles or schmutz, it's almost impossible to sand and buff the surface to achieve that initial, brilliant shine. It's much easier to brush on a new coat of resin which seals all the scratches and marks and gives a brilliant shine again. That's what I had to do with the pendant below, and you can see it looks like new.
In order to brush on the liquid resin, you need to use a brush, and every professional I've spoken to says the brush is toast afterwards - toss it in the garbage. I love to brush resin onto stamped tissue paper, but the idea of using a sponge (soaks up a ton of resin and has to be thrown out afterwards) or a brush that would have to be sacrificed is not acceptable. (I'll talk about the pros of using resin to coat tissue paper over using liquid clay another time). So, time to experiment. I've used several products in my art-life that I have talked about in my workshops, getting a kiss on the cheek from one student's husband because he had been able to recondition all his old acrylic paint-encrusted brushes to supple new softness - but I digress again. I hauled out "The Sludge Jar", the jar I use to clean my paint brushes after antiquing clay with oil paint. It contains:

I dipped the still wet resin-coated paint brush into the sludge jar, schlumped it around a couple of seconds, wiped it off on a paper towel, rubbing gently in between bristles, and voila!


Some pics of resin work in progress for the weekend show.

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