Monday, January 18, 2016

Finally Back At Work (on artwork!)

My first resin & silk bowl
still a work in progress
The holidays got crazy... did it get crazy for you?  I have to believe that you too, probably had a LOT of things going on.  I had some good (craft fairs, high tea, lots of family), and some not-so-good (beloved grams died, car issues, furnace issues, and lots of family).  But even though there were lows mixed in with my highs, I'm still more than a bit sorry to have the holidays end.

The 1st bowl, upright
can you tell it is see-through?
HOWEVER, I am happy to be able to focus on my art again!!  Last post, I showed some of the lovely birds that I'm hoping will become models for future art pieces.  But right now, I'm working on something I toyed with a bit before the holiday craziness began... and that's making silk fabric (which I've painted) into bowls using resin.

My first piece provided a good amount of education for me.  I'm still working with it and thus, still learning.  But so far here's what I've learned.

  1. When you apply resin to fabric, if it's meshy (or loosely woven), even though you've thoroughly applied a layer of resin and let it dry... it will still have some minute/microscopic if you apply a 2nd layer, the resin will seep through to the other side leaving odd puddles with sharp edges (unless you apply it to the fabric while it's flat - which I did not).  Hmmm.
  2. The meshy types of silk (in this case, a silk gauze or chiffon) will turn translucent when encased in resin (which gives a fabulous glass-like look).  I am guessing that thinner habotai will also respond this way.
  3. Pouring resin into a bezel gives you a thick layer of resin which hardens and becomes very stiff and strong.  Rubbing resin through fabric (really, I scrapped it into the fabric using an old gift card), and then letting it dry...leaves a plasticy-looking fabric with a lot of flexibility - then... 4..
  4. Painting resin onto fabric builds very slowly.  In other words, Several coats of resin and I still have a semi-flexible shape! (because I am using thing layers of it doesn't drip and puddle in places I don't want it to). 
  5. Doing it this way takes time... and I am guessing it will take me probably 4-6 layers of resin (or more?) to get the thickness and rigidity that I am looking for. 
My 2nd silk & resin bowl
in the shape I hope it will stay
after I add a few more layers
of resin to it.
I am excited to see how this new bowl turns out...and I'm hoping that I can enter it into the SDA-WA Fiber Fusion call.  But first... it's got to actually hold it's shape.  Right now it's too floppy/flexible. 

This silk now has 2 layers of resin and still I can open it
and move the silk out of it's bowl shape.
OH, I am excited about this... the 2nd bowl is made from twice-recycled silk!  How can that be twice recycled you ask?  Well first, it came from a shirt I found in a thrift store.  I used the silk to paint a quarter-panel of a sunflower.. and while I liked how the individual panels turned out, I didn't like them when I put them together into a whole composition.  SO I got mad at it (I know, temper temper!), and literally tore it off the canvas (it was adhered with acrylic matte medium so this was no easy task, and in fact little bits of gesso from the canvas came with it).  After I tore it off the canvas, I held on to it thinking I'd experiment with it - which I am doing so...and now in it's 2nd new life, it will be a bowl!  SO twice-recycled!  I kinda dig that!  

Oh, and if you're wondering what kind of resin I'm using - you can see it in a couple of the pictures - it's Ice Resin... which I like a lot.  It's lower toxicity (and lower fumes!) than other types, plus it has the added bonus of NOT being flammable!  Which means when pouring thicker pieces like bezels for pendants.. if bubbles appear, you can simply use a butane match or other high-heat source to bring the bubbles to the surface and to pop those bubbles (can't do that with other resins!).  Nifty stuff, but more than a bit pricey!

I'll post a final picture of the bowl(s) when they're done.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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