Resin work….

Resin work of any sort has always been an interest of mine.  My parents had worked with it over 35 years ago but often complained about the odor and the “cooking” (over heating anything put into the resin) element of resin. With that in mind, I avoided working with resin, concerned about the vapors and heat. That was until I ended up talking with the people at Alumilite Corporation booth, makers of the Amazing Mold Making and Casting Products at CHA‘s 2010 Winter Trade Show. (See this blog post for 2011 CHA Winter Trade Show) They were showcasing their Amazing Mold Putty and Amazing Casting Resin as a way to create replicas of practically anything in a very short period of time. The Molding Putty is non-toxic (in fact you can make food safe molds with it) and the Casting Resin is a opaque, low odor resin and cures within 10-15 minutes. After seeing the demos I went ahead and got several kits.

I started making master pieces in polymer clay to make molds from. I generally use my junk clay, pieces left over from other projects, which for some reason always end up making pink or gray-purple color. LOL

Keep in mind while I use polymer clay as my master you can practically mold any surface or item you like. The more detail in the piece, the finer the mold.

Here are the masters made out of poly clay. Keep in mind I did high detail work. The Amazing Mold Putty does wonderful with anything with high detail, and I get better molds with high detail masters. The Cheshire cat is about the size of a US Silver Dollar.

Note I place the masters on Clear Stamp Acrylic Blocks used for stamping. I use them to keep track if the molding putty is plum to the piece and make sure there is little if no creases forming when placing the molding putty on the piece. You can use small clear glass titles as well.

Make sure you mix the putty according to the manufacture’s instruction, though the Amazing Mold Putty is rather forgiving if there is not exact amounts used. I try to use as little as possible to be able to do more projects. Do not attempt to remove the mold for at least 20 minutes to make sure the mold has set.

As you can see I tried to get the mold putty as plum as possible, using the Clear Stamp Acrylic Blocks as my guide.

While the cure time for the molds is 20 minutes I like to leave the master in the molding putty for longer, making sure the mold is a rigid as possible (but keep in mind it is silicon and very flexible once cured) before trying to make any replicas. The molds can be cleaned with mild soap and water before you make any replicas to remove any loose particles left by the master.

When mixing the Amazing Casting Resin be careful about stirring too fast and for too long. Once the two parts are combined stir carefully until clear, scraping sides, about 15-20 seconds. Then immediately start to pour the resin into your molds; do not pour too quick as you will increase the amount of air bubbles. It will set in 10 minutes, the thicker the piece the faster the cure time. Once the piece is cured I quickly demold, trim any rough edges, sand and either start painting or put some sort of clear protective sealer (I like to use Mod Podge); the resin will bond with the paint or sealer in those few minutes after demolding. I let them dry and sit for about an hour before I do the final sanding or drill any of the replicas.

The finished replicas sanded, drilled, painted and sealed. You can even easily put this resin into clear resin as well, as you can see with the skull that I purposely caught air bubbles in the eye sockets to give it the look of eyeballs.

Until next time, Safe Travels…


Making recycling fashionable..

Many people feel that recycled art has a certain look to it, almost hokey or very folk in nature. While that can be the case, I like to go out of my way to make my recycled art look like something new or a unearthed treasure. One of my favorite forms of recycled art is in jewelry. I am always on the hunt for vintage beads, chains, findings, “junk beads” (basically beads that are not uniform in shape and are normally discarded), reclaimed wood and bone. Garage Sales, Swap Meets, Thrift Stores and old dusty little gift shops are some of my favorite places to find them. When traveling I also keep an eye open for artisans who work with reclaimed materials, by buying their work you are supporting ecologically sound resourcing, individual artists and their communities.

I always research any vintage or odd pieces I find to make sure it is not more valuable in the original state, I go out of my way to preserve artwork from past ages. I feel any responsible recycled art artisans should do the same. Once I find out it has little or no value in the current state I go to work dismantling, sorting and cleaning all of my finds. This is when I find some of the “trash” might be treasure, many metals age and discolor with time as well as bone, which can make a passing resemblance to plastic.

Once everything is prepped I might look at some of my history books, draw some sketches or even look to nature for inspiration.  I like to start laying out objects on a soft cloth to get an idea or feel for the necklace, I might go through many versions till I am happy with the final design. The fun part for me is to see how much can I use of recycled or reclaimed supplies without resorting to buying anything new.

“Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. The main starfish is made from coconut shell from a artisan in Sri Lanka, vintage beads, vintage findings, vintage silver chain and “junk beads”. Everything on this necklace would have been melted down for metal, thrown away or discarded but instead is now a new piece of art.

Of note is there is no coral in this piece, it is all glass and recycled shell, I NEVER buy coral. The ecological impact of coral harvesting is horrific, coral is a living marine organism, home to millions of aquatic life forms and acts as a natural bulwark against heavy waves. Please use other products to reduce the demand on these fragile and amazing life forms.

Until next time, Safe Travels!


Back from CHA

Finally back and unpacked from the Craft & Hobby Association Winter Conference and Trade Show put on by the Craft & Hobby Association (otherwise known as CHA)! It was as per normal an amazing show, full of new products, demos, old favorites and awesome networking. It is always one of the highlights of my year, many of a artistic friend and local art businesses! While I meet so many wonderful people and got to try so many products I must note some really did out shine the rest;

One thing a bit different for me this year was the opportunity to have on display some of my jewelry pieces at the Alumilite Corporation booth, makers of the Amazing Mold Making and Casting Products. They were very pleased with my initial test runs of their product and I am looking forward to using their products in my future artwork.

The amazingly talented Donna Kato was there at her Katopolyclay booth, friendly, funny and as willing as ever to show polyclay tips. Unbeknown to me they now carry some wonderful new colors, products and tools!

The Plaid Creative Group , makers of Mod Podge, Folk Art and Apple Barrel just to name a few, was there in full force with some wonderful make and takes. While I was there I got to meet great crafting personalities such as Mod Podge Amy, and Candie Cooper.

Got to meet the lovely Double Stitch Twins ,Erika and Monika Simmons (they are even more beautiful in person) at the 75th anniversary Red Heart Yarns booth, they had some stunning pieces of their work on display and it was just wonderful to see how many wonderful ways Red Heart Yarn can be used!

The beautiful Lisa Pavelka was there doing a book signing of her new book The Complete Book of Polymer Clay. She was as friendly as ever and even talked about some of her new techniques, designs and new polyclay line coming out.

The fabulous Mark Montano was doing demos and book signings of his new book Pulp Fiction Perfect Paper Projects, you had to do a wonderful paper demo to get a signed book, oh twist my arm. LOL

At the always classy Beadalon booth not only got to see some new products but a dazzling display of Fernando Dasilva‘s work and book signing of his new book  Modern Expressions.

Another rather nice opportunity CHA was doing this year was the Annual Business Meeting & Thank-You Breakfast and the Winter Show Event: Moonlight Mixer, both wonderful networking opportunities, alerting members of upcoming trends and great food.

Hats off to CHA for another wonderful Winter Show!

One of my jewelry pieces that was on display at the Alumilite Corporation booth, makers of the Amazing Mold Making and Casting Products. This necklace was made by making molds of Trilobite fossils (extinct marine arthropods) and then making resin replicas.

One of my other pieces that was on display at the Alumilite Corporation booth. This necklace was made by making molds of Trilobite fossils, then making resin replicas and then embedding them into clear resin to replicate fossil beds.

The full set that was on display at the Alumilite Corporation booth.

Safe Travels….


The joys of glitter, glue and old cataloges.

An industry buzz word being thrown about rather heavily lately is “Indie Crafting” : Art that is not standard or common, using everything including the kitchen sink and maybe even a good dash of recycling. Oddly enough most artists were already doing these things before it was trendy because we didn’t like doing cookie cutter art, were/are on a budget and honestly like nature.

Which brings me to a problem I have, I go to a lot of conventions and events, receive oodles of catalogs and paper, often when I don’t even ask for them. The ones I can I shred into animal bedding or for making homemade paper. But often there is a design or pattern I like, so I save the best for cutting up to apply to wood and in this case DIY Bangles. The people at DIY Bangles are very friendly and honestly listen to consumer requests, such as making bracelets in larger sizes, they also carry many shapes and cuts to the bracelets which makes them very easy to stain, wood burn and attach small objects to.

In this selection I have used acrylic paints, mica powder, glitter, wood burned, Pentel Arts pens and even used Washi paper scraps. All get many thin coats of Mod Podge as all purpose glue for paper and small objects or Diamond Glaze for anything I want to have a glass like finish (remember thin coats with a touch of water make it go on even smoother). Always let the first coat dry, be it paint, glue or glaze, before doing another coat, this way you make sure nothing moves, smears or gets wiped off.

This selection I have used acrylic paints, glitter, wood burned, Pentel Arts pens and cut panels from scrapbooking cataloges. Same coats of Mod Podge and Diamond Glaze as before. The key element is to really work with any paper you apply, carefully getting all the creases out and cutting small bits of the paper, like cutting darts in a gown, to make it fit better on the round curves.

The fun part is by using scraps, small treasures and saved items makes sure it will be a fun and different look every time you make one. 🙂

Until next time, safe travels!


Madness I tell you….

Well it has been a while since I posted, reconstructive surgery on your right shoulder for repeat dislocations will do that to you, but thankfully I am back on track and trying to restore my sanity (or is it lack there of?) via artwork.

I have been trying a lot of new products and even some old ones I never delved into before just for fun and ideally to also see if there is a better way to do things. Something else I have been enjoying is finding all of my art notebooks and sketch pads, I try to carry one around with me everywhere I go for spur of the moment ideas, good book titles to research and products to try. Sometimes I lose one in one of my stacks of research papers and books only to find them later, old ideas brought to life once again.

I was made to see how I could still do some artwork while my right arm was down for the count, I found out I could draw with my left hand, which was interesting and I got a tripod for my camera. I ended up taking waaay to many photos for future ideas and models. Some of my favorite subjects is bones of any sort, so of course that means I have to make a trip to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. I love the place, I could camp in the halls and be happy. The have some wonderful new exhibits while still maintaining the original and historic architecture, one of my favorite things they do this time of year is First Fridays. In essence once a month, the Natural History Museum stays open until 10 pm, has two full service bars, live music (typically 2-3 bands), DJs, dancing, special lighting, a lecture by a famous scientists and behind the scenes tour of some of the NHM collections, all of this with the award winning NHM displays as backdrop. What is there not to love about this? If you are in the LA area anytime they have one I highly suggest attending and getting there early to save a seat for the lectures.

What I call “Scary big ass dog” aka Epicyon haydeni is a large extinct canid, native to North America, they guess their weight to be around 224 pounds and human chest height.

Smilodon fatalis, sabre-toothed cat or sabre-toothed tiger, lion-like in size but build is like a tiger, native to North America and western South America. I personally love these nasty buggers….

The first thing you see when you walk in the front public entrance.

Until next time, safe travels…..