Monday, April 26, 2010

Musings on UV Resins and Polymer Clay- for comparison shoppers

 Over the past 4 months I have been experimenting with UV resins. I am covering a variety of materials including polymer clay and porous botanical items so my issues with bubbles may be more frequent than other users. All of these products were purchased from US sources and shipping costs have not been factored in the the price- if you are in Canada or another country outside of the US I advise you check on shipping costs prior to confirming your purchase as costs can often come close to the price of the item itself. I am in search of a Canadian supplier of products in larger quantities- especially one that can offer wholesale!

After reading this blog I recommend you pay a visit to Cindy Leitz's site where there is an outstanding discussion on resin that goes far beyond my musings here! My fellow west coaster and very good friend Tina Holden also has excellent observations about resin on her incredible  blog.

Magic Glos- by Lisa Pavelka
Retail price on company website 1 oz $9.50 US /6 oz $50.00 US unit price- $8.33/oz
Wholesale source- desperately searching

Magic Glos was the first resin I worked with so I went though the "resin learning curve" with this one. I wasted a lot of my first bottle with trial and error but by bottle number two  I had very little waste.

The product comes in a plastic bottle with a flip cap top that can be used for controlled pours. It domes very well and bubbles dissipate instantly with an embossing gun. It is quite thick so there are fewer spills when the items go into the UV oven. The product cures within 30 minutes. 
I have a problem with the Pavelka oven design oven though- it's frustrating to get a beautiful dome on a piece and then lift it up and ever so gingerly slide it into the oven only to see a flood of resin spill off the piece. Spills are inevitable and clearing the hardened resin off the oven floor is tedious. I recommend that you make your piece on a little glass tray then place the tray in the oven.
Purchase on the Ultradome website -2 oz $12 12.00 8 oz $30.95 unit price approx $3.86 
Bulk purchase available but shipping a large item such as this incurs high freight costs for cross border purchasers.

Ultradome was the second resin I tried. There is a screw on cap so the  the first thing I had to do was go to Industrial Plastic to purchase a nozzle cap. The Ultradome website offers their product in in convenient kits and you can order separate caps and lids and all sorts of wonderful supplies. If you order UltraDome I suggest you request an appropriate cap. When I began working with the product it domed nicely but when I used the embossing gun to get rid of the bubbles the surface tension collapsed and the the resin flooded. I always read instructions after I begin working and the instruction sheet advised me that a butane torch was the tool for getting rid of the foamy bubbles so I headed to the Hardware sore and got a little torch for $20. (The UltraDome website offers mini torches. The torch worked well but many passes were required Ultradome is a bit on the runny side and found myself having to mop up many spills during the critical moments when the domed item is placed in the oven. I found that letting the piece sit for 30 minutes before putting it in the oven address the issue of "latent bubbles" those pesky little buggles that make an appearance during the curing process.
Curing time for Ultradome is very good- it's done within 30 minutes or less.

Ultradome has a genius oven design that addresses the balancing act of placing items in the oven. Their oven has an open bottom so you can set up your pieces, leave them in place and position the oven on top of the items the way you put a lid over a pot- here's a movie of the process. The ovens are $175 US though so I'm going to try to make one myself. Another oven option is on UltraDome's sister site that has a focus on resin jewelery which offers a smaller and more affordable oven with a glass slide in tray.

UPDATE- I have continued working with UltraDome - I invested in a 2 oz dispenser and Luer Lok tips and it's a fantastic combo! Latent buggles no longer an issue!
Gel du Soeil by Judikins

Retail on Judikins website 9ml 8.00 ( .30 oz) unit price $26/oz

US wholesalers available- check your suppliers.

 Luckily I have a wholesale supplier for testing this one! Retail $8 for 9ml is pretty steep and if you do the metric conversion math, that's $26 per ounce!. You can get marginally better prices on eBay. This resin is the most expensive of the three. My 4 oz bottle of Gel du Soleil came with a flip lid with a pouring cap and a list of health and safety warnings. The resin has the same level of runny-ness as UltraDome but is less foamy when it's poured. Bubbles dissipate with the embossing gun or torch. Gel du Soleil takes considerably longer to cure than Magic Glos or Ultradome. When covering 3d mixed media inclusions It seems to lack the self leveling properties of the other two resins and seems to shrink somewhat and cures with a rippled surface. Second coats worked for achieving a smooth dome but with two pieces involving fabric the resin warped and buckled out of the setting.

Judikins has a UV oven with a design similar to the Lisa Pavelka line.

Resinable Suggestions- little things that are useful to know

if you don't have one, invest in a magnifying glass to catch those pesky buggles.

If resin gets on your clothes put a squirt of dish washing liquid directly on the splotch- leave for an hour then put in the washing machine on cold with laundry detergent.

Cleaning up your settings- dip the completed piece in Tarn-X- it shines the metal, loosens up any little spilovers and doesn't affect the resin.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Resin Review coming up...

Okay, I've let Rodney Dangerfield host the blog long enough.... I had a martini to celebrate the last quirky months and now I feel much better!

Back to business!

I'm putting together a short review of the three UV resins I've been using. Hoping to blog it tomorrow.

Gel du Soleil is getting a workout today!

PS - aren't they the coolest martini glasses ever?

Friday, April 23, 2010

You want to be an artist? You want respect?

If you want to try to put yourself out there as an "artist" you need a suit of armour. Mine is getting battered these daze. Here are some of the highlights of my year thus far-

Trade show- artists not in the show were invited to scope the event in case they'd like to sign up for next year- my booth was frequently filled with lookie loos - worst moment: standing trapped behind a group of would-be artists asking me about my techniques and watching the #1 potential customer taking a business card from the periphery of the booth and leaving the venue.

Cool idea that went well at the wholesale show requires findings- not available in Canada

Sent info package to the lost customer....still waiting for a response.

Spent a day spent searching for a wholesale source. Findings back ordered from USA - 4 weeks

I have to advise new clients that the items they want are back ordered 4 weeks

Sent piece of art to invitational show.

Back order extended to 6+ weeks... (they did very well at a wholesale show- must be nice!)

Work goes on... deliveries of available pieces made.

Recieve returned NSF cheque for $100 of work from gallery that shut down. Emails go back and forth...

Cat delivers dead rat to the studio.

Someone steals my running shoes from the back of my car.

Back ordered items arrive- missing half of the items requested- realise to my chagrin that paid $26 duty on the items I didn't recieve. Orders on hold...

Receive notice that the merchant has credited my VISA for the customs duties incurred. Feeling better but still not able to fill my orders.

Re order items.

Cat delivers live rat to the studio.

Daughter dispatches rat.

Receive returned piece of art work from the show with extensive damage. Begin insurance claim.

Keep working. Write blog etc...

Two galleries return "Stale Work" shipping costs $40

Send new work to various outlets by mail... shipping costs $50. 

Receive email from main Vancouver gallery location that the Olympics haven't increased businesses- sales are down by 26%.

Discover location of dead rat's burial site while weeding the garden.

Decide to rest vocal chords after unexpected episode of screaming.

Canadian dollar at par with US - great for buying from US sources but tourism projections reduced. This is not good news- most of my sales are to tourists.

Yay! I'm in a book! Uh oh- someone else's name is under the pictures of my artwork.

Yay! The problem is fixed for upcoming editions.

Deliver new work to local gallery- wonderful response!

Big order of findings finally arrives.... fuelled for creativity!

A gallery contacts me asking if my findings can be sterling silver rather than pewter plated. with sterling silver (sounds great but after days of sourcing I'm convinced this item doesn't exist in the real world and if it did it woiuld make my costs prohibitive with cross border duties)

Discover another gallery is changing management-- haven't heard from the owner... making note to phone tomorrow hoping usold work will be returned.

etc, etc, etc....

Thus far this year my expenses for supplies, shipping and customs duties far outweigh my sales. I LOVE making art but trying to balance the books and put up with occasional comments and occurences that feel like disrespect can get really challenging at times. 

Now the time has come for applying to juried shows.

Time to up my meds or get a martini.
Apologies to Rodney Dangerfield.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mixed media lantern in progress

I've been spending this earth day working on my lantern- the photo I shared in my last post  has been printed on silk and the clay is going on the fabric... here's a detail of work in progress- the hard part is finding four coordinating pieces of driftwood !

to be continued....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Polymer Clay Lantern #2

First of all- THANKS to all that complimented the prototype lantern in the previous post! I think that it may have been a good photo- the up close and personal view is a little rough. Maybe I should make prints of that piece- they may sell like hotcakes! Anyway, to appease you, I'll display the lantern  in the studio on a shelf rather than in a box somewhere with all the other prototypes. :-)

Lantern #2 is well underway, as I twrite this, it sits in the oven for the second of what I expect will be four total firings. The photo will be used as a section of the lantern "landscape". It was taken at Point No Point on a rainy day in January.

After breakfast I'll be heading back to the beach to "shop" for sticks. Who needs Michaels?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Research and Development in 3D

I spent the last two days working on this lantern- it's a research and development piece and certainly "not ready for prime time"! I had to do a lot of problem solving and now I'm set for the second one- this will get a firing and will be shelved.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Current Projects and Shout Outs

Resin work continues -I ran out of Magic Glos and now I'm using Magic Dome. I have a bottle of Gel du Soleil on order and after trying each, I'm going to do a consumer review of the three products so if resin interests you, stay tuned. It's very interesting how different the products are and there's a learning curve for each- no pun intended.

I have a new "large" project underway- it's a lantern that was very much inspired by

and Sylvie Peraud, who was featured in Polymer Clay Daily.

This project requires a long session of beachcombing and the windstorm last week may have left some good materials for me! 

And my last shout for today- I was invited to join Voila! what a breathtaking site- Christine is featuring Canadian artists this week!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Art on the Galloping Goose

The Galloping Goose is an extensive 60km hiking/biking trail connecting communities in the Victoria area. My husband and I had a relaxing cycle tour on the trail on Sunday. One of the best kept secrets of the trail is the art that is only for those who are willing to leave their cars behind! Here are details from an incredible mural depicting food gathering and transportation on the south island. I'm trying to find the name of the artist...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Polymer Clay and Resin and an Etsy Free Shipping Offer

My order of resin arrived from the US so I was able to get down to work!
Here's what I made- pendants and rings! These are long overdue at local shops and galleries so I'm putting together orders- busy times!

I have a similar pendant and a ring in my Etsy Shop-
if you mention  this blog shipping is free!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Polymer Clay Mixed Media Bowl Completed "Ritual At Low Tide"

Yesterday the wind was howling outside and provided atmosphere for me as I completed my bowl. There's a  narrative quality about it that I'm very pleased with. I made quite a few discoveries along the way and will definetely be doing another bowl in the near future!  

Friday, April 2, 2010

World Autism Awareness Day- Gen: More Powerful than Words

It's World Autism Awareness Day. One in 165 children in Canada  are diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the numbers are rising. People with ASD are not all like the "Rain Man" character - many are lively vivascious people with engaging senses of humour and imaginations that set "ordinary" people on their kiesters!

I'd like to pay tribute to my wonderful daughter Genevieve who is a wonderful ambassador for ASD . She is a brilliant artist who has had a one woman art show at the University of Victoria, works at Subway, volunteers for CanAssist , Victoria Opportunities for Youth Leadership (VOCYL) and the Queen Alexandra Foundation where she designs custom cards for donors. She was involved in a Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD) production to help educators understand autism. If you're interested in learning more about autism and Gen's art you can view the film Gen Chandler: More Powerful Than Words. 

The picture shows Gen and some friends from Power to Be on a kayaking trip, it was designed as a thank you card for a generous donor to the Queen Alexander foundation.

Polymer Clay Mixed Media Bowl - Day Four

The main focus of the day was BeachStones for the interior of the bowl. It took my mind off of a minor set back with my rusty a tea drinker I forgot that instant coffee is water soluble so I lost all of that particular accent colour when I wet the bowl during a sanding session. ooOoops! I saw the episode as humourous once I was able to concoct a replacement with some fimo gel and embossing powders. The last project of the day was to put legs on the bowl. Here it is in the oven for the final firing of the day. The bowl is placed on top of the light fixture which is draped with a tea towel. After taking the photo I put the corners of the cloth over the piece to protect the "rust" - the organic inclusions are sensitive to scorching with repeated firings.  

To be continued....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Polymer Clay Mixed Media Bowl - a Rusty Day 3

The rust will be an accent positioned on the bowl in the final day. I plan to do the exterior of the bowl with a rust effect so a hefty supply of faux rust is yesterday was a rust-making day. Inclusions included pulverised and dust-dry debris from a rotton stump on Galiano Island, sand from Rathtrevor Beach and assorted embossing powders. I raided the kitchen spice rack for chili powder and. instant coffee (a free sample from Maxwell House!)

Here's the rusted result.