Saturday, October 18, 2008

Studio Saturdays

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner. This week's winner is Devine Design! Congratulations! Please send your postal address to the ABS Suggestion Box to receive one of Cyndi's borosilicate off mandrel hearts!

Today, we take a tour into the ceramic bead studio of Jennifer Heynen....

Hey everyone, its my Studio Saturday and it's my chance to show you what I have been up too. Are you one of those people who has to keep creating and moving forward, well I am. I really like mixed media these days, and one of the others medias I am really liking is resin. Have you tried it? Oh wait... I will ask that at the end as my question of the week, but have you tried it? It's soooo much fun.

Resin has always intrigued me. When I lived in Bloomington, IN and was making mosaic tile tables, I coincidentally lived right next door to another table artist, Laura Moore. Her company was Bella Bella Arts, she makes beautiful tables from cut tissue paper and then pours resin over the top to create and shiny and deep looking surface. I have always wanted to try it. When resin started showing up in the jewelry world, I became even more interested.

The wheels in my head started turning, see when I look at anything, I translate it into clay. It is impossible for me to look at anything and not think how could I make this in clay. It was no different when I started seeing bezels being filled with resin. I immediately started thinking about ceramic bezels. I made some and tried my hand at some pendants. I learn by trial and error. This was an error that taught me a lot. It was an absolute mess. The resin was smelly, it didn't cure right, my eyes were burning, etc, etc. What I learned was I needed to take a class!

So this summer at Bead and Button I took a class. It was Susan Lenart Kazmer's resin and cold connections class. I learned a lot. I even brought some of my bezels to class to try. We used Susan's favorite resin, ICE resin. I have since found out there are many types of resin much better than what I used the first time, but I still stick with Susan's. These are my pieces from Susan's class.

After many trials and errors, below are the bezels I came up with to offer my customers. I have had so much fun filling these and making jewelry. I now look at every store for little things to put in my bezels. Etsy has some great suppliers too for fillers.

Here are a few step by step photos of making a resin filled pendant. For this Christmas pendant, I used the white sprinkle balls for snow. Yes, as I was sorting through the little things I was thinking it was a little crazy, they are so tiny. They make really great snow, though. For the tree, I used one of my Christmas tree charms and cut the wire loop off the top.

I cut a blue pieces of paper for the background and glued it in. I laid all of the little white ball on the background and put the tree on top of them.
Next, I mixed up the resin. This resin is a mixture of two equal parts. I mixed them together really well with a Popsicle stick.
Here is the finished pendant. It is still curing and I can't touch it for a day, but this is what I am thinking for finishing it into a necklace. How fun is that?!

Okay now we can get back to my question. Have you tried it? If you have tell me what you like and don't like about it. Tell me also what you've been adding to your resin, I would over to hear. And if you're the winner, I will be sending you a ceramic bezel of your own to fill.

Happy Saturday!


LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

Great post, Jennifer! I've been wanting to try resin in some of my etched brass and copper boxes, and just lately I did try it. It's important, as you pointed out, to get the right kind of resin to use. Such a great step-by-step, thanks for sharing!

Elaine Ray said...


These are great! A wonderful idea to make very personalized pendants as gifts. I haven't used the resin yet, but am wanting to try. Your tutorial will give me the extra nudge I needed.


- Elaine Ray

cindy said...

I have not worked with it. I think I'm still a "beginner" jewelry artist. I do wire work mainly, but want to get into soldering, and PMC too!

Anonymous said...

Love resin, haven't tried it in a clay product. Any seepage? I would be curious about that so please blog if there is.
I love when things look 3-d so I would maybe add a "sealed" piece of paper behind all of it? Its hard to not pick an overwhelming pattern though. (Seal the paper with glue, front and back otherwise it could get a greasy look from seepage.)
And pour either two pours or wait a bit and add the tree and such so it doesn't go to the back of the bezel.
Bad things - resin that isn't mixed properly so its always soft but now there is a product to "undo" I hear.
Bad thing 2 - bubbles but those hot air or a blowdryer/heat gun can help eliminate right after the pour (15 minutes or less depending on resin type).
Bad thing 3 - mixing the WRONG colorant with the resin - ugh!
Hope all that helps...

Alicia @ Oh2122 said...

I have not tried it yet, but I am DYING to! I have visions of copper and lace floating in my head.

Thanks for making it look easier than in my head!

Lisa Martin said...

I have some resin waiting to be used. I couldn't wait to buy it. I like your pendant, it reminds me of one of those snow globes you shake. Those are so pretty. I'm curious if polymer clay could be used inside of resin. That would be fun.

gaela said...

I have made and bought some bezels, but I haven't bought the resin yet. One thing that concerns me is that the ICE resin says that it "domes" and magnifies. Does it always do that? I do love the fact that it stays clear though and can't wait to try it. It would be great if there was a small try-me size. I have so many irons in the fire now, it's hard to try everything I'd like to. But this sounds like a lot of fun.

Donna said...

I haven't used resin yet, but it looks fun. I usually use polymer clay for my imaginings, but I really want to try resin.

Anonymous said...

I've only done a little with resin - EnvirotexLite in my case - on my clay bead work.

One project was to give some of my textured beads a clear encased lampwork-like finish and I need a few more tries to get THAT working.

The other has been to make some pendants using small clay components suspended in the resin. Those are a ton of fun!

rosebud101 said...

I tried resin one time to make charms that reflected the place where I live. That's Minnesota. I added wild rice to the resin. It cured beautifully. I only wish I had a photo of the charms to show you. They were fun to make.

Maria said...

Hi Jennifer!
LOVE the pendant!
I haven't used resin yet, but I'm taking a class in a few weeks and I'm so excited about it! Thanks for sharing...Maria

Connie said...

i love resin too! I fill rusty bezels with wooden hands, barbie parts , brass bees - whatever i can find!

Mary Harding said...

Wonderful post about resin. I haven't tried it but I love the idea of using ceramic bezels. The step by step is so helpful. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

simplybeadiful said...

Hi Jennifer! Great the step by step pictures. Of course I have the Ice Resin from Susan's class...I think it is great! It is hard for me to know how much to mix up at a time, but I am learning. My new line of pendants uses these as the back. I let the resin sit up a bit to become thicker so that it doesn't slide off the glass tiles (I will send you a picture of my prototypes). I was delighted to find that the resin is not affected by the heat of my soldering iron! I haven't been floating anything in it, but I plan to use one of my SLK bezels to suspend a solitary mustard seed as a pendant for an artist friend who understands that symbolism. I will let you know how it goes! But I truly love your unique pendants and will have to order them when I get a chance!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Post ,Jennifer ! I have not yet tried this material but I have used Diamond Glaze and I love it ! I just recently started using this for my bezels and it's great! I love your work ! Happy Beading, Debra