Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday

Hi all! I was going to just write a post about a new line of pendants I've been working on for quite awhile now, but first I want to point out the snazzy new box to the right. It's my ArtFire store with a check out built in! How amazingly cool is that! I have to say the ArtFire folks know how to make an online seller happy. Lots of fun features, quick turn around and a team interested in feedback leads to some great innovations. So feel free to browse my shop over there and check out in 28 seconds! 28 seconds!

Now that I have all the fan girl love out of my system, I'd like to show you what I've been working on! I'm so excited about it. In December, we went to Ovar, Portugal to visit Keath's family. We had a wonderful time there. The people were all so welcoming and kind, the scenery was beautiful and the ambience in the small town of Ovar was delightful.

The outsides of a large number of the houses in Ovar are covered in beautiful tiles. Ovar is known as a living museum of tile and it is a bit like walking around a museum. There's something wonderful to see on every house.The older ones are hand painted, some newer ones are prefab, but they're all lovely and they give the town such a unique look. My family was laughing at me because I would point out tiles I liked every few minutes as we walked to the markets or the cafes. Wandering the streets was made all the more fun by the prospect of coming across new tiles. On our last day in Ovar, I took the camera out and took photos of all the tiles that grabbed my attention. I had no specific plans for the photos at that time, but I just had to have them.

Once we got home, I decided to make pendants out of the pictures. I first attempted to laquer them onto tiles I made out of polymer clay, but that looked sloppy and I wasn't happy with the results. Baking polymer clay in our oven also set the smoke detector off a lot and filled the whole rig with odd fumes, so I nixed that idea.

The plan I finally settled on was to set the photos in resin. Shopping for the correct combination of paper cutters and resin molds was a bit overwhelming, but I finally wound up with a square cutter used for scrapbooking and a mold for making chocolate mints. I practiced resin skills with some random shapes from the mold sheet I bought, but I had to put them outside to cure for the first few hours and that led to some cloudiness. I was really happy with the fact that the cute little turtle I bought at Monument Valley was encased with his broken foot forever in resin and he didn't turn too cloudy. Cute, huh? Skills aquired, I set out to make my pendants.

I did twelve different photos in the twelve wells and carefully poured the resin in, squishing the photos down with a dowel to make sure all the air bubbles were out. Then it was off to the room with a vent to cure! After 72 hours, my little babies were ready for unmolding. Despite the warnings from Easy Cast about not using molds such as chocolate or soap, they came out quite easily. A little filing on the edges and they were lovely. The picture is intentionally bad here but you get the idea of them; I don't want this to turn up on some site to be messed with - this was a lot of work! ;-)

Next step is to attach those tags you see onto the back. I'm guessing some sanding will be necessary in order to get the glue to stick, so I'm going to wait for a day when it's not raining and I can do that outside. I don't want resin dust all over my house!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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