I love designing and making bespoke jewellery, but I also love to be taken out of my comfort zone and challenged to do new and exciting things with my magical medium of choice- eco resin. I've recently worked on a few alternative pieces made from it and not only were the results even better than I could imagine, it also gave me a new and better understanding of my material.
As a creative, it's so important to me to be constantly learning and improving my technique. Experimentation is the key to becoming a master of your chosen craft as you comprehensively learn about all aspects and the inherent quirks of your material. Yes, there are plenty of disasters, but I like to think of them as being awkward stepping stones to where you want to get to in the end. You will get there eventually!
I firstly worked on some personal projects I had been meaning to tackle. The first was an old copper Swan Brand kettle from the 1950's. It was found in a shed on my boyfriend Paul's farm. It looked as though it had been the residence of generations of mice and other little creatures and was in dire need of a good scrub! I took on the task, as another passion of mine is re-vamping old pieces of furniture and little oddities. After several long hours of scrubbing, Brasso and polishing I managed to achieve a somewhat sparkly clean finish to the copper. I decided to paint the bakelite handle to spruce it up a little and I also decided to make a finial for the top of the lid as all that remained was a sorry looking rusty nail.
I wanted to create a finial that would add an intriguing aspect to the kettle, while still staying true to its origins as a piece of ephemera with its roots deep in rural Irish farm life. I decided to create a globe of eco resin, which had encased tendrils of lichen from Paul's farm, as it physically contained a piece of its original location, as well as exuding an organic and natural element. I also added in speckles of copper leaf to compliment the body of the copper kettle. The result, I think is really stunning and has given a whole new lease of life to this simple little kettle.
Another project I set myself was to revive an old bookcase I had in my studio. I wanted a pretty and functional piece to house all of my molds and my finds from my daily walks. I had an old Billy bookcase and a glass display case from Ikea. I wasn't too fond of either, so out came the thinking cap! I decided to sit the case on top of the Billy unit, but the white veneer was not igniting any inspiration, so the paint brush was called on duty. I gave a good few coats to both cases with a lovely duck egg blue and added doors onto the Billy to finish off the look and keep dust and curious Kitties off the contents.
The finishing touch were the knobs on the glass display doors. I created two eco resin globes tinted with a custom dye in a warm turquoise and shards of broken copper leaf. I think the overall effect is really beautiful and adds a lovely magical touch to the unit, as well as making it a truly unique and bespoke piece of furniture.
Finally, I was commissioned by a lovely client to design and make a presentation block or paper weight commemorating a memorable trip he had taken to the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica. He had brought back a beautiful little stone, which was imbued with significant memories, and he wanted to be able to showcase the stone in a unique object.
Eco resin was the perfect choice to do this. I had never made a paper weight before, so I was very excited to try a new form as well as being slightly nervous! I did a practice on a stone from the garden first and all went well, so now was the moment to do it for real. I cast the stone in layers, each layer I babysat for a half an hour to make sure no bubbles occurred. As I degas my resin, this was not such a problem. However, as stones are an organic material, you never know how they will react once placed in the resin. Air bubbles can be released once the stone is inside due to pin-point holes or crevices that may occur in the stones surface, which may not be noticeable on first inspection.
Luckily, the stone was smooth and had no hidden surprises! Pulling it out of the mold was a real treat- the stone was beautifully suspended within the resin, allowing you to see every contour, angle and detail. It was wonderfully tactile, had a great sense of weight to it and was crystal clear. I was thrilled with the results and so was my client:
The piece arrived this morning. Just stunning. Thank you SO much for doing a remarkable job with this. It looks so beautiful in the resin. I think the beauty of the stone is enhanced by it. This will certainly stir the memory banks every time I look at this. It will take pride of place on my desk at home. I shall treasure it. The presentation box is lovely as well.
I shall definitely come back to you when I need more work done like this.
It has given me new confidence to continue experimenting with eco resin and challenging myself to try new projects. I'll definitely be making more paper weights, I think a botanical version will be next on my agenda!
If there's an idea you have for a bespoke eco resin piece, be it a paper weight, door/drawer knobs or whatever your imagination can conjure up, please do get in touch to discuss ideas. I'm more than happy to create something unique and memorable for you that will last a lifetime.
– Gillian x