Before I get to the love story, a couple things;
1. A little while back I completed a survey for Art Resin and they invited me to prepare a post about my experience with their product - I truly love working with it and felt especially grateful for their offer given the challenges I've had using it, as well as how they encouraged me to be honest about what worked for me.
2. A little background…
Once upon a time … life was pretty complicated, and truthfully – I was stressed out about everything; and to complicate the already complicated - I found myself trapped by circumstances at home most of the time, and every time I attempted to ‘get my shit in order’ I’d come face to face with a pile, a box, a bag, a container of some sort of ‘Things’ I’d meant to ‘do something with one day’ – then One Day came! While I didn’t know it that day, Re:Cycle Create Design was conceived.
Obviously, the prequel to this story is that I am predisposed to a condition called ‘Oh LOOK! Shiny’ concurrent to the ‘Wait NO! don’t throw that out I can use it …for…Something?!’ disorder. I think it is genetic: combine ultra-nostalgic mom and uber-environmentally conscious dad; you get me. Also, I ramble, sorry! (and apologize … I am Canadian after all! … and so is Art Resin – how awesome is that!)
Back to the story; at the time I was working at bike shop, and Oh LOOK! Shiny was getting tossed all.the.time! It was crazy making. Naturally, I would take the precious Shiny home. Then one day the bike shop had a party and the caterers were about to throw away all the serving platters – which simply wouldn’t do. The platters came home too, dozens of them. My colleagues found this endlessly amusing.
As The Complicated took over my life I had to take on work that meshed and say good-bye to the bike shop – with the endless taunting from the guys at the shop I received from my collecting all the shop’s unwanted stuff I felt compelled to create something for them as a good-bye present. The shop’s name and logo are based on an 11 tooth cog, and there was a tradition to have wine and cheese after the shop closed Saturdays, and there tended to be a scramble to gather the glasses and knives etc.; my idea was to use one the discarded catering platters and embed cogs … somehow. Rooky mistake, I use the first polyurethane I found, and well… it said ‘non-yellowing’ – but as you can see when I share that first project image – I tend to do it in black and white.
(As things developed so did my presentation – bare with my photography it gets better – clear it tricky to capture!)
While it wasn’t what I envisioned the guys at the shop like the concept and I was encouraged to try different methods and products. It took a few tries with other brands but eventually I found Art Resin and I loveloveloved it!
Being the honest type – beyond it being truly clear – it was the simplicity of its use that really drew me to it and lead me to all sorts of experimenting; and on that honesty tip – fairly haphazardly. There are very few surfaces in my work area (aka kitchen table) that don’t have a smear or drip. I’ve dipped the end of my ponytail in wet resin and not realized (believe it or not) until it was set and had to lop it off, discovered the hard way that if I don’t wear gloves ALL the TIME and cover my face I react pretty badly because I touch my face WAY more often that I ever knew! Art Resin is also self-leveling – and guess what, my apartment is definitely not!
Had I followed the really great and comprehensive instructions from the beginning I probably could have avoided some of these lessons – but hey! I learned and now I’d like to share some of the amazing ways I’ve been able to use it.
Almost all those platters were used in combination with Art Resin; when working with big flat surfaces making sure your work area is level and using the torch are the key!
Then came the penny trays!
The next thing I discovered it how Art Resin doesn’t stick to silicone (again if only I’d had read the instructions!) – and I could use all those fancy shaped ice-cube trays from Ikea that seems really awesome but make your ice taste like … well, silicone! Suddenly I could put anything into a mold – drill a hole in it and make it a necklace! Beads, candies, coins, dice, watch-guts, googly-eyes! And guess what – I could build them with bike chain frames.
Chain Charms became somewhat of a signature piece and I approached local race organizers about providing prizes; they took it one step further and commissioned slightly bigger (one link) versions for medals. I am particularly proud to have just finished my second set of awards for the 2nd Annual Midweek Women’s Criterium – Summer Series; medals and a plaque.
The process goes a little like this:
Medals: Clean and break a bike chain and create the frames, clean any other pieces being very careful to get all the grease off, painting (gold, silver, bronze).
Plaque: Set the pieces on the plaque as desired, apply the lettering.
Prepare Art Resin according to the instructions (1:1 measure and stir for 3 minutes).
Medals: coat the frames (on one side), coat the centres in Art Resin flat on a silicone baking liner (dice and gear together and logo alone).
Plaque: coat the entire surface.
Torch and dry overnight.
Medals: fit centre into the chain frames opposite side down and covered in painters tape to protect the finish.
Plaque: sand out any blemishes - it should be noted Art Resin is both sand-able and cut-able – and amazingly resilient – if you scuff it up and re-apply another layer – like magic it is crystal clear. You can see in the photo below the first coat on the plaque was bumpy and almost gritty from the roughness of the wood base of the plaque– I sanded the heck out of it!
Medals: coat the second side of the chain frames and centres.
Plaque: second coat to the entire surface and torch all the bubbles out.
Put everything somewhere really level and cover it. Let it dry completely!