Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jill MacKay Bezel Experimentations...

The delightful, Jill MacKay sent me some bezels from her new line from Darice Inc. to experiment with. I was really impressed with the craftsmanship and how nice the sterling silver bezels were. One of the distinguishable perks is that these bezels have nice, high walls. This is perfect for all manner of goodies to be embedded or to have multiple layers of resin poured.

Below are a few of my experimentations.
I wanted to add a little bit of color, but still retain the arabesque lattice-work design in the background. I used vintage sequins from Gail Crosman Moore. Since the sequins are slightly cupped in shape, it's tricky to get them embedded without trapping a lot of air-bubbles. The secret is pouring a layer first, then sprinkling the sequins in, and then topping it off with another layer. Using a tooth pick, I was able to flip around the sequins in the resin, releasing any air-bubbles.

I like how this turned out, even though it turned over very different than I had imagined. I sprinkled in vintage simulated pearls and some Swarovski crystals. You might ask yourself, "Where are the Swarovski crystals?" Good question. Apparently after being submerged in the resin, the crystals seem to disappear. I imagine it has something to do with the refraction of light and how the facets are embedded in resin, but I'm not sure. If you look really closely, you can see the most subtle color differences sprinkled throughout from the black diamond Swarovski crystals. I'm going to try to half-way embed the crystals next time. Even though it didn't turn out quite how I imagined, I do like how the pearls look like some kind of enchanted fruit on the vine of a magical plant.

For those that love Steampunk, these are perfect! I could stack and layer watch gears and cogs all day. Ideally I would have had some of the underlying design motif to come through a little more, but unfortunately knocked my carefully stacked parts over while pouring the resin. Really, the possibilities are endless!

The earrings are some of my favorites! I love the studded sides and how even for a substantial sized set of bezels, they are surprisingly lightweight. For these I scanned in a butterfly from a field-guide and printed it out on a white background. I then went to my local copy shop and color-copied them onto wet media acetate. It's important to use a heat-set or laser printer, because an inkjet's ink will lift in the resin. Once I had the copies on the wet-media acetate, I trimmed them and submerged them in the resin. Since the wet media acetate doesn't breathe and isn't porous, it's necessary to remove the air-bubbles trapped underneath the plastic. I think these came out fantastic! I love how the pattern of the butterfly's wings were overlaid on top of Jill's design. It adds color and personalizes them. (An added bonus is that the resin causes the ink to seem brighter and more saturated.)

I definitely recommend Jill MacKay's new line of bezels. They're a versatile set of components perfect for customization.

Required FTC Disclosure: These items came free of charge. I was not paid by Jill MacKay or Darice INC. for my honest review of their products.


Diana Ptaszynski said...

They look awesome Andrew. I'm not a huge steampunk fan but I really like your steampunk piece. It's my favorite out of all of them actually.

csd said...

Andrew, your resin pendants are beautiful and wonderful inspirations! They are among the best I have ever seen!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, those look great! And they look fun to make.

lorrwill said...

.....that's me with the wind knocked out of my sails by the awesomeness of this.

I have been scared to venture into resin. But this has been all kinds of inspirational.

Extremely well done as usual Mr. Andrew.

Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

They look great and love, love, love that steampunk piece.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Leslie,

You'll have to come over one day for a play date when the weather warms up. I think you're one of my closest bead friends.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for your nice words. I am glad that these have been inspiring. I've got lots of ideas of what I'm going to do next with the bracelets that I have that are also from the same series!

OH! Did I mention how affordable her pieces are? I was stunned at how inexpensive they were. I was like, "That's the wholesale price, right?" And was amazed to find out that they were actually retailing for so little. They're a steal!

Jean Hutter said...

Andrew these are amazing - oh boy something new for me to think about trying. I love them all especially the butterfly earrings.

Anonymous said...


I have never used resin before; I am just starting to read about using this with polymer clay.

In your first photo, you used sequins under a layer of resin. I am unable to tell from the picture on my computer monitor. Do the sequins retain their sparkle and their ability to refract light?

Thanks in advance for your answer.


Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Rebecca,

A helpful book to pick up is my sister's book, Enchanted Adornments. You can check it out by going to the link on the sidebar of this blog. It has step by step instructions on how to work with most resins, as well as a troubleshooting guide that we've honed from personal experience.

As far as the sequins go, apparently so! These ones are slightly "coned" in shape and the facets do reflect light and have an interference blue color.

Jeanne Rhea said...

About the sequins disappearing--I have found that almost any clear glass or plastic when under resin will almost completely disappear. I solved the problem by using the real Swarovski crystals and applying them after the resin has set up for about four hours and longer if really deep resin. It is still sticky enough to hold the crystal, but it should not sink to the bottom. It of course is above the resin, but that is the only way I have found for it to stay sparkly. There are a lot of plastic "crystals" that really disappear if resin completely covers them and they do not have the sparkle that glass has even if they are left on top of the resin.

Hope this helps and thanks for stopping by my blog. I have enjoyed checking yours out!

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Jeanne Rhea,

Yeah, even the real Swarovski crystals disappear. I used some seconds that they'll occasionally sell that don't have holes and they disappeared completely.

I'm thinking about using some of the new shapes and partially embedding them... we'll see.

Thanks though for sharing!