How and why Susan created ICE Resin

Posted on | May 30, 2016 | No Comments

Whenever I’m doing interviews with the press, and often when I’m teaching, I’m asked this question: “Why did you invent ICE Resin?”

Here is a little bit of my history of how I started working as an artist and how ICE Resin came to be.

When I graduated from Southern Illinois University, after spending my first two years of collage at the Chicago Art Institute, I started a fashion company called LenArt Collection. This was original commercial work. To do work at this kind of level, I employed one silversmith and two assemblers. I had a national sales rep and three regional sales reps who sold LenArt Collection wholesale to Barney’s New York in Chicago, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Peruvian Connection, Nordstrom, Henry Bengal’s New York and other stores. Although I realize it was a lot for someone right out of collage to run a business on this scale, it seemed completely natural to me because I grew up learning about business from my father and because the Chicago Art Institute really sets its students on a track to work commercially. I learned very early on how to work very quickly and very hard. To this day, one of the things I’m best at is building lines of jewelry and accessories.

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After doing LenArt Collection for a while, I decided that I wanted to try something else. I also had my son and daughter and was unable to work 24/7 like I was used to.  I started building work for high-end galleries and then I learned of this new opportunity at the time in education to travel and teach. The teaching and selling of my work provided me financial stability on a part time basis, so I decided to use my time to build a really sophisticated body of work.

At that time, I was really interested in transparency. Transparent fabric, transparent fiber, cast glass, clear beads, mica… any material, really, that could deepen my work with a little bit of obscurity. I began to explore working with resins to get the look I wanted but nothing performed the way I needed it to as an artist building pieces for museums and galleries. At the same time I was experimenting with transparency and resin, I was also working on a strong look with cold joins, found objects, deconstructed objects and really interesting attachments. I went into my studio and went really deep into building something no one had really ever seen before in art world as it related to jewelry. I came out with my Circus Troupe figurative pieces that combined cast resin figures with cold joins and found objects and metalwork and fibers. The piece you see below is called “The Opera Singer.” Her head, arms and hands and legs are cast from ICE Resin.

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This piece, The Key to Freedom, can be taken apart and worn as jewelry. He has many cast resin parts. I dreamt of a strong transparent product that I could embed words, prayers and would last my lifetime. Because of my love and purpose, I needed to create a jeweler’s grade, super clear and fairly safe resin. I worked with a chemist and came up with this pretty amazing product. This piece won an international award in the art world for Most Innovative Use of the Medium. The key to get him untangled, I cast in his head.

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I never expected ICE Resin to become the art medium that it has. I created it for myself…to meet the expectations I needed to build the body of work I wanted to build. One of the most rewarding things about bringing ICE Resin to market is that it is now an art product used by thousands of artists all over the world. People who sell their work, who build jewelry, who need a product that will stand the test of time, they all love ICE Resin in the same way I do. It’s very gratifying.

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Art Takes a Village

Posted on | May 27, 2016 | 1 Comment

Today we have a very special Guest Post from Jolee Jane, a wonderful artist with a big beautiful heart. She’s president and founder of an art non-profit and is here to tell you a little bit about what she does. We hope you are inspired by Jolee as we are!

***

art therapy projectHello there! My name is Jolee Jane Pollock and I’d like to take a moment to introduce my non-profit organization, Art Takes a Village. Founded in January of 2007,  Art Takes a Village is a public charity organization focusing on providing therapeutic art programs in a variety of settings. Our mission is to provide an art therapy program in areas lacking the ability and or funding. Our program reaches out to at-risk youth and adults by providing them with instructor-led art projects, which allow them to look within themselves in a positive way, as well as gain confidence through learning a creative outlet.

I’ve been facilitating an art therapy class at a local woman’s drug rehab center for over 2 years. I can’t express how fulfilling this interaction is, to be even a small part of their recovery is life changing. I want to share this experience with fellow artists – the gifts we have been given in our patience filled skills and design approach are meant to be shared and expressed! This is why I structured a non profit to support just that. Our goal its to bring the joy of mixed media and paper crafts to those who need to reconnect with the inner artist free of charge and your support will provide just that! Any class or item purchased through Art Takes a Village will monetarily support the classes taught at the shelters, this means 100% of the profit made goes into the program.

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Hearts class Jolee Jane teaches using hammered wire for the bezel and ICE Resin.

One of our most popular classes has been making jewelry with charms I created from wire and ICE Resin. As an artist, I create vessels for my found object art and I always seal and protect them with ICE Resin. The First time I used ICE Resin, I was inspired by the ease of its application and pure JOY I felt when it hardened I couldn’t wait to share with my students.  I love the outdoors, especially hiking in the trees, some of my workshops involve outings where we go to the forest and gather organic treasures to showcase in our handmade vessels. They are always so beautifully enhanced when sealed in resin.

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Jolee Jane’s Found Object Vessels sealed in ICE Resin are some of her favorite works of art to create.

 

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Teaching one of her many art therapy classes as part of her work and dedication to Art Takes a Village.

Please visit our website Art Takes a Village to learn more about how to contribute to our organization. Please follow my blog for even more artistic inspiration. Be sure to “Like” Art Takes a Village on our Facebook Business Page.

Heat Patina Imagery on Copper Sheet

Posted on | May 26, 2016 | 2 Comments

Mixed Media Artist A. Marie from the 2016 Design Team has a great video today on how to create rubber stamped images on thin copper sheeting with heat patina. The cool part about her video is that for those of you who might be a tad fearful about using a torch, she shows you how to get a great effect with a simple craft heat gun. She’s also teaching embossing and debossing and cold enameling techniques using the Susan Lenart Kazmer Relique powders. It doesn’t matter if you’re a jewelry maker, card maker, scrapbooker or textile artist; this video’s techniques are applicable to everyone.

 

A. Marie is a mixed media, jewelry artist, and poet, who lives in Texas and spends most of her time chasing daydreams in her studio and trying to spread love and healing with her ever-the-vociferous muse guiding her.  Learn more about her below.

Website:  From the Breath of Daydreams

Blog:  fromthebreathofdaydreams.blogspot.com

Facebook: facebook.com/AMarieFromtheBreathofDaydreams

Twitter:  twitter.com/FTBODD

Instagram:  Instagram.com/fromthebreathofdaydreams

Pinterest: pinterest.com/fromthebreathof

 

Creating a Faerie Magical Purse

Posted on | May 25, 2016 | 4 Comments

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Bright and beautiful mornings to each of you! A. Marie here getting ready to “Mix it up!”  I had absolutely no idea what I was going to create at first this month. While a million things normally come to my mind when the words “mixed media” comes up, this time my brain completely blanked out.

Then one day it just hit me. I had this thought of creating something I love. Though I haven’t made a purse in a few years, I absolutely adore creating unique, small purses. I’m going to let you in on a secret. At first, I started making one out of a mouthwash bottle. All was going well until I decided not to pay attention to my heat gun for a few seconds too long. That beautiful potential of a plastic reincarnation of adornment shriveled up and puckered so quickly, I’m absolutely certain it longed to be a raisin in its next life. My heat gun gave it a good head start, that’s for sure! It just wasn’t meant to be. So I grabbed my one remaining craft pencil case and decided I was going to create a little dream purse that screams “A. Marie!”

Want to know you you can create an enchanting purple faerie purse?  Gather up the supplies below and we can get started.

IRDTFaeriePurse2016Supplies

Supply List:

-ICE Resin®and mixing supplies.
-ICE Resin® Paper Sealer
-Iced Enamels™ Medium
-Iced Enamels™ Relique (in assorted colors)
-Iced Enamels™ Shattered Fire Opals
-ICE Resin® Art Mechanique Bezels
-Tim Holtz® Adirondack Alcohol Inks (in assorted colors)
-Tim Holtz® Adirondack Alcohol Blending Solution
-Tim Holtz® Adirondack Alcohol Blending Pen
-Tim Holtz® Tissue Tape (assorted rolls)
-Tim Holtz® Idea-ology Tissue Wrap
-Ranger® Antiquities Tanzanite Embossing Powder
-Viva® Precious Metal Color Paints (in assorted colors)
-Dorand® Wax Medium
-Locktite® Super Glue
-Balsa Wood Pencil Holder
-Various Faerie Charms
-Assorted Findings
-Brass Chain
-S-Lon Beading Thread
-Silk Sari Ribbon
-Antique Button
-Mother-of-Pearl Crescent Moon Beads
-Assorted Glass Beads and gemstones
-Finishing nails

Tool List:

-Butane Torch
-Heat Gun
-Teflon Stylus
-Self-Locking Tweezers
-Hammer
-File
-Phillips Screwdriver
-Quick Clamps
-Basic Jewelers Pliers
-Wood-burner
-Sewing Needle
-Die Cut Machine
-Sizzix® Movers & Shapers Tim Holtz® Alterations, Butterflies Die

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First things first, I started with this small pencil case.  Don’t you just love a blank canvas waiting to be adorned?

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Using a Phillips Screwdriver, I unfastened the knob, removed the lacing, and set the tiny brass screw, washer, and knob to the side so that I could reattach some of them later.

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Next, I gathered some Tim Holtz® Tissue Tape and Tissue along with ICE Resin® Paper Sealer and covered the exterior of the case in a menagerie of enchanting script and imagery. I used a file to gently remove the paper from the edges, and sealed the piece twice with the sealer, using my heat gun to carefully dry it between coats.

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Using a wood burning tool, or in my case a paper burning tool, I decorated the circumference of each side of the case with tiny dots that burned through the paper into the wood-adding a charmed warmth to the fanciful papers.

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Then I mixed three different shades of Viva® Precious Metal Colour Paints to get the specific shade of icy blue that I wanted, and then painted the interior of the case twice.  Carefully drying with the heat gun each time.

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Next, I sprinkled Iced Enamels™ Relique Silver and Ranger® Antiquities Tanzanite embossing powders inside the bottom of the purse, just creating a dusting of color. I carefully heated the surface from below, making sure not to get the paint too hot as the powders melted.

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After that, I grabbed several shades of alcohol ink and got crazy coloring the purse a magical mixture of all the vibrant plays of color in an actual Tanzanite stone. No, I’m not saying it looks like Tanzanite, but it’s certainly inspired by it.

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The findings and knob above also got some alcohol ink added to them, while I had it out.

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Then I die-cut a butterfly out of 36 gauge copper sheet, and proceeded to heat patina it using the technique I’m sharing in my design team video for this project. Please check it out if you’d like to see how to do it yourself.

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Once finished, I added the copper butterfly and other sparkly goodness including Iced EnamelsShattered Fire Opals to the bottom of the purse, then covered it with ICE Resin® and allowed it to dry over night.

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The next day, I wrapped the cover around the top of the case just a little further and secured it with Locktite® glue. I added one small black finishing nail on each side, just to give it a little extra security. I tweaked the ring at the top of the faerie pendants so that the purse’s strap won’t be rubbing against the lid, then adhered them to the sides using the Locktight® and holding them in place with the small quick clamps. Don’t you just love those little burned holes forming another crescent beneath the pendant?

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When I filled the bottom of the purse with ICE Resin®, I also added some of beauties to the bezels, and added the additional faerie charms on top. I did need to cut away their loops, and file the surface flat, then seal it before adding them to the pieces. Once everything dried, I used the alcohol blending tool™ to paint the bezels with two shades of alcohol ink. I then used the wax to seal each of the three pieces. The knob was painted just like the case. The underside of it is the same color of paint as the inside of the case. I did not put wax on the very bottom of the knob because I planned on permanently adhering it to the purse in the next step.

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Then I added the knob along with the elegant sari ribbon I used to secure the purse closed.  Check out the tiny antique button on the top that holds the loop together that slips over the knob.  If you’d like to find out why that button is special, you can come to my blog where I’ll share more of the personal story and inspiration behind this creation.

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A splash of alcohol ink makes these mother-of-pearl moons glow.  I sealed them with wax once they achieved their full magical glory.

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After that, I added the chain using the Tim Holtz® Wire Pins. I also weaved some suede up through the chain links. I used one of the Ice Resin® Art Mechanique bezels centered at the top of the chain strap loop. It will rest nicely upon the shoulder, adding a subtle hint of sparkle. Or it will fit comfortably in the hand- whichever way the purse is carried. I think it also provides a nice “weight” for when hanging the purse in a variety of situations.

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Then I assembled the adorable faerie dangles, as well as adding some faceted glass beads to the safety pin, and adhering the beautiful moons.  They ended up looking a little something like this.  I made sure to wax the entire surface of the purse, giving it a more leathery glow instead of the shiny look it had before.

Here’s a couple of photographs of the purse at different angles.

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I’m so happy to have this beautiful, one-of-a-kind purse that screams A. Marie.  I gotta say, I look good rocking this purse!

Until next time, may your muse shine brightly!

A. Marie is a mixed media, jewelry artist, and poet, who lives in Texas and spends most of her time chasing daydreams in her studio and trying to spread love and healing with her ever-the-vociferous muse guiding her.  Learn more about her below.

Website:  From the Breath of Daydreams

Blog:  fromthebreathofdaydreams.blogspot.com

Facebook: facebook.com/AMarieFromtheBreathofDaydreams

Twitter:  twitter.com/FTBODD

Instagram:  Instagram.com/fromthebreathofdaydreams

Pinterest: pinterest.com/fromthebreathof

 

Take a peek – Susan’s Photo Blog

Posted on | May 24, 2016 | No Comments

Words to Grow By

(excerpt from Making Connections A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed Media Artists by Susan Lenart Kazmer)

Exploration came naturally to Susan, who grew up with four sisters whose hijinks were overseen by an understanding mom. Whether she built towers. heaved snowballs or rolled around in the snowy yard of her Chicago home, she was always free to dare as a child. As an artist, she explored dozens of media en route to becoming a multi-media jeweler.

“Looking back over a 20-year career, I remember a few key phrases that actually changed the direction of my life. During a beading class I took early early on in collage, I wanted to use an object that had a hole in it. My instructor said ‘If there is a hole, utilize it. Don’t let that be unintentional. Everything in your work has to be intended.’ I realized then that everything in my work should be utilized and that even negative space has to be intentional,” says Susan.

“My teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago used to say ‘Make each piece your own.’ Important advice I emphasize in my classes. If you paint right from the tube, you have what everybody else has, but if you mix your color that is your own. When I take a found object – a ruler or protractor, for example – and alter it in the slightest degree, I am making it different than what anyone can buy in the store, and I am making it my own.”

Take a peek at Susan’s Instagram blog. As an artist, she loves photo storytelling. Here’s a look of recent images. For more, follow Susan on Instagram at https;//instagram.com/SusanLenartKazmer 

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