Being My Own Poetry Muse

beautyshotforblogwlogo2It makes me a touch sad to say that I am not truly a fan of poetry. I used to be and even ran a small poetry group that self published during high school. Where did that piece of me go? I’m not sure. But a few months back during a painting retreat I was confronted with the opportunity to spontaneously put words to paper.
Handed a pile of disparate pieces of magazine fragments and clippings I was tasked to write a line, whatever came to mind, for each chunk. Promising myself I would remain in the moment, here is what manifested itself:
Pieces of stone,
Staring back through film,
Blotted, obscure,
Unfocused but clear,
Dropped in colors of black and white,
The architecture of rain,
Bright colors are
Not in my language
Sometimes smeared to muddy brown,
Or paisleys of odd shades
Tied with a ribbon of flowers
Riding atop a dream that has
Broken into pieces.
Haiku version:
Pieces of film bits,
Staring back through plain landscapes,
Unfocused but clear.
These are really very simple to make and the list of ingredients is short:
Products Used
ICE resin
Purchased silicon molds
Vintage 8mm film
Shrink plastic bit and bobs
Golden high flow ink
Mixing cups, stir sticks, and appropriate tools.
Sandpaper In varying grits (i used 220, 400, 500, 600)
Dremel with a small guage drill bit
Jewelry findings
Start by mixing up a larger batch of Ice Resin according to the instructions.
For the embedded film strip pieces, conical shapes and 20 mm ear gauges, I used purchased molds made by someone else so I could make specific shapes. (Please note that you can certainly do the same technique with Art Mechanique silicone putty and make your own shapes) Measure out your film pieces to fit into your molds and place them inside. Pour clear resin into your molds and allow to cure for 24 hours. Remove pieces. Sand the uneven edges with varying grades of sandpaper until smooth. I sprayed my sandpaper with water so the dust from the resin would be contained. (yes it is just that easy!)
Once sanded you have a choice. You can leave your creation matte or coat with a thin resin layer for glossy.
You can also see here that the sanding leaves some dust in any bubbles that you may have sanded open. A layer of resin will make these disappear or give your piece a wash with a toothbrush to remove the dust.
You can also see here that I used a Dremel to drill holes in the above pieces. After drilling add a wire into the hole with drops of resin and allow to cure.I chose to use these as beads rather than ear gauges since they were color experiments.
Above are another couple of pieces I molded then made into earrings. The inclusions are waste pieces of shrink plastic from another project or my “Pieces of stone..”
Which leads me to another line in my poem, “Bright colors are not in my language…”
But they really are!
Color is truly fabulous! And if you want to color your resin it’s an easy process as well.
Mix up a fairly large batch of resin according to instructions. You will need extra cups and mixing sticks for this technique. Once your resin has a rested pour some in your other cups. One for each color you intend to use. Using acrylic paints (I used Golden High Flow because they are strongly pigmented but you could use other brands of acrylic) put a few drops, yes drops, into your resin. Mix. You want to use as little as will make the color you would like. Too much and you risk resin that won’t completely cure.
You can see in the above picture there are some bubbles. Don’t worry about them. Ice resin de-gasses pretty much on it’s own or you can blow through a straw to disburse any surface bubbles once you’ve poured into the mold. So go ahead and pour! After a 24 hour cure you can pull the ring out, do a bit of sanding, and voila! You have a gorgeous new Ice resin piece to wear!
And, just as a side note of interest, I purchased the 8mm film so didn’t know what it featured on it’s frames. After embedding it I still couldn’t make out what the images were. But then I photographed the finished pieces. While editing the pictures look what I found…
 A group of men, yes…is there a carnival ride in the back? Or is one of the men an officer? I don’t know but I was surprised to be able to see any of it! What does it look like to you?
Susan creates and travels with her wearable art company
Charming Trinkets and you can find her blog at:
Susan’s Art Circus Blog!

Honoring Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild”

ICEResin Literature Pendant

“Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I wasn’t afraid.” –Cheryl Strayed

For this month’s literature theme, there was no question which book would be my focus: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, by Cheryl Strayed, a non-fiction work about Strayed’s early life and her hike on the PCT following her mother’s death, through which she overcame many challenges, and not necessarily the ones you would expect. In my many years of overseas postings, I’ve been in numerous book groups with friends from a variety of countries, but no book resonated like Wild. It generated the most personal, emotional book group I’ve ever experienced, in part because — like thousands of others who have been impacted by the book — I lost my non-smoker mother after a brief, painful battle with lung cancer, similar to the author. I could relate to nearly everything Strayed described in her narrative, on a visceral level. The only challenge for this project was choosing a quote to feature, as the book is full of impactful passages. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.


Supplies for the ICE Resin®-filled pendant.


ICE Resin®
Mixing cups & stir sticks
Art MechaniqueTM Paper Sealer
Clear packing tape
Disposable paintbrush
Art MechaniqueTM Mixed Metal Bezel
Paper components to place in bezel (map, heart, text)
Czech glass seed beads in matte mixed blues
Red white heart glass beads
Bronze clasp & soldered jump rings
Brass 20 gauge round wire
Brass eye pins
Accu-flex stringing material
Brass crimp beads
Brass bird charm

The first thing I did was create the components to include in my Art MechaniqueTM bezel.

Paper Components

When printing paper elements, I like to print multiples of the same image to allow for errors, and to print different sizes and colors of each image, so that I can test which will work best in the finished piece.

The background image in the bezel is a topographical map of west coast, home to the PCT. I digitally manipulated the map for visual interest and to match the color palette I wanted to incorporate.

West Coast Map

The digitally-manipulated map, printed on plain copier paper, and later cropped and cut to size to fit the bezel.

The heart — symbolizing Strayed’s love for her mother as well as the love she found for herself through her trials on the PCT — was created freehand on a computer with drawing software. The text I simply printed with word processing software.

Paper Components Trimmed

The paper components, trimmed. The hiking boots were under consideration, but ultimately not used.

I wanted the colors to stay bright, and the text pieces to really stand out, so I encased all the paper components in packing tape, and for the text pieces only, sealed the edges of the packing tape with a thin coat of Art MechaniqueTM Paper Sealer to ensure no resin would seep into the text papers.

Paper Sealed in Tape

The paper components after sealing with packing tape, and painting the edges of the text pieces with Art Mechanique(TM) Paper Sealer.

Beyond creating the paper parts, the process for this bezel is quite simple. Mix a small amount of ICE Resin® according to the package instructions, and use a stir stick to put a small amount in the bezel, pushing the resin all the way to the edges and corners of the bezel. Place the map component in the bezel, on top of the resin, and press it down, pushing any air bubbles out to the edges. Add a very small amount of resin on top of the map, pushing the resin to the edges of the bezel, to act as an adhesive sealing the layer. Let that layer set up for a few hours.

First layer

Note how little ICE Resin® is on top of the map image.

Mix another small batch of ICE Resin® and add a thicker layer on top of the map, to build dimension for the heart layer.

ICE Resin Layer

Pour ICE Resin® to create the first depth layer on top of the map layer.

Let this thicker layer set up until it’s firm, but still tacky, and place the paper heart component on the tacky resin.

Heart layer

Position the heart layer and press onto the tacky ICE Resin®.

Apply more resin on top of the heart layer, filling nearly to the top of the bezel. Let that layer set up until solid, but still slightly tacky.

Heart Topped with ICE Resin

The heart layer topped with another layer of ICE Resin®.

Using the tackiness of the ICE Resin® to hold the text in place, position the text components. If you make a mistake in placement, simply peel the text piece up and reposition.

Text Layer Positioned

With the text is sealed in packing tape, and the ICE Resin® firm but slightly tacky, it’s easy to peel and reposition the text pieces as needed.

Add another layer of ICE Resin® on top of the text layer, sealing and securing the text, creating a dome effect. Add additional layers of ICE Resin® until you achieve the dome height you desire.

Final ICE Resin Layer

Seal the text layer with additional ICE Resin®.

When the bezel is completely cured, incorporate into a finished piece of jewelry.

Necklace Strung

The finished necklace strung with glass beads and white heart drops.


A bird charm to symbolize flying away, and ultimately soaring.

ICEResin Literature Pendant

I hope this project inspires you to create something celebrating a piece of literature that’s meaningful to you!

For more about my work, go to:
My blog:

Use the firm but tacky stage of ICE Resin to add layers within bezels.

Do You Believe? Talisman Project Week 3

A word for luck.

A word to remind you what is important.

Put it on a piece of jewelry, or something else you can wear or carry with you and it becomes a Talisman.

We all need a little nudge in the right direction – do you believe in fairy tales?

you’ll have to visit Stardust in my Pocket for the story of Carol La Valley’s Talisman.

Talisman Project ICE Resin

Previous Talismans:

Jen Cushman

Donna Salazar

More about the Talisman Project HERE.

More coming in the weeks ahead!

Are you a designer who has a passionate, supreme focus this year and want to be a part of the Talisman Project? Convo carol (at)

ICE Resin Talisman project

Word of the Year

Greetings and salutations!

When Jen Cushman and Mixed-Media Artist and Designer Donna Salazar got to chatting at CHA (the Craft and Hobby Association trade show in January), Donna was wearing a necklace that intrigued Jen.

It was Donna’s “word of the year” to live by…

what Susan Lenart Kazmer might refer to as a Talisman

what some people might refer to as a lucky charm.

When Susan traveled the world in the early 1990s collecting, studying and selling beads and later helped to found the Greater Chicago Bead Society, she learned that in all cultures, humans adorn themselves for some type of symbolical representation. These studies led her to create jewelry from her own culture from found objects. Her work in Talismans, amulets and gypsy magic and healing has been a large focus of Susan’s work for the past 20+ years. You will see the word Talisman used often at ICE Resin. It’s because we believe that words have power, and meaning. Words, combined with ICE Resin and imagery and our bezels helps others to create powerful personal artifacts — Jewelry — that can be used to help the wearer feel focused or protected or even loved in some magical way.

So begins the ICE Resin Talisman project, starting with none other than designer Donna Salazar! Thanks Donna!  Link: Discover STRENGTH necklace.

What is your Talisman?

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