So... I went back and forth about making this post. Since this is not only a personal creative challenge, but also a fundraising effort, I was a bit hesitant about whether or not I should. In the end, I decided to share it. I thought it might be helpful for me to organize my thoughts and go through the process again in my mind. I also think it's important to share some of the things that go awry from time to time. Being an artist isn't always walking down a path of pretty little lilies.
Have you ever had a great idea and thought how wonderful and easy it'll be to make happen... and then you get to it and it just does not want to cooperate? That's this project. I had a delightful idea to make some quick earrings. The concept was to use the new dies designed by Jill MacKay for Sizzix and cut out shrink plastic shapes and add some color and then make some quick earrings.
So here's what I made:
The first part of the project went off without a hitch. I really love Jill's new dies. She has created such fun shapes. And the BigShot made quick work of the shrink plastic film. The new dies will debut this spring! Look for them! They're great!
And then it came to adding color. We prepared the surfaces, used alcohol inks and some painting techniques and they looked pretty cool. But I had to keep fussing. So then I said, let me add some washes of paint and fixative and protective sealer and UV resin and other spray sealers and other paints.... etc. And that's where things started to go down hill.
When I'm working with a material like plastic, one of the things that I like to think about is elevating it and making it look really expensive and rich. I like to transform the material and make it feel special. Even though plastic is an incredible medium with tons of potential, if done wrong, it can look really cheap and "homemade" in a bad way.
Here's a close-up of one set of earring components. One of the effects that I wanted to achieve is to use the clear shrink plastic and embellish one side only. It has a really luminous quality, like looking through water or glass. My issue was that once I created the surface embellishment that I wanted, I couldn't find just the right sealers. Either they clumped, or ran, or were slightly tacky, or scraped off too easy, or weren't completely waterproof. Another issue was that some of the spray sealers I tried gave the pieces a very plastic vibe... and that's exactly what I was trying to avoid!
Here's another close up shot. I had issues with some of the sealers running underneath the pieces while I worked, gumming up what would eventually be the fronts. I also had problems with the sealers filling the holes. Since some of the sealers didn't stick very well, they'd come up and roll into little gummy balls that'd get stuck in the intricate pattern and harden there. Although the end results weren't what I hoped for, I did glean some good ideas and when I repeat this project, I'll have a better understanding of what to do better and how to make it more successful. I learned a lot, but I won't be selling these. Even though some of them have an interesting look, I just don't feel confident putting them out in the world yet.
This is another variation. So... if you didn't know already, I'm a little stubborn. Once I get an idea, it's hard for me to shake it. I'll tweak it and rework it and remake it until I make it happen. The problem with this is that I'm working on an incredibly tight timeline and there really isn't time for this. Since the earrings would be made primarily of the shrink film (with maybe sterling silver earwires), I can't really charge a premium for them. The return on investment for time and effort just simply isn't there. And it was somewhat disappointing coming to this realization. But such is the life as a creative professional.
Since these didn't work out, I won't have anything to post in the online store today, but keep checking back! I'll be adding lots of fun projects that I hope people will enjoy! CLICK HERE to visit the store and see other things that I made that are available.