Fusing crystals and casting resin together
Each individual component is painstakingly crafted and prepared before being put into a composition. Let me tell you how.
The raw materials
Resin is a tricky compound to work with. It requires certain conditions to be met and a whole range of moulds, release agents, mixing and weighing equipment is required.
Add in a degassing chamber (to release bubbles) and a hundred different pigments, metallic powders and ink tints and you begin to see that creating 3D objects from a liquid is anything but straightforward.
The cast resin shapes form the backbone of these artworks. They are designed, cast, placed and arranged with great care and I have created some truly unusual and beautiful forms of colour, shape and texture.
To me it feels a similar process to that of a Michelin starred chef; you spend hours perfecting the tiniest flavour for that special dish – along with a number of others – to create a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
That’s what these crystal and resin artworks are like – the perfect embodiment of skill, patience and creative freedom.
Oh, and they look freakin’ fantastic to by the way!
Making everything by hand
Apart from buying in Swarovski crystals and rhinestones everything is made by hand.
Every cube, ring, square and even the frame itself is hand made. Each component is created away from the aluminium base and surrounding frame. When all the cast resin pieces have been made (and are cured) they are all individually cut down to size (if required) and hand polished.
The exterior frame is a laser cut light alloy with a 3mm aluminium backing plate set inside it. When the basic layout of blocks is set I stick them down with a very fine resin and let that cure for 24 hrs. Then I mix up the base layer that surrounds the cast shapes. The backgrounds are all slightly different on each of the artworks.
The background layers contain a kilo and a half of resin mixed with an assortment of metallic gels and pigments to create the metal-sheen effects. I wanted this part of the artwork to look beautiful so I have been very careful with it; fortunately it also acts as an extra bonding force, which is handy!
After another 48hrs of curing I begin to put on the crystals, which are a mixture of vintage Swarovski and rhinestones. Their facets are carefully chosen and only the best chatons are used.
When the front is complete I turn the artwork over and resin bond a laser cut, stainless steel tag on with a unique identifying number and my logo. My signature is then added and the whole thing is further cast in resin to seal it for good.
The Swarovski connection
I had the idea of using crystals in my art a long time ago but I never got round to actually doing anything about it until recently.
I tried embedding them in my enamel paint paintings but for some reason it never really worked. So with these new artworks I decided to grab a comprehensive selection (along with some rhinestones) and see what I could do.
Swarovski have a long history of producing the finest quality crystal so I went and got a load – including some genuine vintage ones.
And I have to say I am really happy with the added textures they bring. The most noticeable of these is the light reflection as you walk around – something I can’t show on a static photograph. But I imagine you can picture what I mean.
The ones you see bonded to the top surface are only half the story though as you can find them randomly cast them into some of the resin blocks and the odd clear ring as well. Nice!
The finished pieces
There are only five (see below).
The reason? They are so time consuming to create I simply can’t justify any more resources for them at the moment. Perhaps I may do some more but for now there will be only five.
Think of them this way: when you go out to the best restaurant and eat the most exquisite food it contributes to a dining experience that you will remember for a long time.
You get a more intense and very different emotional response dining like this than you would reasonably expect from a pizza. It’s about the skill, the artistry and the flavour experience that counts, not the need to be fed because you are hungry (that’s the role of the local curry house for me!).
And so too is the visual experience with these crystal and resin artworks.
They aren’t very big (500mm square) and what’s on them doesn’t fill up the whole artwork but what you do get is an unparalleled level of detail and attention, five exquisitely hand-crafted compositions and a visual feast that will keep on giving long after you’ve forgotten about your visit to that Michelin starred restaurant.
Where to next?
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