Hi there! Finally, I’ve achieved the result I’ve been looking for so long. I’ve got to share this – it’s too good to keep all to myself.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison
I’ve been experimenting on and off for years, working to find an inexpensive, non-complicated way to reproduce dichroic glass without actually getting involved in learning how to lampwork. (Lampworking is using a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass to make beads.)
When I say experimenting, I’m so not kidding. :-D I first tried layering foil and other shimmery inclusions in translucent polymer clay. That was definitely one of the ways that didn’t work. The clay isn’t even close to transparent enough to really see the inclusions. Okay, so I went back to the drawing board, I’ll confess, I looked somewhat perplexed during this period of time.
I put the idea down, stepped away, and fiddled around with other projects that made me smile. During this time, I learned how to make canes, Skinner blends, faux agate slices, faux goldstone, faux malachite and even faux opals. I’ll eventually be making these again for sales in my supplies section. They really are beautiful, and the faux stone work, when done well and polished to a glimmering shine, hard to distinguish from the real thing. I honed my skills with off loom seed bead weaving, learning new stitches – peyote and herringbone, to name a couple. Always though, in the back of my mind, was the nagging pull to get back to the idea that seemed to want me to fail.
My next attempt was to make pendant pieces out of polymer clay, adding inclusions to the surface and melting embossing powder over the pendant to get the shimmery look of dichroic glass. That worked, kind of. The heat gun that I used to melt the embossing powder also melted some of the inclusions. It looked neat but had one other key issue that prevented me from pursuing that method. The melted embossing powder didn’t want to stay on the surface long enough to cool and solidify. What I envisioned – beautiful shimmering dichroic-look pendants with perfectly smooth surfaces that reflected light, while still allowing the viewer to peer into a deeper world inside the “glass”. What really happened – melted tiny bits of inclusionary elements sitting in puddles of cooling liquid around - not on or in the pendant. Okay. That was disastrous failure…I mean that was the second way this idea didn’t work.
Pause. LONG break from the pursuit of this uber frustrating failure of an idea. What? Oh. Yeah. Long break from working toward a viable solution for my faux dichro idea. ;-)
A couple of months ago, I was kicking the idea around again, as I’ve done so often over the past 5 years or so, never really getting down to brass tacks to try it again. My oldest son and I were sitting at my craft table, just fiddling around, really. I somehow got the idea to dig out a well in an unbaked clay piece to hold the inclusions, melting the embossing powder in layers to give the faux dichro a ton of depth. I asked him to make a shape, any shape, as long as it was at least a half inch thick. He and I managed to make a leaf like shape with 1/2 inch high walls to hold the well of melted embossing powder and it’s shimmery treasures. This seemed to work pretty darned well, and I was off and running with the idea again.
Screeching halt. Again. Ugh.
The polymer clay doesn’t seem to want to really hold it’s shape, so that required a lot of “fixing” after digging out the innards with a clay scraper. Not just that, but, the embossing powder layers melted into one big puddle inside each bezel that I so carefully crafted. So much for layers of shimmery inclusions. I learned that the embossing powder also has a tendency to shrink a bit once it’s cooled, creating a shallow well in the center of the piece. Adding more embossing powder and melting it again just made the whole mess slowly spill over the sides. There I was again, with puddles of cooled liquid OUTSIDE the bezel. So, close…but no cigar.
Enter – RESIN!!! (To my sanity’s rescue, finally!!!)
Resin has amazing properties. Along with making me break out in a violent rash if I get the stuff on my skin (which leaves me a mottled, itching, irritated mess for a couple days after pouring) – it’s layerable, cures to a dazzling shine and hardness. It feels like glass, and when it’s coated with a glossing agent…holy crow. It holds the things that I put in it, exactly where I put them. It’s different levels of viscosity during the curing process enable me to float inclusions, like glitter and tiny snips of fabric and irridescent papers, polymer clay miniature roses and leaves – or carefully place items, like photos and stickers. The resin pieces are only limited by my often over-stimulated imagination and my ability to pour layers of varying thicknesses.
I’m extremely excited about the prospects of this incredible medium. Not only has it restored my faith in myself, holy crow it’s GORGEOUS!!!
So. Where do I go from here, now that I’ve finally solved the puzzle that’s been plaguing me for years? Production!
In addition to the Dasi Faux Dichro line, I’m also working on a completely unique, eye catching, shimmery and gorgeous line of pendants that I’m calling…”Dasi Beads”. These are all as unique and beautiful as each one of us. I’m pleased to present them here, for your enjoyment. They will be for sale in the very near future, in my various virtual shops, and I’ve even got a lead on a local business here in Binghamton that carries unique artisan items. I think these will fit in nicely, as well as yet another line I’m working on…but that’s a post, and category all in it’s own right, for another time…another dark night, if you will. Stay tuned.