Friday, October 19, 2012

Epoxy Day

(Above:  Protective tyvek suit with hood, plastic gloves, goggles ... I'm ready for "Epoxy Day".)

Earlier this week I finished the hand stitching on the last two of six new fiber pieces meant to explore the texture and surface of "wet sand".  It was time to pour epoxy over them ... to create the look of water, the sheen and reflection one often sees while walking along an ocean beach.  The first experiment with epoxy went very, very well.  I blogged about it HERE.  My husband Steve and I learned a lot from this initial experience and decided that this time we'd set up the actual "pour site" in the parking.  This meant it was unnecessary to wear the ventilation mask.  It also gave us more room in which to work and more space inside the garage for the pieces to lay flat and to dry.
 (Above:  Ready for the epoxy pour.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This time was also different because we were using a professional/artist grade epoxy instead of the stuff available in many hardware stores for covering garage or patio floors.  This "new" epoxy is made by Environmental Technology , Inc. and is called EX-74.  It is specially formulated to include UV filters and to reduce any future yellowing.  The ratio of the two-part solution is 1:1, which meant we didn't have to use the entire gallon.  The instructions included a formula to calculate the quantity needed for square inch coverage.  Thus, we only mixed a total of one gallon (about half of each solution.)  We used the small mixing buckets to carefully measure the two parts.  We used the large buckets for vigorous stirring ... first in one bucket, then dumped into the second bucket for continued stirring.  With the two parts perfectly and very thoroughly mixed, hardening starts within twenty-five minutes.

 (Above:  Six large and five small "sand pieces" on our trash cans ... ready to have epoxy poured over them.)

I had to work fast ... pouring the epoxy on the fabric and spreading it like thick, clear molasses.  I used two small pieces of mat board for the spreading and then handed each piece off to Steve.  He took each piece to the garage while I grabbed and started pouring on the next piece.

 (Above:  Steve's work table in the garage along with chips of wood.)

We'd already covered the garage's work table with corrugated.  From the first epoxy experience, we learned that this epoxy does tend to drip, spread, and run ... and then later, it is almost permanently glued onto whatever surface onto which it leaked.  The chips of wood elevated each piece off the corrugate ... which prevented any leaked epoxy from attaching the back of any piece to the corrugate!

(Above:  Steve's work table with all the pieces drying.  Click on image to enlarge.)

The EX-74 is actually a bit thicker than the epoxy from the hardware store.  So ... it didn't run and ooze as badly and didn't drip all over everything as much.  Yet, it is clear from the photo above that there is still a little puddling around each elevated work.  I had also prepared three small containers into which I poured epoxy.

(Above:  Three small containers with vintage ephemera and poured epoxy.)

Keys, buttons, a bobbin, a cross, nails, a folded letter from 1898, springs and other clock gears filled these little containers and will eventually find their way into one of my 3D assemblages.  I really enjoyed these and plan on making more.

(Above:  Table lot at a recent clock auction.)

I had hoped to increase my collection of clock parts at a recent auction.  It was a wonderful sale but also very well advertised.  Clock dealers from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia were in attendance.  The table lots of parts and pieces were all too rich for my pocketbook, but I took nearly one hundred detail images ... perhaps for future work ... perhaps just for inspiration.

(Above:  Detail image from a box of pocket watches in various states of repair.  Click on image to enlarge.)

I would have loved this box of pocket watches for my artwork ... but, alas, I was never even in on the bidding!

(Above:  St. Peter's churchyard at night.)

Another inspirational moment this week came during the monthly Congaree Vista Guild meeting which was held at St. Peter's church.  We were given a twilight tour of the sanctuary and the cemetery!  I loved every moment of it.  This post is also being linked to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays" blog that showcases other fiber artworks in progress!


Julie said...

Very attractive look Susan ;-) I love the photo of all the pocket watches, a lot of history there. How wonderful to have the twilight tour of the churchyard. We walked round a beautiful churchyard in Austria at night and it was just beautiful as all the graves were lit by candle light and their monuments are very delicate metalworks. The shadows were beautiful and the whole experience was very moving.

Nina Marie said...

LOL - you had me at "Epoxy"! soooo glad I found your blog!

Wanda said...

I love how you and Steve work together. You had a wonderful work area and well thought out plan for Epoxy Day. I am anxious to see the completed pieces. Interesting about all those clocks and how dealers came from all over to bid on them. Your time will pun intended.

wholly jeanne said...

Here you go again, having fun making art. A year ago, we moved into our weekend home which is atop a mountain in western NC. We're about an hour and a half from Asheville - which is good - but impossible to get to often enough to partake of many things. We're pretty remote here, so yours is one of about 3 blogs that feeds me and helps me feel connected.