Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fiber Vessels with Epoxy

(Above:  Fiber vessel, exterior and interior with clock gears in epoxy.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

I've again been experimenting with epoxy!  The idea isn't a new one; it's one that's been nagging at me for more than eight years.  It started back in 2011 while spending a month as an artist-in-residence at Hot Springs National Park.  (I wrote about it HERE.)  The idea was to transform one of my fiber vessels into something like a "spring", a body of water-looking substance in which unique/mysterious/unexpected object might be found ... sort of like the magical hot springs at this national park. 

It was the first time I stitched a vessel with open areas, but more importantly, I poured tiny bits of a glossy acrylic glazing medium into the center ... day-by-day ... allowing the medium to soak into the fiber and finally create a little depth.  I added a few beads and sequins.  Naturally, this piece was selected for the National Park's permanent collection ... even though it was really just an experiment, something I intended to do again in the future ... but never did ... until now.

 (Another fiber vessel with clock gears and epoxy.)

Back in 2011, I was using some cheap acrylic stuff purchased at a big box craft store and marketed for filling bottle caps for cheap jewelry.  It was a rather amateurish way to acquire itty-bitty amounts second rate material ... but it worked.  It would be several years before I did the research to find artist-grade, non-yellowing, UV filtering epoxy sold by the gallon.  It's not cheap ... but it works ... especially after sealing the interior with GAC 200, an acid-free fabric stiffener which prevents the first pour of epoxy from soaking into (and through) the yarn.

Instead of throwing in beads and sequins, I sought more inspired objects to encapsulate as if frozen in time.  Clock gears are automatically symbols for passing time, suggestions of minutes and hours and yesteryear preserved for tomorrow.  They are also nicely circular, mimicking the shape of the fiber vessels.  So, the first three pieces had clock gears.

The fourth vessel, however, has a collection of knickknacks, including a plastic cowboy and Indian, a domino, thimble, a rosary, a charm from Germany, a Monopoly house, a tiny toy train engine, two marbles, an antique ink pen nib, a Squirt bottle cap, and a pair of scissors from a craft sewing kit.  The epoxy pour isn't perfect.  I still have a bit of research to do that will allow a slightly deeper pour.  The epoxy I've been using is a self-leveling solution meant for quarter-inch depth only. 

I sure hope I don't wait another eight years to continue this experiment!  I don't think I will ... but I never expected so much to to have passed since first hatching this hair-brained idea! 


Sara Deever said...

I love how you keep experimenting, improving. This is a fascinating process. I'm still processing concepts and projects from our June QSDS class. Sara Deever

Susan Lenz said...

Thank you, Sara, for posting a comment but especially for continuing to work through ideas and concepts from the wonderful time we spent together in Columbus!

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