March 20, 2024

Figuring It Out.....

By Elizabeth Hasen
Figuring It Out.....

The past two weeks have been a time when -- jewelry-wise -- NOTHING worked.

Making earrings out of my alcohol ink paintings on Yupo (a synthetic paper) got me thinking about using other papers too.  I've always loved William Morris prints -- the wonderful florals he designed as a major contributor to the 19th century British Arts & Crafts Movement.  Recently I discovered you can get sets of papers with many of his prints.  Most people probably use them for paper crafts like making cards or journals.

But I had the idea of making reversible earring "beads" -- with a different print on each side.

I checked on Etsy and other sites.  No one was doing this!  I had come up with a unique idea!  I even found reversible earwires that let you slide the bead up and turn it around -- two looks in one!!

So I bought some papers, waiting with bated breath for the two weeks it took them to come from England, and when they arrived I was jumping with excitement and set to work. 

And NOTHING worked.  I tried 4 different kinds of paper glue.  I glued the two sides to each other.  I glued them to a center of Yupo.   I resined one side, then glued the other paper to the back of the resin.  I put the glued papers under heavy weights to dry for several days.  I sprayed the papers first with a protective varnish to stiffen them.  I cured the resin under the UV light in multiple short (30-second) sessions that allowed me to press the "bead" flat after each session.  I did two layers of resin on one side before doing the other.

But no matter what I did, the pieces kept warping during the resin process and the two sides pulled apart.  Two weeks of wasted paper, resin and time and effort.  It was more than a little depressing.  One night I even had an endless nightmare where over and over again I resined pieces and then watched them fall apart.

Maybe there was a good reason why no one else had had this brilliant idea.....

I wrote most of this blog post this past Saturday -- all in the present tense (ie, nothing's working!)   But I couldn't give up.  These papers were too lovely to sit there unused.  There had to be a way to do this.

On Sunday night I finally figured it out -- my very own secret method!  A world of beautiful possibilities has opened up for my work this spring and summer!!

And looking back now on the whole process, I've realized that I've actually improved how I do each of the 18 steps to produce each bead. It's been two weeks of practice, not wasted time and effort after all....

So stay tuned for some lovely William Morris jewelry! 



1 comment

  • Timi Carter on March 20, 2024

    Oooo. I can’t wait!!! At first I thought it was paper from Florence!!

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