The Stress Challenge

fun and games with resin

fun and games with resin

Here’s a great formula for a fun evening and a sleepless night.

First, set a deadline for an exhibition weeks away and forget about it. Produce the work (obviously) and vaguely think about the actual show and hanging possibilities from time to time. Allow the vague thoughts to spark some interesting finishing and presentation ideas involving polymer coatings. Decide (with still a couple of weeks to go) it is time to purchase the coatings and have a trial run on a small piece.

With more experience than many with casting resin and handling odd materials over the years, assume it will all be straightforward after the test piece is a great success.

And why would it not be? I felt pretty confident and relaxed yesterday when I started to finally cover all the pieces for my upcoming show with a finishing resin. I turned the central heating up to furnace conditions, and decided the best place to carry out mass production was the dining room. My studio has never seen a duster, and according to Dire Warnings in the comprehensive instructions, a dust-free environment was critical to the process. Having established pristine tropical conditions, I set to work, mixing up a batch of coating for each piece. I had a timer going, and a two-container mixing system. Knowing how to fold beaten egg whites into a mixture, I wasn’t too worried about mixing, but the instructions also had Dire Warnings about the consequences of failing to mix properly.

I poured the first piece, and rapidly moved on to the others. It was necessary to move extremely rapidly; there were more Dire Warnings about the consequences of leaving the mixture in the mixing container for more than 15 minutes. And the prospect of overheated resin exploding across the dining room was unappealing.

Surrounded by slowly dripping resinous surfaces, I eventually got tired of huffing and puffing (“gently exhaling”) over tiny air bubbles (part of the recommended procedure, not a perversion), and left everything to start curing. I checked back in a couple of hours later, and saw to my horror they were still slowly dripping with no apparent cure in sight. Aghast, for the first time it struck me that maybe, just maybe, it was not a great idea to have covered every single piece for the exhibition in one session. I went up to bed tortured by thoughts of what I would do if the resin remained uncured.

I could barely look this morning. I crept into the room, and peered around. I reached out and touched a pool of dripped resin on the newspaper. It was surface dry. Relief. Only another 60 hours to wait now.

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