Tag Archives: cicada art

Gothic Rococo Insect mirror number 4 in a series: is the creepiest creepy thing I’ve ever made?

I started casting UV resin in molds a while back.

I love resin, but casting epoxy resin made me so frustrated. Having to leave the molds undisturbed for a day was so hard for my addictive nature! Plus they always get cat hair in them somehow. Using UV resin has been such a great change. So I got a few detailed molds in July.

UV resin insect frame top by Suzanne ForbesI got moth, cicada and butterfly molds. Of course.

And some gem and jewel molds, and some actual crystal clusters in very stretchy sticky silicon.

UV resin insect mirror by Suzanne Forbes details cicada detail sept 2020Because you can quickly and easily layer UV resin, it’s a breeze to add inclusions of glitter, gold leaf, dichroic film and microbeads.

I really love the surprises that happen with casting resin – you don’t know exactly what you have until you unmold. I decided to use a bunch of the cast insects and gems to make the frame for a new Gothic Rococo mirror, and found a small oval mirror to use.

I formed a base for the mirror’s frame out of my usual bulk sculpting materials.

I use tinfoil, crushed and shaped, then stabilized with spurts from the glue gun, then sealed under epoxy clay. It is a fast way to get a lot of volume, and both sturdy and economical, because the expensive (and tedious to blend by hand!) epoxy clay is used only in small amounts. Once the epoxy clay was cured, I painted the whole thing hot pink, above.

Glitter glue gun glue! Hell yes!

Making UV resin insect frame by Suzanne Forbes.As a base for uv resin, it matches nicely and is even faster than resin.

UV resin insect frame left by Suzanne Forbes I went over the hot pink base with ribbons of blue glitter glue, which smoothed itself as glue gun glue does when you apply a lot at once. Then I covered the glue with blue and pink UV resin.

I didn’t know how the UV resin would work over glue gun glue. The interaction of plastics, which contain – surprise!- plasticizers, and resins, which contain solvents, can be very unpredictable. But UV resin, which is a photopolymer, doesn’t contain solvents. It hardens by cross-linking polymerization reaction, not solvent evaporation.

So it’s a different problem. UV resin glues like Bondic are supposed to be material-agnostic, suitable for use on anything. Is it archival? Who knows! UV resin as a consumer material is only a few decades old. I could have used an isolation coat of Mod Podge, but I was basically too fucking impatient.

Instead, I tested covering sections of the glue gun glue on the back and found that once a solid layer of resin was built up, it cured thoroughly without residual tackiness from chemical interference.

Once the whole front of the frame was covered in UV resin, I started applying molded insects and crystals, using the UV resin as an adhesive.

Gothic Rococo UV resin insect mirror gems by Suzanne Forbes Sept 2020There is no material in the history of the world that bonds more seamlessly to itself than UV resin.

Of course, it needs light to cure, so the light needs to be able to reach most of the resin you’re curing. But I find that if you hit the resin with a well-powered professional nail lamp, the visible part will set and spread the reaction well enough to the remaining part hidden under the thing you’re attaching. Yes, it’s a limited Ice-nine.

Gothic Rococo UV resin insect mirror with gems by Suzanne Forbes Sept 2020I attached the insects, gems and crystals with layers of UV resin, and studded the resin with mermaid pearls and microbeads.

This is one of the very few projects I’ve ever done that came out better than I could have imagined! It is fantastic to look at. I am glad to have made something beautiful at this dark, frightening time. People tell me beautiful things help them.Gothic Rococo UV resin insect mirror with glitter gems by Suzanne Forbes Sept 2020

Creepy Decorative Arts are my thing to make.

I have made several other Gothic Rococo mixed media insect pieces for household decor; links are below! I also want to credit AfroDisiac of Designs by AfroDisiac, whose work with UV resin and gentle encouragement really inspired me to start working with this material!

Silver lead and crystal insect mirror.

Gold leaf insect mirror.

Gothic Rococo pastel and pearls insect mirror.

Gothic Rococo insect boudoir stool.


Insect Art: Glitter cicada with holographic vinyl!

3D printer pen jeweled cicada by Suzanne Forbes Mar 21 2020Made with a 3D Printer pen I got from my mom-in-law for Christmas!

I broke out the 3D printing pen last week! It’s basically a glue gun that takes different colors of PLA filament. It came with fifteen colors. I used seven colors, darker ones on the bottom and going brighter towards the top layers.

This is the naked filament armature.

Then I took a ratty brush and painted the whole thing with blue-violet interference paint. You can see other posts about acrylic interference paint, which I started using in 1990, here.

3D printer pen cicada by Suzanne Forbes Mar 21 2020 rt wing detailThe last batch of art supplies I ordered from the UK, back in the other world that was February, was glitter, holographic, iridescent and metallic vinyls and pvcs.

I’ve been feeling a thirst to work with transparent and tinted clear materials the past month.My assortment of sparkly sheets arrived the second week of March. I cut small triangles of the holo pvc, applied glue to the edges, then attached them to the back of the filament “struts”. I filled in other spaces with scraps of textured lavender iridescent vinyl, some dark blue glitter vinyl I had left from my mermaid corset project in 2012, metallic blue pvc, and transparent blue glitter “jelly” vinyl.

Glitter vinyl cicada by Suzanne Forbes March 20 2020“Jelly” vinyl is a thick, tinted vinyl, often full of glitter, foil stars, etc.

I covered most of the back with some actual trash – scraps of clear plastic cut from packaging, metallic blue plastic foil from the cat food packets. The glue I’m using is UHU Alleskleber in the Flinke Flasche (“nimble bottle”), which has solvents; in the US I’d use Gem-Tac. I left some areas open, and drizzled glue across others, then added decorations.

3D printer pen cicada by Suzanne Forbes Mar 21 2020 front windowI used microbeads, Swarovski crystals, opalescent rhinestones, iridescent rhinestones, glass pearls, clear rainbow micropearls, and glitter to decorate it.

3D printer pen cicada by Suzanne Forbes Mar 21 2020 libraryIt took about a week to finish all the decorating.

I find working with sparkly materials like this to be a kind of ASMR, deeply soothing and meditative.

During this really unprecedented time, when my husband and I are safe but I am so acutely aware of the danger to so many others, I don’t know what to do but make pretty.

I hope you enjoy the sparkle!