Tag Archives: mixed media insect

West Berlin mantis party redux, five years later!

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes sept 30 2020My UV resin experiments just continue to get wilder.

I made this mantis using a green floral wire armature, then layers of green and yellow filament from my 3D printer pen.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne ForbesThe 3D printer pen filament helped to bulk out and define the structure, while still letting light through.

I like using the pen because it is fast and dirty construction, which suits my essential nature. I also used a piece of pretty green metallic foil I had saved from a package or something to fill out the mantis’s butt.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne Forbes 2Then I started wiring thousands of green glass beads all over it.

I strung the beads, crystals and pearls on fine gauge colored craft wire that I looped in and out of the wire armature.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne Forbes About halfway into the beading I started stabilizing the bead strands with blobs of green-tinted UV resin!

This was during the very intense August heat wave in Berlin, so I was hanging out in the library with my husband in the air-conditioning. I used both the sunlight coming in the window and my high-powered nail artist’s uv lamp to cure the resin.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne Forbes I needed more sunlight to make the drips, though!

Because UV resin cures almost instantly in sunlight, I could sit out on our balcony dripping and dropping blobs of resin all over the armature, creating transparent structure and threads of color. It was very hot, but I figure it was good to get the vitamin D in.

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes sept 30 2020I made the wings using florists wire and some green glitter tulle I got five years ago.

The first summer we were here, I had very limited art materials. I had a sketchbook, pencils and pens, and the embroidery materials and fabric that Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Eva Galperin bought me at the craft store at the mall at Stadtmitte.

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis and alien venus flytrap by Suzanne Forbes sept 30 2020Of course, I keep every scrap of everything.

(See making of the Giant Alien Venus Flytrap, seen above, here!) So I had green tulle left over from when I made the jewelled mantis that summer of 2015, and I used it to cover the floral wire wing shapes, attaching it with UV resin.

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes face sept 30 2020I attached the wings and antenna with UV resin, because it is an amazing adhesive.

It is faster than superglue/CA in direct sunlight, and you can use an instantly hardening bolus of it as a base to hold something steady. In the mantis post from 2015 I talk a lot about my lifelong obsession with transparent mediums, and my frustration with the ones available. Which is funny because I have now found a transparent material I really love working with at last!

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes 1 sept 30 2020Finishing this mantis on the balcony today, I could really feel the difference in the sun.

Autumn is here and Winter is coming,

So the resin drip art will be ending til next year. We don’t get enough sunlight to make Vitamin D or cure UV resin in the winters here! That’s ok, I have plenty of other weird insect art projects in the pipeline 🙂

The other articulated mantis sculpture is here.

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.