Salvage Operation :: Resin From The Depths
Last year, I treated myself to a hand built pottery class. I love the pieces I made, but sadly my platter came out of the kiln with a rather large crack in it. It was disappointing, for sure, but almost immediately I came up with a plan. What if, I said to the teacher, what if I did something in the vein of kintsugi? The Japanese method of embracing and mending broken pottery with gold joinery pops up on my socials at least once a year, a beautiful solution to extend the life of ceramic pieces. While I couldn’t do the exact thing – the crack was only partially across the platter, not a complete break – I thought I could do something inspired by the concept. Rather than consider the piece ruined, could I find a way to embrace the flaw and turn it into a design feature.
Somewhere at home, I had some gold leaf, left over from a previous project (one I didn’t blog, apparently!). If I could find that, it would be perfect. A bit of resin to fill the gap, and then the leaf to highlight the repaired crack. Excellent. Plan sorted. Into the container I went. 15 months in to our tiny house adventure though, I hadn’t yet unpacked my craft boxes. I was still naive enough to think I would have a house sooner rather than later, so what was the point of unpacking? I ferreted through a couple of the most obvious boxes without any luck in finding the leaf. Retreating to the house in frustration, I hit up the internet in search of resin.
With my cart loaded with both the resin and the uv torch I would need, I backed out of checkout, and instead decided to suss out their options for leaf. $17 a pack – that was worth it if it meant I didn’t have to go container diving again. Gold was out of stock, but they had copper. The platter I was repairing was a cool charcoal, so in reality, the copper would be the more appealing option anyway. By going with copper, I would also have two different colours once I got my boxes sorted and found the gold leaf I knew was in there somewhere. If I was going to buy another packet, it made sense to get something different from what I already had.
The parcel arrived promptly. I ripped open the box and hit my first hurdle – the torch needed AAA batteries. A quick search of the battery drawer left me empty handed. Then, I made a critical error. I bundled everything up and put it away “until I bought the batteries”. This was in April 2021.
In the intervening 18 months, I’ve moved the platter from various places, telling myself “I need to get to that”. Spoiler – I never did. Last week, while I was running a sticker commission through my Cricut, I got busy cleaning out my craft storage ottoman. One of the items pulled out and added to the “take to the container” pile, was the platter. I groaned at my own inefficiency, and then immediately added the repair job to my to-do list, and the batteries I needed to the shopping list. I even went to the container and pulled out the resin, torch, and leaf, and sat them on the table. Right in the middle, exactly where it would annoy me daily until I got the blasted thing done.
Like all jobs procrastinated on for far too long, in the end it was a quick and easy job. I worked in 4 stages to fill the gap. Stage one was just a shallow resin pour’n’set, to seal the base of the crack. I wasn’t sure how thick I could work with, so wanted just a small cured barrier to get me started. Stage two was the main pour, filling up to around half-to-two-thirds of the gap. I only partly cured this section, enough it wasn’t liquid, but stopped short of a full cure so it was sticky enough for the leaf. Stage three was applying the copper leaf in small sections, using one of the children’s soft paintbrushes. It didn’t stick perfectly, but I quite liked the rustic imperfectness of how it was coming together, so I did just the one layer, and didn’t stress about small gaps. The last stage was the trickiest – when the platter cracked, it also twisted slightly, so I had to work carefully to create a sloped edge to the resin. It meant stage four was in two parts – 4a being filling the gap to the level of the lowest edge, and then 4b, working with the applicator and torch in tandem to pour and cure as I worked along to meet the top edge.
The end result? Magic.
I still need to tidy up a couple of the edges, that I wanted to leave until it had had a full day or two to set properly before I took to it with the craft knife, but overall, I love it. The copper is the perfect pop against the charcoal. The imperfect leaf echoes the imperfect platter. I can’t believe it took me this much procrastinating to complete a project I love this much. It makes me want to do more pottery/resin cross-overs, to be honest. In my second pottery class I made a set of bowls, and of the six I made, one met it’s end at the hands of a child, and another fell victim to the cat’s 3am zoomies. Both are in the container in a box, all their pieces together, waiting on a fix.
With my to-do list bulging at the seams and my calendar chockablock with commitments, this week seems the perfect time to pull them out and work on a fix. Procraftinating might be my favourite hobby of all…