Having spent the last 3 years dabbling in resin I have tried many kinds. There is a huge variety of resins which is a bit confusing. I often get asked what resin do I use!
For my artwork I only use Epoxy resin. But within Epoxy resin there is also a large variety of brands! Some cheap some very expensive. Not to mention shipping to the Shetland isands!
I have found the brand Art Resin to be the best if you wish to clear coat a painting for example. It has all the properties (which makes it expensive) such as UV stabilized (so wont go yellow) and easy mix ratio e.t c but can be very bubbly and slower to dry than others.
For casting into molds I have found Eli- Chems master cast the best!
It is very quick drying compared to most, crystal clear and not too bubbly! Also easy equal parts mixing. Some resins have to be weighed to calculate complicated ratios for mixing.
For making coasters or place mats, Eli-chems ultra cast is definatly the best as it is heat resistand to 90 degrees!
All can be bought easily online.
I have been delighted to have my artwork feature on the front page Eli-Chems facebook group of 20K members!
Living in a small community like Shetland has many benefits, as I’m sure many of you know. It is safe, there’s a great community spirit and people are usually very keen to help each other out – as I’ve been finding recently!
I’ve been making art pieces using sea glass and other beach finds for exactly three years now, and as a result am known locally for using such materials – so much so that people have been giving me surprise donations of materials!
I’ve been so thrilled and grateful to receive these. So far these have included goodies such as a bag of stone crystals left on my doorstep, a box of sea glass and pottery pieces, a box of drift wood and several hauls of mixed beach finds and shells – often donated by people who have decided to declutter unwanted childhood collections. It is great for me, and I’m always surprised when people give up their treasure.
In one box, there was a particularly rare piece in amongst the sea glass: a beautiful turquoise coloured glass, with a ribbed texture to it. I decided to take it to a workshop run by local silversmith Esme Wilcock and learn how to create a piece of jewellery using sea glass and fine silver.
After a fascinating day I managed to complete the challenge, and created a stunning pendant! I showed it to the person who donated the glass to me, and she loved it so much that she wanted to
buy it, to give to her mother. It turns out it was her mother who had originally found the glass, and as it was soon going to be her 90th birthday, it seemed like the perfect present.
It was a reluctant sale, but I decided it should go back to the person who found it. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.
As you are probably aware, a website is a very important part of showcasing a product and connecting with customers. So, now that my website – www.sarahkayarts.com is a year old – I thought it was time to take a fresh look at it!
I have decided to redesign the homepage, possibly to include a 360° video. My website also includes a shop and sold page to show what is currently available to buy and also show what has sold (there may only be one of a certain style, but I can make similar pieces if someone loves one in particular.)
Having a good online presence can be a vital tool when trying to sell a product and advertise what you make. Creating a worldwide possibility for customers also requires a commitment to post regularly, have high quality images and be consistent.
Most importantly, it is necessary to select the most suitable social media platform to suit your product and focus on that, as it’s unlikely that you would use them all effectively. I use Instagram, where you can find me as @sarahkay367 and Facebook – “Sarah Kay – artist” as well as an Etsy shop – Sarah Kay arts and my website and blog.
I hope you enjoy my efforts as much as I do following other artists and interesting people, who always inspire me to think up new ideas.
One of my favourite artists to follow is Hope Blamire. She paints landscapes, mainly of the Western Isles, and her Facebook page is full of colourful photos of the scenes that inspire her, as well as her work.
It’s been busy few weeks preparing for Shetland’s annual Christmas Craft Fair, which is this weekend!
The craft fair is a hugely popular event in Shetland – it attracted over 4,000 visitors last year. It’s also a special event for Sarah Kay Arts, as it was here that I first tried selling my artwork, two years ago. I had such a great time and got such a good response that I haven’t looked back since!
The fair is held at the Clickimin Centre, in Lerwick. The restricted parking there can cause a bit of a headache but hopefully it won’t be too much of an issue!
It is a wonderful event: the halls are packed out with a huge number of stall holders displaying a diverse range of products, with everything from knitwear and textiles to pottery, art and fashion. It’s a great opportunity to get some extra special, locally made Christmas gifts, too.
Having a stall is a brilliant experience, and great practice for anyone thinking about taking part in trade fairs off the isles.
2017 will mark my third fair and, following feedback from previous years, I’ll have a range of work on display priced from £2.50 to my higher end pieces, at £250. Items under £25 were sought after so I tried to accommodate this.
Using sea glass and sea pottery in art has become quite popular, so I’ve had to be careful that my new items are original and not too similar to anything else. I double checked with two other crafters just be sure, and they were grateful for my enquiry. Shetland is a very small place, so it’s important to work together and support one another.
Sarah Kay Arts will be at stall number 59, so come and say hello. See you there!
Beachcombing – Challister, Whalsay
My favourite hobby, if you hadn’t guessed already, is beachcombing.
This probably started when I was a child, at “the Bug”, the local name for the small beach just below our family home at Challister, in Whalsay, where I grew up. It’s a special beach to me.
On this small section of shore line there was everything you could hope to find – fine sand, rough sand, shell sand, whelk beds, rock pools for finding small fish, crabs, sea urchins, shells and unusual shaped stones of every size.
There are unusual yellow coloured shells and some with stripes not found on many Shetland beaches. These is a larger pool of water affectionately known as ‘the crabby hole’ which offered unlimited play time for my mum and her siblings when growing up.
It was also where I found not one, but 3 messages in bottles as a child! The one which had travelled furthest was from Newfoundland, Canada, and had been sent by a boy who was the same age as me at the time. He had sent it while on a fishing trip with his dad, which I found out when I wrote to him from the address in the bottle.
The Bug is definitely one of my favourite beaches. It is hidden away, but worth a visit as it has unusual shells which I use for my artwork.