Hello Halsted began back in Summer 2012 shortly after my first experiments with jewelry-making. I started off creating items with polymer clay, wood, and resin, then slowly taught myself the process of soldering/brazing metals. Though my work has transformed very much over the years, resin has remained my favorite medium to create with.
I typically will work on one large batch of jewelry over several weeks, and then release everything during what I call a "Shop Update". I try to have one shop update per month, though it depends on how many pieces are in the batch, or how long they take to make. Each of my pieces goes through a lengthy process that I do in 4 stages for every batch of jewelry that I make.
The first stage is collecting the flowers and botanicals that I'll be using for my batch. This includes dyeing flowers different colors, drying them out, pressing them, and snipping them up to be used in my work. Sometimes I paint them or glue tiny elements together to create something new. My favorite flower to collect in the Summer time is Queen Anne's Lace, which I use in almost all of my batches. I tend to work very small-scale, so the tinier the flower, the better!
The next step is creating all of my metalwork. I solder from scratch each and every bezel, pendant, charm, ring base, etc that I'll be filling with resin. Some pieces are even sawn out of sheet metal and hammered together. This is the lengthiest part of my process, as every piece needs to be cleaned, sanded down, polished, and prepared for the resin application. I work mainly with sterling silver and gold-fill, but will include rose gold-fill or raw brass every once in a while.
The third step is applying resin. Resin is a two part polymer that hardens to a solid once it is mixed together. Every piece has anywhere from 3-7 layers of resin on it. I take very careful steps to ensure that I remove all, or as much as I can, of the air bubbles inside of the resin. It's also important to make sure that no particles or small hairs floating around in the air end up sticking to the resin. This gives the piece a crystal clear look, and the resin has a hardened glasslike finish on the surface. Every layer of resin needs a full 12-24 hours to fully cure.
The last step is assembling the finished piece. This includes cutting chain, putting together necklaces, sizing rings, attaching earring hooks, and whatever else needs to be finished up. I then photograph everything and set up my shop updates. Afterwards, I can begin decorating jewelry boxes and packing up orders to ship all around the world.
Thank you all for following along, waiting for shop updates, and all of your sweet messages. I'm going on year 7 of being a full time jewelry artist, and it is truly thanks to you and your amazing support!