The inaugural resin jewellery workshop

The other day I decided that the best way to get into a creative frame of mind would be to throw myself straight into making something, and ideally something not too difficult or time-consuming. Luckily, I still had a resin jewellery workshop voucher to use up which one of my best friends had sent to me for my birthday a few months ago.

It was awesome. I think the most satisfying part of making resin jewellery is how quickly you can make something really gorgeous. Five of us rocked up to Barnes, an arts materials store in Woolloongabba, on a sunny Saturday morning and readily donned our artisanal paint-stained aprons, secretly imagining ourselves as the next prodigy at Dinosaur Designs.

Our teacher talked us through the process: Pour solution A into a plastic cup, add your chosen pigment colour (essentially paint) to the top of the cup and gradually mix it in with a wooden lolly stick until completely blended. Quickly pour in solution B and mix vigorously for 15 seconds (it gets hot!), pour it into your chosen mould shape and SHAZZAM! In 20 minutes you’ll have a fabulous bangle!

You can add a twist to the process if you like. A couple of people created a marble-like effect by adding a second pigment just after Solution B had been mixed in and then pouring it almost immediately into the mould. I would have liked to try this out, but I prefer solid block colours and decided to make something I’d be more likely to wear, so I went for lovely bright red and bright orange bangles and rings instead. There are loads of effects you can create with a bit more time though, from tilting the mould and adding two different layers to create diagonal stripes to adding buttons and other small objects. You can also design your own jewellery shapes with mould kits.

After we’d waited 20 minutes, we prised the jewellery out of the moulds and began trimming the excess resin (it has a rubbery, flexible texture for a good few hours until it solidifies) and shaving the bangles and rings with sandpaper. Et voilà! After a quick polish, they were ready to be flaunted. I loved it and, although the equipment is a little pricey, it’s the sort of thing that would be perfect for a batch of hand-made Christmas or birthday presents for friends.

Visit the bqueen website to find out more.

The Ekka – Brisbane’s annual country fix

What ekka-cellent timing! The launch of my arts and crafts blog has coincided with Queensland’s much loved agricultural show, known affectionately as the Ekka. I’m told that it is Brisbane’s most popular annual event, such an institution that Brisbanites are granted a public holiday so that they can fully immerse themselves in this festival of countryside delights.

The Ekka is rural Queensland on steroids – you could spend days there just taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside; weaving between cowboy hats and animal pens to pet the ducklings and calves, watch sheep shearing demonstrations or admire beef cattle parades in the main arena.

My friend and I, however, made a beeline for the fine arts competitions section and were instantly rewarded with a sea of curiosities to feed our chintzy appetites.

Behold the wonders that we found. While these artworks don’t set a benchmark in the style or trendy departments, I was incredibly inspired by the sheer talent on display. If only this artistry could be channelled into something more, err, contemporary. I see an opening for a TV make-over show for crafters…