Once in a while someone or something comes along that challenges you to step up to the plate. That was the gorgeous Suellen Turner and her amazing collaboration opportunity.
The timing couldn’t have been worse for me, my son was having eye surgery the very next week, so my initial response was to politely decline and wish her luck with her amazing opportunity. I really didn’t want to promise and then let them down without knowing how the weeks would go post-op for my son. Well little did I know that Suellen didn’t want any old resin artist to work with them on this, she only wanted me! Now this totally blew my mind and left me speechless for quite a few weeks hehe.
For those of you who are lucky enough to cross paths with Suellen you will know that she is absolutely beautiful inside and out, a dynamo with a contagious energy for life and art. Over the next few days we emailed back and forth many times with me eventually throwing caution to wind and agreeing to do the job as best I could knowing that the short time frame was going to make it tricky! Oh and did I mention we live 3.5 hours away from each other!!!! But Suellen Turner was on my side rooting for me so anything was possible!
Suellen is the other half of Turner + Turner with her husband, the amazing artisan, Neil Turner. Together they create stunningly beautiful works of art using gorgeous timbers most of which are Australian. Now you have not seen timber in its true beauty until you have seen Neil’s work – truly inspirational and breathtaking in every possible way!
The collaboration itself was amazing. It truly peaked my curiosity and would allow me to step out of my comfort zone and flex my artistic muscle in many ways. But it also posed quite a few challenges that I worried would make the pieces not up to the high standard of work that I like to produce. Sometimes my standards are too high for this medium that I work with as resin is a finicky mistress, but I just cannot bring myself to send out lower standard pieces into the world.
Turner + Turner had been approached by LaGaia Unedited, an amazing Australian skincare company that were stocking their products in the day spas at the brand new soon to be opened Ritz-Carlton hotel which was being built at Elizabeth Quay in Perth. Turner + Turner were making visual merchandise stands, towel platters and logo stands out of Australian timbers for them to display their products on in the spas and had asked me to put resin touches on them as requested by LaGaia.
Wowsers! This just got really big real quick! I must admit when I said yes I did not really know what I was saying yes to, I just said yes I would help Suellen with her project! No wonder she gave me the biggest hug when she saw me at Perth Upmarket two days later lol.
I had my first ever conference call with the gorgeous ladies from LaGaia Unedited and their sister company People4Ocean. We chatted about the challenges that their requests held and I made sure that their expectations versus reality were on par with the medium. They have an amazing vision for their brands and were excited by the resin features and realistic about how resin ebbs and flows and that each piece would be unique. Not to mention the 99 other challenges that I brought up with the project hehe.
The project was not without challenges as a resin artist. The beautiful West Australian Tuart wood of the LaGaia logo stands was raw and dry but also quite fresh so I was worried it would release gases into the resin during the curing process. This did indeed happen but as I worked through the six stands using four different ways of doing them I was able to minimise the bubbles released. The glass like finish of the clear resin would not be preserved during the final finishing stages as the wood needed to be finished after the resin was added, so it would have a sea glass appearance. While I had a learning curve for working with these beautiful timbers, the Turners’ had a learning curve for sanding and finishing resin – the job that every resin artist puts off until the last possible minute!!!
The towel platters, made from Western Australian Jacaranda wood grown in Kalgoorlie, were curved two ways! Left to right to allow the towels to be stacked artistically as well as front to back with the curve of the tree! Now resin and curves are not friends in any way so these were super challenging. These were the items that worried me the most as I know how resin goes on curves but did the client truly understand the challenges with these and how they will look? Well after many sleepless nights trying to work out the best way to approach them I came up with a solution to my challenge. Now I am proud to say that this solution is actually quite innovative and I have used it since on another project with much success. A new technique to add to my repertoire. Sometimes victory really is on the other side of fear!
The visual merchandising stands (also made from beautiful Kalgoorlie Jacaranda wood) were flat so easier to resin. They did have a live timber edge (bark) like the towel platters which proves hard to resin up to without it running over and through it. Eek another challenge!
The sister company Peope4Ocean, which creates amazing sun care products that are kind to our oceans and reefs as well as amazing for our skin, were also getting some visual merchandising stands and logo stands. Their items were going to have an ocean vibe, think aerial ocean views and retreating waves. They had a strong vision of what they were after to represent their brand in the spas so I was sweating on meeting this vision! I am happy to report my work was well received by them and they were extremely happy with the flow of the resin.
Now remember through all of this I was working on the amazing creations of Neil Turner. I am in awe of his artistry and felt sick with the thought of living up to the standard of his work. This may sound melodramatic but all I had was the exact number of pieces that were needed for the project. No way of practising and no room for errors!! Oh my goodness!!! No pressure Marina haha
Well I am extremely pleased to say that all of these pieces were finished to the best of my ability, meeting an extreme deadline for all 22 items, and being well received by the staff at the spas and the Directors of LaGaia and People4Ocean. They were all blown away by the quality of work, a lot of which is the finishing touches by Neil and Suellen who are both beautiful artists. I learned so much throughout the project and am proud to add another feather to my cap on my Resinating journey and to have stepped up and collaborated with the gorgeous duo Turner + Turner. Sometimes you really do just have to do it!