G’Day from WA

I’m a passionate West Aussie – 7th Generation in fact!  My ancestors came to Perth on the second boat of free settlers from England and we have lived locally in the greater Wanneroo area ever since.

Through my stall at local markets I am lucky to cross paths with many travellers and visitors to our great state.  I think each and every one of them marvel at our amazing beaches and become instantly enamoured.  They are amazed at how clear the water is and how white and powdery the sand is, they just want to take it all home with them!  An now they can (insert happy dance!).

Gorgeous Australian hardwoods decorated with glossy resin in colours depicting our stunning Indian Ocean.  These boards have “Perth WA”  encased under clear resin and make such a unique keepsake.  Memories of happy times and loved ones ♥

I am so pleased to see the months of planning and trialling these boards come to fruition.  And I’m ecstatic to release them into the world and share a little slice of WA with you all.  Much love, Marina x

An amazing collaboration opportunity

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!

 

Behind the brand – eye update (part 3)

So for those of you waiting for another update on ‘the eye” as we call it you won’t be disappointed!  In my last blog post my gorgeous son was about to have eye surgery to try to repair a traumatic macular hole caused by a misthrown baseball earlier in the year.  Well since that blog post he has in fact had a second surgery as well on that stubborn eye!

His first surgery was a success as far as the actual operation went, and my son was a superstar throughout it all.  His recovery was laying facedown on his tummy facing the floor for almost two weeks and off school for three!  He then was able to go back to school but after a week was told he had to go back onto his tummy again!  Poor little thing (well he’s almost 6 foot so not so little!).  He had multiple eyedrops 6 times a day which gradually got less as he healed.

Unfortunately the hole in his macular just did not want to do the right thing so he had to go back for round two.  This was done just last week.  No news yet as to how it’s going as his eye is once again filled with an ocular implant (gas) so the surgeon can’t see in fully yet.  Had to get the stitches removed today as they were inflaming/irritating his eyelid.  He’s such a trouper ♥

Keep your fingers crossed for a good outcome xx

 

P.S. My gorgeous middle son is coming home from college in America for Christmas!  Cue the happy dancing!  I cannot wait to have all of my three awesome young men home together again ♥

Behind the scenes – life update (Part 2)

Wow!  What a crazy year this has been!  In my last update I was off to watch my youngest son play baseball at the National Championships in Victoria.  Well who could predict that we would in fact WIN the national tournament and then head to California just 4 weeks later to represent AUSTRALIA at the World Series!  How totally amazing!  This was the most surreal and truly special event to be at – and to watch my son and my husband (as coach) represent our country on the world stage…well that was just priceless ♥

This amazing opportunity meant that we had to post pone my sons eye surgery and this will now be done at the end of September.  Although nervous we are all looking forward to gaining some improvement in his vision and moving forward with the healing process.

 

I also headed back to America to finalise my middle son’s college admission and see where he will be living for the next two years.  He received a scholarship to play baseball and study at a college in North Dakota.  This was a truly special week of connection with him as he embarks on this next adventure and experiencing a whole lot of firsts with him.  Again priceless!  He’ll be home for Christmas and this can not come fast enough!  But he has settled in well and taken to it all like a duck to water.  Absolutely living his dream ♥

 

So although these trips gave our budget a hefty hit, I am so grateful that I was able to experience them first hand.  A good friend said to just go and work it out later and this proved to be the best advice we could have received!  I am trying to live present and mindful in the moment and approach things with an open and grateful heart.  This means that the memories I have from these trips will be with me forever.  Truly precious.

Behind the brand – a personal update

As well as a resin artist I am also the mum to three very awesome young men!  2019 has proven to be a huge year for my family.  It has already had its huge highs and a pretty low low.  Here’s a a little bit about it all.  (It’s moments like these that I am so very grateful for my creative space to escape to.)

One of my other hats is “Baseball Mum”.  All of my boys play baseball and all have competed at a very high level representing WA at National and International championships. They play for the love of the game and it is so rewarding to see them strive and work hard to achieve at something no matter the results on the field. They don’t always win but they always learn!

So with this in mind the first high of the year is that my middle son (19 next week) has achieved his ultimate goal and has received a scholarship to attend college in America to play baseball and work towards his physiotherapy degree.  Gosh this has been 10 years in the making and he has consistently worked towards this goal, not always achieving and not always the best player but always giving his all.  We are so very pleased for him and so very proud, but oh this mama’s heart is so sad to see him go!  You raise boys to leave the nest but man I thought he’d be older than 19!  So I am sad and happy at the same time (sad for me and absolutely bursting with happiness for him) which makes for interesting times haha.  He will be coming home for Christmas so I’ll be counting down for that!!

Which brings us to the next event which was a pretty low low.  My youngest son (13) was injured at baseball training one night in February when a miss thrown ball hit him flush on the eye.  This has caused permanent damage to his eyesight (he now has a “Traumatic Macular Hole”) in his right eye and he will be having surgery in July to try to get it back to about 70% vision.  He currently has 30% vision in that eye with a blurry section right in the middle of his vision.  He is the only known 13 year old (or child) in the world to have had this surgery, although it is an extremely common procedure in the 60+ age group for macular degeneration. (As the ball hit him directly on the pupil it has damaged the macular which is the dead centre at the back of the eye in the middle of the retina.)

Wow!  Just like that things sure can change.  But what this has confirmed is that he is an amazing young man, so strong, positive and resilient.  He has never once complained, not once said why me, he has just looked to the future with his positive nature and gotten on with it.  My husband and I learn from him every single day.  He is quite simply amazing!  In fact he is competing in a National baseball tournament next week!  Fearless I tell you! He wanted to pull out so as not to let the team down but the Coach asked him to stay as they could really use his pitching and his positive team player attitude.  His batting and fielding look a little rusty now unfortunately as two eyes are definitely an advantage in tracking a baseball!  His pitching is largely unaffected as it is a different action/process.  He is rocking his high impact protective glasses and loving being part of the team.  So GO NORTH!!  Make sure you’re cheering him on next week!

And then another high!  My eldest son turned 21 this week!  Just wow!  So exciting to watch him grow and mature.  He is a wonderful guy with a true heart of gold.  A loyal, hard working, funny, strong, loving, wonderful young man.  So proud ♥  (And gees I feel old now lol)

So you can see that 2019 has pulled at the heart strings of this mum in so many different ways already!  Not sure how I’ll get through the next half but with my Resinating family having my back and my art to escape to I know I’m in a much better place ♥ Mwah!