We stumbled across Teena’s Instagram account @theladyofmanycolours the other day. Intrigued by countless pictures of beautiful surfboards, we got in touch with Teena and interviewed this talented gidget.
You call yourself ‘Fibreglass Resin Artist’. For those of us, who are not familiar with the art of surfboard making, can you explain what you do?
In brief…after a foam blank is shaped, it comes to me to be laminated. This process combines both resin and fibreglass cloth with hardener to seal the foam and create strength. First the cloth is laid over the shape and cut to size, the resin is applied with a squeegee to be evenly distributed and to saturate the resin into the cloth.
Fibreglass Resin Art is adding colour to the resin and creating a design/art within this process.
How did you get into Resin Art?
Where do I start…I guess its been a progression. I started my surfboard making journey 15 years ago. I heard of a possible job opportunity to learn surfboard manufacturing at Diverse Surfboards through a friend and so I asked to be introduced. For the first 3 months i worked for free just watching and doing factory hand jobs.Then eventually got offered a position to learn shaping and spraying painting. Being small business though you had to be multi skilled, so it wasn’t long before I started laminating.
I spent 10 years at Diverse learning all the facets of surfboard manufacturing, both in production and business.
Towards the end of my time at Diverse, I completed studying Multimedia and Graphic Design.
Soon after I started working at DMS Surfboards where I really honed my laminating skills. Dan MacDonald broke it down into the smaller details and made me see each part of the laminating process in a different way. He really helped me take my laminating to the next level. As my skills improved I got the chance to learn resin art and straight away… I was hooked! Everything about it appealed to me. The colours, the experimenting, the challenge, and how far I could push the boundaries.
After about 18 months at DMS I was offered another opportunity by Steve Del Rosso from Clearwater Surfboards. Where I started “The Lady of Many Colours”. Steve gave me free reign to keep experimenting and improving the art form. Where I did such brands as Black Apache and Dead Kooks.
Might be a silly question, but do you surf? What’s your favourite ocean playground?
Yes I surf but not as much as I’d like to. I tend to fill my days and weeks by doing lots of activities and projects. So I try to keep a balance of everything. I love fitness, so I play touch footy, AFL, boxing, running and go to the gym.
I’m also currently designing a line of ‘The Lady of Many Colours’ fins and working on a new surfboard label ‘Refynd’ in collaboration with Steve Del Rosso’s shapes.
Creating retro shapes with new age functionality. Another words…pretty boards that actually work. Steve has over 20 years of experience and currently has a number of state and australian longboarding champions, such as Clinton Guest.
My favourite ocean playground would be anywhere quiet and away from the crowds. I grew up on the far north coast of NSW, so most of the breaks along there.
What’s your favourite board you’ve ever made?
Haha I really couldn’t give you a favourite. I’m always experimenting and challenging myself, so theres always something new I learn. So there’s always a new favourite.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that I can constantly push the boundaries. Resin has a mind of its own, so understanding it with all its colourful personalities is the ultimate challenge. Then you add the day to day variables of the environment. Knowing your mixes in different temperatures and humidities and then you add design into the process…. I’m in heaven. Some creations can really get the adrenalin pumping because the resin has to set at exactly the right time.
I also mix my colours by eye, so i love experimenting with new ones and trying different colour combinations.
What’s the least favourite part about your job?
Least favourite part would be that I never have enough time in my day to do all the things I want to do.
What does a typical day look like in the life of a Resin Artist?
Mmm…the best way to describe it is….that I get to play arts and crafts all day. So lots of smiles and lots of fun…even when its challenging at times.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from everywhere, I might walk down the street and see something that someone is wearing or colour combinations on an advertisement or from instagram and other artists or I might be experimenting with something and it triggers an idea.
Are all of your boards unique?
I guess my boards are unique to me because I’m always trying something new.
But art is subjective, so its in the eye of the beholder.
If someone orders a board to be customized by you, do they have usually a good idea of what they want or do they give you free reign?
Its mixed. Some people come in with a great idea, some give me free reign, some just give me colour combinations they like, and some I sit down with and we bounce ideas off each other.
Have you ever completely destroyed a board?
I’ve never completely destroyed a board but had a couple of close calls. Sometimes your working blind trying a new design and having to guess your time frame / mixes to suit the elements (temperatures).
How long does it take you to make one of these beautiful, colourful boards?
Just for what I do in the laminating process and depending on the design and the number colours…anywhere between an hour to four hours.
What’s your advice for anyone who would like to get into Resin Art?
I think what helped me the most was learning as much as I could about surfboard manufacturing. Being patient and letting my goals naturally develop because everything I have learnt has developed my skills to be able to do what I’m doing now and keep on progressing. For example, learning to tape up for spray painting made it easier to transition into some of the steps in resin art.
And no matter what gets thrown at you, always find the positive in it and what can learn from it.
How can I get one of your boards?
I deal mostly in customs. So its best to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anything else, you think our Gidget readers should know about you?
Just that I hope that they’ve enjoyed reading some of my story and that it inspires them to keep learning and that every experience great a small is a step closer to your own goal.
Photograpy by Aaron Abraham #chasingsanctum