Losing My Fingertips – Again

Posted on Tuesday December 18, 2012

I thought when I’d switched from working in marble to using epoxy, I’d left behind the bloodied fingertips. I was wrong.

Yesterday, a telltale red-brown stain sullied the glorious whiteness of my newly-sanded epoxy cloud. Blood was there, because skin wasn’t. After half a day of not using gloves, my 36-grit sandpaper had done its job on my digital epidermis, as much as it had taken the bumps off the epoxy.

Worn fingertips

I’d brought this on myself. After having spent so much time reshaping my cloud – sawing bits off, moving them around, rejoining, filling, smoothing – I decided the epoxy topcoats needed to be underpinned by another fiberglass-reinforced one. I started by using a thin fibreglass tissue, but it didn’t want to curve over all those flowing surfaces without some strong persuading. And using the 3-way axis cloth applied to the very first layer was no easier.

Seeking a shortcut, I mixed some short chopped strand fibreglass straight into the epoxy, thinking it would flow nicely over the curves and lie down like a three year old at bedtime. It didn’t, and left a marvelous furry-looking surface that is as spiky as cactus – very ironic, but sooo post-modernly uncool. That’s meant a lot of work with the rasps and sandpaper to get it half-smooth for subsequent coats. Hence the missing fingertips.

Rasping fibreglass spikes

But the result’s worth it. Yesterday I really got the feeling “Yay! This sculpture will work big-time.” The rounded forms really began to sing to me. I hope they do the same for you.

Smooth forms

I’m on track to finish this work over the next two weeks – yes, it’s taken twice as long as I’d planned, but that’s sculpture-making. Sure, it will make the work more expensive, but I’ll toss in the fingertips for free.