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Yesterday the weather was so beautiful I didn’t want to be stuck in my dark, dank, dingy dungeon workroom! I wanted to be outside in the daylight, feeling the sunrays (which if you know me is an entirely unusual feeling). I did the morning chores and pondered what I could transport outside to work out there – I had to be doing something productive. If not I would be wasting precious work time.

I have this project I have been working on for a little while, it is a small part of the super secret collection, so I felt like I was still working on something current and not starting another project.  The only problem is the first part of the project is a task I detest!

*insert psycho music* Sanding back resin *female screams, overly dramatic camera angles …* You get the picture. This task is one I hate with a vengeance, it depresses me just thinking about it, but it is one that is integral to the final piece and has to be done. I would imagine that for a chef it would be the equivalent of making a gourmet meal but then having to go into the kitchen and wash all the dishes by hand before being able to taste the food.

It is a long and tedious task, that from previous experience, I have learnt to do in small chunks. For those of you who haven’t had experience of sanding back resin, this is how it is. You pull out your potential piece of gorgeousness from it’s mould. If you are lucky the resin will be smooth and dry with minimal blemishes for you to clean up. If (like me and my pieces) you are not so lucky they come out sticky with lumps. Either way you have to start with a rough grit sandpaper – around 120 and sand in layers up to 3000 grit. The grit number refers to the amount of granules per inch of paper, so the finer the paper the larger the grit number. Then you finish off with some kind of polishing agent. You have to go through all the stages, otherwise your final piece will have scratches, which aren’t attractive if you want a glass clear finish. When I was finishing my final degree show pieces the sanding stage literally took days to complete.

I toted my stuff outside armed with my ipod and an audio book (Summer Knight by Jim Butcher, read by the silky smooth voiced James Marsters (Spike from Buffy)) and began. I was sat outside in total for around 4 and a half hours. In that time I managed to sand my nails, make the top of my middle finger numb and sand back 14 pieces through 2 levels of sandpaper (120 & 240). It doesn’t sound a lot but that first layer of 120 grit (excuse the French) is a bitch. It takes the longest, is the messiest and is the hardest on your hands. I am so happy that those two layers are out of the way. The next stages although still laborious are not as difficult.

I was super excited to see what had happened inside the pieces. The resin blocks were made because when I was making my degree pieces I had left over resin, I didn’t want to waste it but didn’t have any use for it either. I was basically pouring the resin into the moulds and blobbing random colour in just to see what happened. As the pieces came out so sticky and basically yuck, you couldn’t see what had happened on the inside. I can see the possibilities emerging from each piece. I’m going to relax with the design though and just let it go where it takes me. As these weren’t planned there is no reason to make them into something they are not.

Progress pics below if you would like to see ….