January 06, 2010

Concrete Garden Gods - WIP

Yesterday dawned with no expectations.   Beau went off to the Nature Center and I had a solid 7 hours to myself.   A perfect opportunity to play with the concrete that's been calling. 

I'd also worked concrete in the shed, but with the temperature being in the 40's (I'm not much fond of the cold) decided I'd work in the studio.   Layed out old sheets on the floor and drafting table.   Brought in the mylar sheet to use as the surface. 

Step 1:
Wet down a bucket of sand and formed 4 sand mounds to become the hollow base for my faces.  Inserted 'S' hooks into the sand.  (The part sticking out will embed into the concrete).    Sprayed the sand several times with additional water; it's important the sand is moist wo it does not suck the moisture out of the concrete. 

Step 2:
I mixed the Sand Topping Mix 6 cups at a time in a small bucket to a cookie dough consistency.   Formed small patties with the 'crete' mix and gently patted into place, covering the entire top and sides of each of the mounds at about an approx. 3/4" thickness.

Step 3:
Using small amounts of mix at a time, formed the facial features on each of the masks.   The first two (Upper Left = Puget; Upper Right = Allister) took on an immediate personality with me and I named them as they appeared.  The second two just happened.   

Step 4:  Allowed them to set-up for about 4 hours, then using a small barbecue brush, smoothed out a few creases and blemishes.    Sprayed with water every couple hours, until bedtime, with water to keep the curing mix hydrated.

Step 5:  This morning, gently picked up each face and scrapped the sand mixture out the back, revealing decently shaped hollow areas.  (Only one S hook slipped from position; but I should be able to caulk it into place later).     Scrapped the edges with a thingie (those things that northerners use to scrape ice from windshields).   Using a sanding block, lightly sanded the faces to remove the roughness. 

Step 6:   Put into a plastic garbage bag on the back porch and added about a gallon of water.  Tied the bag closed.      Generally, I leave concrete a month to cure in a moist environment, but with vacation coming up, these guys will probably stay in the bag until Mid-February.

It felt good to be playing with the 'crete again.   Found myself thinking about dogs and knomes and how I don't have any diamond mesh, and where there might be stucco work in progress where I could get diamond mesh, etc. etc. etc.       Maybe when we get back from vacation and the weather gets a bit warmer and I can move back to the shed.


Liz Curtin said...

Love these! Have always wanted to work with concrete. Not sure how I'd do it in a small NYC apartment though!

Micki said...

I think these are really cool.

Lana Gramlich said...

Very nice. I appreciate your creativity!

paula said...

applause for having the where with all to show us the process and make it a little less daunting. really like this! how fun to think of them stored away curing.