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Archived Guestbook

This page is an archive of about five years of questions and opinions about concrete as an art material. I am no longer able to maintain that interactive system, due to spam. You may also be interested in subscribing to an email discussion list called ArtConcrete. More information is here.

Tuesday, September 27 at 05:22 PM:
Pennie from Michigan wrote:
"I am an elementary school art teacher in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I found your website and I was hoping youÍd be able to point me in the right direction. If you donÍt know the answers, perhaps you can lead me to someone who does! I am interested in creating a unique concrete mural in sections with my fifth graders. IÍd like to have the students create low relief self portraits and figures in clay, fire them in the kiln, and then have the students set their work into cement along with mosaic tiles, smooth glass pieces as one would a stepping stone. My questions have to do with the technical side„1) what type of concrete or cement would work best, 2) would modeling clay inside a tray make a good custom-shaped mould, 3) what are the best ways to mount the work vertically (do I insert something like a wooden dowel and then drill it out after the cement sets up to make a screw hole?) and 4) is there anything else I should know before I attempt this? My wonderful group of students, parents, and staff and I would really appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you so much! "

I would recommend talking to a tile installer. I would imagine a standard tile grout (hardware store) would work, but it is beyond my expertise and there are too many details you haven't told me about, like wall construction, size of tiles and so on. ~AG

Sunday, September 25 at 09:21 PM:
annette from texas wrote:
"i love this texture. i've never seen jewelry made of concrete. I absolutely love it!"

Monday, September 19 at 03:55 PM:
Steve from Albany New York wrote:
"Try Artstuff.com for your concrete fillers, fibers, etc. It's technically Douglas and Sturgess located in Frisco. I think You'll find virtually everthing you'll need for working with concrete on one site at reasonable prices."

Thanks Steve. Minor correction: that's Artstuf.com with one "f". They're also listed on my links page. ~AG

Sunday, September 18 at 07:32 AM:
Johann from South Africa wrote:
"I am still not sure what medium i should use for my casting. I have done serveral designs for wall mounted artwork and would like to start the production thereof. At this stage cement / concrete is probably the cheapest media to stat in although i think the weight might become a problem with my bigger works. Resin is probably the answer to the weight problem but the production price becomes an issue. If you have any suggestions, please mail me at johann@cnsonline.co.za Thanx for a Great Site..."

Friday, September 2 at 08:24 PM:
N. Arthur-McGehee from San Diego, California wrote:
"Just starting to think about working with cement and decided to see what I could find on the internet......... not sure what I am going to do, but thank you for providing so much information!"

Saturday, August 27 at 08:38 AM:
Shirley Erickson from Cape Coral, Fl wrote:
"Thanks for the info. I am 70 yrs young and looking for info on concret countertops. How hard would it be if I tried it myself? Thank you, Shirleyer@aol.com"

Fu-Tung Cheng's book is the one I would recommend. See my books page. ~AG

Friday, August 26 at 05:42 PM:
Ines from Australia wrote:
"Great site! I wonder if I can get anyone to help me locating a product. I read the info on the lightweigth aggregate BST posted by Chris Shields in March. I'm trying to get hold of the company manufacturing and distributing it in Australia (BST Suppliers in Newport)without much luck. Could Chris or someone else in Australia le me know if they are still in business? or maybe where I can purchase a quantity of the betostyrene, or coated polistyrene, beads? I'll appreciate it very much. Ines Pintos : inespintoslopez@bigpond.com"

Monday, August 15 at 09:48 AM:
Magic Ceramic Tilers Online from http://ceramic-tile.atspace.com wrote:
"Hi, I'm also interested in Information about tile, so if you have some please send it to ceramic-tile@ceramic- tile.atspace.com We're beginning to make our own site about ceramic tile ( http://ceramic-tile.atspace.com ), so need a help. Thank you very-prevery much! We are interested in articles first of all. :)"

Tuesday, August 2 at 12:06 AM:
lulitsolomon@yahoo.com from bethel engineering ,ethiopia wrote:
"we would like to plaster sand on a zinc caoted sheet metal using cement as an adhesive please indicate what cement sand ratio we have to use to get stronger bond."

Tuesday, July 19 at 09:01 PM:
mark Tierney from minneapolis wrote:
"I have just started to work with cement and found you web site.... I can only say thank you.. thank you .. thank you"

Thursday, July 14 at 04:42 PM:
Wally from US, California wrote:
"Where can I buy PVA fibers?"

Try http://www.nycon.com. They don't list them on the site, but give them a call. ~AG

Sunday, June 26 at 11:35 AM:
Janoshek Miterski from Jersey wrote:
"What my father learned from his father and I learned from him is that the 1-2-3 mix for concrete is the best with as little water as possible. That is one part cement, two parts sand and three parts stone. That mix is waterproof. I proved it once by making bowls out of different mixes. The 1-2-3 mix held water until it evaporated. Water ran through the others. Over the years my father owned several houses at which he built patios and steps from this type of mix, all mixed by hand. Unless people threw salt on them in the winter, 60 years later they are still there. Around here contractors are so carless they pitch a sidewalk toward the house and steps pitched in instead of out."

Sunday, June 26 at 11:28 AM:
Janoshek Miterski from New Jersey wrote:
"Sherri Hunter's work is garish. I bought her book and dont really like the stuff in it. The best thing in it is the concrete planter since its probably the most useful and functional object."

Wednesday, June 22 at 09:17 PM:
zeroelliott@xtra.co.nz from Auckland ,New Zealand wrote:
"I have been asked to do a sculpture in concrete of an angel for a church garden.Probably on mesh armature about 4-5 ft high-I like the idea of white cement.Any suggestions for references or technical tips? I havent worked in concrete before-mainly in wood/clay/papier mache-thanks-zero"

Thursday, May 12 at 03:21 AM:
James Wheeler from Devon UK wrote:
"From - James Wheeler, student at Plymouth University, UK. Working in metal and concrete, in final year - I have just launched my website. After starting working with these materials I found your work and book very interesating and inspirational. I have placed a link to your site in my links page. Andrew Goss are you 'OK' with this, would it be possible to have a reciprocal link to your site in your Art, Artists, Design, Architecture page. mailto:jameswheeler@artmetal.org.uk http://www.artmetal@.org.uk http://www.artmetal.org.uk/Links%20to%20James%20Wheeler%27s%20site.html"

Monday, May 2 at 07:38 AM:
fred mcgregor from Ottawa wrote:
"The exhibit at the Ottawa gallery was super. Along with looking, following along with the documents on working with concrete was super. The shared gallery space also work really well. best wishes Fred"

Wednesday, April 20 at 9:00 PM:
Andrew from this web site ============================== wrote:
"Chris, some of these questions are answered on this web site, but here's a summary. Glass is sometimes okay, sometimes not. It depends on the type of glass - how alkaline resistant it is. Most plastics should be okay. Most metal is okay but I've found copper based ones (copper, bronze, brass) slow down the set time where it comes into contact with the cement paste. Aluminum reacts badly, and is corroded. I think you should do a series of experiments to test each material
With respect to whiteness, use white Portland cement. For aggregates you will have to use white ones, such as marble dust (for small scale objects) or marble chips, for larger pieces. I've also found a rare white limestone dust. For a pozzolan - see the how-to pages - use Metakaolin, it's fairly white, a little on the creamy side. These ingredients will set white. [Concrete does not "dry", it sets.]

Tuesday, April 19 at 04:16 AM:
Chris from Manchester wrote:
"By the way, further to my previous message what can i add to a mix that will make concrete as white as possible without painting it for a seperate project. How bright is white cement once dry? Thanks again."

Tuesday, April 19 at 04:09 AM:
Chris from Manchester, England wrote:
"Interesting stuff. Due to the alkalinity of cement there are obvious restrictions on what can be added to change the colour and appearance of concrete sculptures. I want to combine crushed glass, plastic fragments and small bits of metal to give luminecsent qualities to a sculpture i intend to produce. The finished piece will remain indoors and will be small scale, so strength is not important. What can i add and what can i not add that wll make my work as different as possible? Cheers. PS If anyone else is experimenting with different colours/textures and finishes let me know your findings and ideas! cjrward@yahoo.co.uk"

Shirley, see this page:

Saturday, April 2 at 06:58 AM:
shirley from florida wrote:
"Where can I buy concrete , cement, rubber molds? Do you know where I can find information on how to make these molds? Thanks!"

Wednesday, March 30 at 12:20 PM:
Andrew from this web site ============================== wrote:
"Mike, I would recommend the book: Concrete Countertops: Design, Form, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath, by Fu-Tung Cheng and Eric Olsen. There are some good basic mixes and enough information to develop your own. Cheng also sells a pre-mix on his web site: http://www.concreteexchange.com/products_neomix.jsp. I don't know enough about epoxy sealers to recommend a brand."

Tuesday, March 29 at 05:12 PM:
mike Isom from utah wrote:
"I am looking for a good formula for a concrete countertop, plus I've heard about epoxy sealers where can I learn more? isomtafame@aol.com"

Tuesday, March 22 at 04:43 PM:
Frank Z from Oregon wrote:
"Thanks for the site. I'm still looking for a good sealer for outdoor work that doesn't yellow, that leaves a natural finish to the concrete. Anyone have any suggestions?"

Very nice and useful website. I'm member of Concrete Society (UK)and read your article "Concrete wears well" in Concrete magazine February 2003:Volume 37 Number 2. I'll be contact with you shortly - I want to offer to place any news from your side on www.e-concrete.ru - #1 in Russia and CIS place for concrete professionals.
Eduard Bychkov St-Petersburg, Russia - Saturday, March 08, 2003 at 01:55:35 (EST)

Hello again, Does anyone know where I might be able to find a book or formulas on making different kinds of concrete? I am trying to make a concrete that is extremely hard so that I may polish it. I really want to make the surface look almost like marble or granite. Where can I buy acrylic polymer? I think this might work. I am also using the dry tamp method of forming. Should I be using the wet pour? Please HELP!! Thanks, Rick
Rick Provance St. Louis, us - Saturday, March 08, 2003 at 11:05:52 (EST)
Sometime ago I asked you a question on using lightweight aggregates in concrete. Late last year after much research I found a suitable lightweight aggregate. After experimenting with polystyrene beads (which do not flow properly in the mix) I found a product called 'BST'. It is simply cement coated polystyrene beads. I just picked up two bags this afternoon, and am looking forward to pouring my furniture mould soon. For those people in Australia who might be interested it is manufactured by BST Suppliers (AUST) of 129 Grandview Drive, Newport, New South Wales, 2106, phone number (02) 918 2610 & costs $43 for a 200 litre bag. Hope this helps everyone.
Chris Sheilds <cbsheilds@iprimus.com.au>
- Tuesday, March 04, 2003 at 05:41:47 (EST)
Thanks for that Chris. In North America a comparable product seems to be B-Lite (TM), with some information at http://www.b-lite.com/bsttext.htm. It does not appear to be cement coated, but "coated with a special additive that employs genetic engineering technology. This changes the surface tension of the beads so that they repel each other, but are attracted to the cement paste." I have emailed them for more iformation about where it is available. They also make building panels. ~Andrew
I am doing research for my sister who is a professional artist, and she will begin experimenting with sculpting in concrete, and she wants to add fiberglass to the concrete. Can anyone tell me the approximate ratio of fiberglass to cement she needs to use for a sculpture approximately 3' to 5' tall, hollow on the inside? Where can the fiberglass fibers be purchased? Also, we are going to try making our own molds from the urethane that Smooth-On carries, what is the best way to get the concrete into the mold, once it's made, since it will probably be pretty thick? Is it absolutely necessary to "vibrate" or "shake" the mold to release any air bubbles in the concrete? What do we use to get the best results? How thick should the walls of the finished sculpture be in order to be "sturdy"? How long does it take for a pc. to cure if kept damp? She is wanting to use to up to 1/2 fiberglass with the concrete mixture, and I was wondering the pros and cons of doing this, if it should or can be done? I hope I haven't asked too many questions, this is my first time posting on this site, but time is of the utmost importance as I need this information ASAP. If anyone out there has experimented with these processes, and would be willing to chat with me about them, I'd appreciate your help so much, or any information anyone could pass on to me would be wonderful. Thank you ~ Wendie
Wendie <wendieclark@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, February 26, 2003 at 22:38:28 (EST)
i want to know where are the site adresses of the manufacturer of precast concrete and grc in canada and europe if possiple , with my best regards to the admin. of this site.
yu <yyy_aamm@yahoo.com>
- Thursday, February 20, 2003 at 08:31:20 (EST)
Fantastic site!!! Can anyone tell me where I might be able to purchase fireplace surround molds? Also are there any books or formulas on making simulated granite/marble? I am unable to find formulas and agraget in different colurs. Thanks so much! Rick
Rick Provance <rick@stonecraftersstl.com>
St. Louis, - Saturday, February 08, 2003 at 09:40:51 (EST)
Excellent web site! I weld metul sculpture and wanted to add concrete. I built the shape I wanted using 1/4 hw cloth and steel support and visited local Home Depot for cement. They had only gray color cement. However there is big selection of thin mortars in tile department. They are made using Portland cement with some plastic additives. They are in different colors which is also attractive, Can you advice on using these thin set mortars for direct concrete sculpture.
masipopa <masipopa@yahoo.com>
- Saturday, December 21, 2002 at 23:07:59 (EST)
One more thing to my previous question. I want to paint concrete sculpture with metal powder paint and patinate it (cheap alternative to four feet bronze sculpure). Any idea on good sealer to isolate the paint from concrete.
- Saturday, December 21, 2002 at 23:25:56 (EST)
My first advice is to try and find white portland cement. See if you can find a place that sells other cement products. In our town of only 20,000 I can get white portland at a tool rental place that rents things like cement mixers to contractors. Other places have stores for concrete contractors.
I don't know what is in those thin mortars and whether they would be safe outdoors over the long term, particularly if they are made for tiles. All you can do is experiment. If you mix your own at least you know what's in it.
There's information about sealers on this web site http://www.makersgallery.com/concrete/howto1.html and also my handbook. I would try and get the V-seal type of sealer as it probably neutralizes some of the free lime (which is the problem with surface painting.) But there are no guarantees with paint on concrete. Again, try some experiments. And let me know how they turn out; I can add it to the web site. ~Andrew

We are building sensors to be placed in concrete bridges. Our initial experiments indicate that the sensor material (Pd-Pt-Au electrodes on an alumina substrate) may be debonding from the concrete. We are guessing this is the result of shrinkage since it occurred several weaks after formation. Does anyone have information about materials that concret bonds to and the strength of the bond. Thanks
Frank Weiskopf <frank.weiskopf@jhuapl.edu>
Laurel, MD USA - Friday, December 06, 2002 at 17:23:05 (EST)
Sorry, I'm only dealing with art issues on this web site. Perhaps someone else can email you directly. ~Andrew
Thank you so very much for your precious web site. So cool! I sculpt in steel and copper, and now working with cement. I have your wonderful book, thankyou; it's great. Be back with you-all real soon, Ken
Ken Engelhard <Kengelhard@Worldnet.Att.net>
Pacifica, U.S.A. - Saturday, November 23, 2002 at 23:23:10 (EST)
I do precast concrete mantels. I'm looking for a way to put as many bubbles as possible in the finished product. It's a certain distressed look I'm after. Any direction or good advice will be welcomed. Thank You, Mike
Michael Stranack <stranack1@hotmail.com>
Fall City , Washington United States - Friday, November 22, 2002 at 21:59:04 (EST)
My only idea would be to add more air entraining agent than recommended, then extra mixing, and see what happens. Air entrainers make tiny air bubbles in the mix, so perhaps too much would make bigger bubbles. Also don't vibrate the mix, which normally frees up the surface bubbles. ~Andrew
I am a inexperience outdoor sculpturer and are tring to locate a supplier of aerated concrete block that I wish to form. Any help would be gratefully received. Thankyou
peter <pdusting@optusnet.com.au>
frankston, vic australia - Sunday, November 17, 2002 at 21:20:21 (EST)
I'm not having any luck either, other than basic information on this web site: http://www.precast.org/pages/mcwinter98/paac.html. Anyone out there got any more sources? Commercial manufacturers use a mix of portland cement, sand, lime and aluminum powder (which generates the hydrogen gas), then steam and pressure to cure the concrete. This sounds difficult to duplicate in the home studio, and potentially dangerous. ~Andrew
I am currently working on concrete sculptures using plywood and aluminium moulds. When casting the concrete I insert aluminium bar and strips near the surface whilst the concrete is still wet. The sculptures are intended for outdooor display and I would be interested to hear if you are aware of any adverse affects from the corrosive affect of aluminium when exposed to outside elements and also being in direct contact with the concrete. I intend to use other non-ferrous metals in a similar maner. any comments? from Gordon in Devon England
Mr G C Basford <basmail@talk21.com>
Dawlish, Devon, UK - Friday, November 08, 2002 at 17:04:13 (EST)
I am confused and a woman trying to understand concrete: I have a few estimates for an apron around our pool. One guy is much less $$ and uses "fiberglass" 4000 psi concrete. The other one is 1/3 more and swears by his work but uses wire mesh and claims fiberglass will show fibers in a couple years and also claims his 3500 psi is not much different from the 4000 psi when all is said and done. Any help here would be appreciated!!!
vem <manuell@bit-net.com>
Newton, NH USA - Saturday, November 02, 2002 at 08:13:42 (EST)
Sorry, this is a web site about concrete as an art material. ~Andrew.
I have been making cast concrete with balloons as the form. I am using a premix sand+cement mixture and adding only enough water to wet the mixture, it can't be poured easily. My problem is that the concrete mixture tends to separate leaving a sandy layer at one end. How can I avoid this? What am I doing wrong?
Aras <aras@apcs.com.au>
Sydney, nsw Australia - Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 18:25:02 (EDT)
Thanks for your question. It's really hard to figure out what's going on without more details, but I'll try. My first guess is that the contents of the bag have separated a bit. They should be well mixed dry before mixing with water. The only other possibility is that you are over vibrating the mix after it is placed. This is done to get rid of air bubbles and to make sure the concrete is settling in, but if it's done too much the heavier aggregates (in this case the sand) will separate out. Hope this helps. ~Andrew
Hi There I am interested in making my own Garden Furniture using concrete I am after any suppliers in Australia with the moulds to do this. Thanks Paul
Paul <pkuzmo@yahoo.com>
Hervey Bay, qld Australia - Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 19:16:02 (EDT)
I stumbled on this site while looking for resources for sand/earthcast concrete. I am having a sidewalk poured tomorrow and thought I would try my hand with the leftover cement by making some birdbaths. Wow! What a great site you have here......I emailed my brother the URL..he is interested in doing his own concrete counters. Keep up the excellent job!
Claire Green <greendoc@sonic.net>
Santa Rosa, CA, USA - Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 23:06:24 (EDT)
Andrew, I enjoyed reading your book. I am brand new to cement sculpting. I apologize, I sent you email directly rather using this site. I live in Arizona. Temperatures rarely get below 60 degrees and are as high as 115-120 degrees in the summer. Curing and workability is a real problem here. Do you have any suggestions on how to work with cement when temperatures are never cool and the humidity is very limited?
Mike Hughes <mdhughes1@msn.com>
Mesa, USA - Saturday, October 05, 2002 at 18:39:06 (EDT)
Love and levitation to everyone- Im an architect/designer - working with metal tube geodesic frame strutures for permanent 'thin shell' domiciles / assorted applications. Ive been currently doing much research for the 'perfect' skin for a metal meshed geo-frame (spherical and non, combination forms, so forth)...everything from papercrete to spray cellulose - then to 'geopolymers' (non-portland cement based, harder than concrete). Ive also been exploring polystyrene bead concrete. I just came apon your site today and reviewed all the guestbook comments. Im wondering if anyone has an opinion on the polystyrene bead- crete?? / experience?? My concerns: I cant seem to find a cheap or free resource for the beads. (I thought it would be much easier to find). Has anyone tried using the polystyrene peanuts in a mix?? Ive been considering building a grinder to reduce the foam packing blocks and so forth into a usable dimension. Finally, and I thank you all in advance, -thoughts on using geopolymers (from fly ash and other low cost materials) as a medium ??
atom <atomicdmt1111@yahoo.com>
santa rosa, ca usa - Friday, September 20, 2002 at 21:23:40 (EDT)
I am looking for people out there that may have built a house out of foamed concrete utilising tilt panel construction as the building medium. I wish to build a house simply using foamed concrete, poured into the appropriate tilt panel moulds. With the addition of reinforcement mesh, I am hoping to have produced a load bearing light weight, insulated wall. From researching websites to date, I have found a number of companies selling foam generators that produce foam that when mixed with a sand/cement mix produces foamed concrete. I have not been able to find people building with the system. I would love to hear from anyone out there.
David Packer <david.packer@cadbury.com.au>
Melbourne, Victoria Australia - Wednesday, August 28, 2002 at 22:35:30 (EDT)
I am looking into whether or not hydrated lime, and sodium sesquicarbonate [Na2CO3*NaHCO3*2H2O], and (possibly)sand would somehow make any of the ingredients in cement or concrete. We mixed these in a silo and the contents turned hard and would not flow out of the silo. If you have any insight into this mystery PLEASE HELP! Daron Diener American Electric Power Intern dadiener@aep.com (614)583-7720
Daron Diener <dadiener@aep.com>
Columbus, USA - Tuesday, August 13, 2002 at 12:54:19 (EDT)
Hi, I just wanted to say to those interested in a lighter concrete, to add "vermiculite" which is a volcanic rock that is commonly available in building materials and supplies shops, and very modestly price. This lava like rock is used (I know this for sure)by the building trade in the Baleares, Ibiza, and in a few southamerican countries where it is added to concrete to lighten the mix ussed to manufacture concrete blocks used to build prefab homes, also vermiculite is a very good thermal insulator, hence its popularity in the hot climates... Greatly enjoyed reading the material on this site, Keep up the excellent work. Juan
Juan Zuccolo <barrocolorado@hotmail.com>
Coquitlam, BC Canada - Monday, March 11, 2002 at 01:47:14 (EST)
Thanks, Juan. Both vermiculite and perlite are used to make lightweight concretes. These materials are also available in gardening supply places in small bags to try out. One mix I have tried is 1 part cement, 1 part perlite and 1 part sand. ~Andrew
I was reading your comment page and noticed a gentleman ask you about lightening up his concrete. I work for a place called ACCO Aerated Concrete systems, we make light weight concrete. It weighs less then concrete, has a better fire, pest, and water resistance. It comes in block and panels. Just check out our web site. www.accoaac.com I hope that could help. It really is a neat product, check it out. Thank you--Vicki
Vicki Myer <vmyer@accoaac.com>
Apopka, Fl Orange - Tuesday, February 05, 2002 at 08:13:18 (EST)
Dear Andrew, I really enjoyed your web page which provided a lot of thoughtful information. However, I am still a wee bit confused over the issue of "cement" vs "concret." Which term is correct? If it is wet, I have been informed it should be called, "cement." If dry, then it should be called, "concert." Is this correct? Help put this question to rest once and for all, please? Since I need to patch some butt joints in the sidewalk, what would be the best patching cement/concret to use that is obtainable in central Ohio? Thanks to responding to my questions.
Mrs. Vanna White <mrsvanna@yahoo.com>
Columbus, OH United States of America - Tuesday, September 04, 2001 at 13:01:20 (EDT)
"Cement" is the active ingredient, ie "portland cement". "Concrete" is any mix that has portland cement in it. See the 2nd page of the web site for definitions: http://www.makersgallery.com/concrete/defs.html Sorry, I only deal with concrete as an art material, so can't help you with your sidewalk. ~Andrew
Hi again Andrew, I left a comment on your webpage about 12 months ago. I am still experimenting with polystyrene beads as a light aggregate. Then I thought about also using air entrainers to further reduce the weight? Do you know if this will/can reduce the weight by a significant amount, say greater than 10%? Cheers...
chris sheilds <cbsheilds@iprimus.com.au>
- Thursday, August 09, 2001 at 01:07:28 (EDT)
Hello,I am searching for formulas or any information on making acid based stains for cement.I purchased some commercial acid stains and I was pleased with the results on a few of my sculptures.I'd like to experiment with my own stains to see if I can achieve different effects.I found some info on stains using ferrous sulfate and copper sulphate but the info wasn't compleat.I wouldn't know where to purchase the chemicals anyway.If you have any info on where I can find formulas for acid based stains or where to buy the chemicals I would greatly appreciate it.Thanks Ben
Ben <Gekkoe2@aol.com>
Stony Point, NY US - Monday, August 06, 2001 at 22:52:00 (EDT)
See the links page and look under suppliers: http://www.makersgallery.com/concrete/links.html. ~Andrew
Hi Andrew, Ever thought of using geopolymers for making sculptures? This material, developed by prof. Davidovits (Saint Quentin, France) are the perfect material for doing this. Geopolymers are the reconstruction of natural stones. For more information you can visit the geopolymer homepage: http://www.geopolymer.org Greetings Andre.
Andre <nws.guest3@nwsmail.chem.uu.nl>
Utrecht, The Netherlands - Thursday, March 01, 2001 at 04:51:56 (EST)
Kudos!! I am starting on a journey of sculpting in concrete. Your site is a grand education and inspiration!! Thank You!
Karen Eberle-Smith <KDESmith@prodigy.net>
Denver, - Tuesday, February 20, 2001 at 16:31:19 (EST)
when out fishing with my dog on a sunny Friday afternoon, not having much luck I might add chewing on my cheese and onoin sandwich, I noticed a rather odd shaped sphere floating in the water besaide my float. On closer studie it revealed its self to be a rather large mass of concrete. Does it define the rules of gravitie ? Does concrete float ? Love a puzzeled fish lover and a great lover of your fantastic site.
frances <redfido@hotmail.com>
Carlisle, england - Thursday, February 01, 2001 at 06:15:58 (EST)
Frances: Interesting question. Try [http://www.cellular-concrete.com/resources.html] where you'll find this quote:____ "Is cellular concrete suitable for long-term use as a marine float device? Cellular concrete will float, and in many cases float indefinitely. Because of its basic nature, cellular concrete used for marine flotation should be encased and used for the fill of a float. For example, a superior marine float could be made with sealed 55 gallon drums full of low density cellular concrete."_____ It appears you can make a foamed concrete either by blowing bubbles into it, or adding chemicals which produce and internal foaming._____ ~Andrew
- Thursday, February 01, 2001 at 09:26:29 (EST)
Looking for fibremesh in Australia. I am looking at making up some moulds and if you know where I could get some it would be most appreciated.
greg <info@amitybungalows.com.au>
Brisbane, Qld Australia - Monday, January 22, 2001 at 01:38:05 (EST)
Wow! What an inspiration and so generous of spirit. I came on to your site while looking where to purchase aerated concrete blocks. Have you come across any? Have you used them? I'm a student with limited site space and am looking for sculptural materials that I can use. Thanks Dale Lang
Dale Lang <dalang@home.com>
Mississauga, ON Canada - Thursday, January 18, 2001 at 18:11:27 (EST)
I have started casting with concrete small figures about 16" tall from clay via plaster waste-molds. I am using white portland with no additional pigment. However, the casts are coming out a pale celery green which I find unattractive. Is this normal when using white portland? Thanks for any advice you can give.
Sid Lunsford <sculpteur@home.com>
Danville, IL USA - Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 13:10:14 (EST)
I noticed many of your questions revolve around improved mix designs. You have referenced polymer additions & fiber reinforcements. Enhance Technology has it's roots in oilwell cementing to minimize shrinkage cracking during hydration and to improve permeability (internally waterproofed concrete without using a sealer). This technology is now used in conventional concrete and mortar mixes including stucco. Projects supplied have included the Dallas Ft. Worth airport to bridge decks in Minn. to fish hatcheries - in hatcheries you have to be very careful with materials leaching out of the concrete that will harm the fish. This may have some interest for you. Check out the website. Cheers Brian
Brian Gafuik <bagafuik@hotmail>
Calgary, AB Canada - Wednesday, December 06, 2000 at 00:55:45 (EST)
I liked what i saw. I also work with concrete but in a interior design objects. It's very nice to see how other artists create.
luis faria <farialfn@net.sapo.pt>
Lisboa, Portugal - Monday, November 13, 2000 at 17:24:48 (EST)
Hi! I was just wondering if you know the standar ratio for a concrete tile (water:cement:aggregate). We really need it for our scholl project. Maybe you could help me. If you have copy, maybe you could send it to my e-mail address. Thank you in advance!
Graziel L. Aranzamendez <graziel_16@yahoo.com>
Manila, Bacoor, Cavite Philippines - Tuesday, November 07, 2000 at 04:28:42 (EST)
I was delighted to find so many adults that also enjoyed playing w/ mud. I sculpt using quicklime and sand mixtures, since the gray color of "portland" cement is so difficult to mask. The mixture is much more "fat" as well, and is easy to work. The problem is curing time. My pieces can't be handled for several days, or even weeks for delicate work. Are there any minerals that can be added to lime mortars to speed up the curing time? Thank you. Erich Hessner ECHessner@aol.com
Erich Hessner <ECHessner@aol.com>
Janesville, WI USA - Sunday, November 05, 2000 at 22:46:30 (EST)
hELLO,I Would Appreciate your recomendation for a durable outdoor sealer for concrete.I'm a scupter,i have been experimenting with different concrete mixtures.I've found one i like working with,i have not found a good method of sealing my work.Can you help? thanks,Ben
Ben Nicolosi <gekkoe@@gateway.com>
sTONY pOINT, us - Wednesday, November 01, 2000 at 15:06:17 (EST)
Ben, I suggest a few types of sealers on the web site. See the materials page: http://www.makersgallery.com/concrete/howto1.html The most important thing, I keep reading, in outdoor work, is to have a dense, good quality concrete. I would recommend the V-Seal type of sealer, as it penetrates the concrete, then combines with free lime to make a denser concrete. (There are other brands too.) You only need to do this once. The silane or siloxane types also penetrate and help waterproof. I think they should probably be repeated every few years. I wouldn't use the acrylic types unless they have a non-yellowing guarantee.Many factors influence how long concrete lasts out of doors. Water combined with freezing appears to be the worst enemy. Road salt is bad too. Let me know the results of your own tests. Feedback keeps this web site current. ~Andrew
Thank you! You work in my favourite materials: concrete, metal, and shiny things (glass, precious stones, plastic, etc.). Your work is beautiful. All of it. Value is in the eye of the beholder not in the media used. There are some darned UN-valuable items encrusted with 'precious' materials for sale. Thank you for this gluttony of beauty.
Brenda Kusan <bkusan@netscape.net>
Georgina, Ontario Canada - Thursday, October 19, 2000 at 12:53:18 (EDT)
new server test
Andrew Goss
- Tuesday, October 17, 2000 at 14:12:52 (EDT)
Hi, Regarding the sealant you use. One of these mentioned penetrates into the concrete and reacts with the lime (alkali). I was looking for a sealant to us on some concrete around the house. I found some in the states. BUT the shipping and exchange will kill you. There is a Canadian equivalent made by a company in Saskatoon. You can access their Web site at : "WWW.SEAL-IT.SK.CA" They sell a 20 liter pail for approx. $142.00 +shipping. It will do the same thing. That is, it will penetrate and react with the lime as well. Ciao 4 now Don
Donald Boyer <su.dance@home.com>
Calgary, Alta Canada - Thursday, October 05, 2000 at 12:49:30 (EDT)
Thanks Don. I've added their site to the links page. It's good to find a Canadian source for this type of sealer. ~Andrew
I am interested in your mentioning styrofoam beads as a lightening ingredient. Do you have any further information regarding this? Can concrete be made to float? Thanks for the cool website - it1s made me think in new directions...
cal <designer@hakujin.com>
Portland, OR USA - Monday, September 25, 2000 at 18:17:51 (EDT)
An excellent website - thank you!
cal <designer@hakujin.com>
- Monday, September 25, 2000 at 18:08:18 (EDT)
Exellent exellent site, it was exactly what i was hoping for, innovative ideas with a lot of differet inspirations and idea. I love the idea of using concrete in jewellery and esp love the hidden diamonds and opal! Keep it up Andrew, i'll be back to visit the site soon no doubt!
Emily Weir <carra.emily@awagencies.freeserve.co.uk>
Edinburgh, UK - Saturday, September 02, 2000 at 09:06:57 (EDT)
Excellent site. Kudos to you for your attention to detail and clear concise functionality. I am a manufacturer / supplier of metakaolin. www.metakaolin.com We are large volume, basic producers, and am interested in identifying distributors / marketing specialists to your application market(s). Chris Wright Advanced Cement Technologies, LLC (800)595-7552 (US & Canada toll free) (360)332-9321 chriswright@metakaolin.com
Chris Wright <chriswright@metakaolin.com>
Blaine, WA USA - Tuesday, July 18, 2000 at 16:23:44 (EDT)
Thanks Chris. Metakaolin.com is a great web site with some useful information resources. I've put a link to it on the links page. ~Andrew
Finding your site has made my weekend. Thank you very much! For a long time i have been trawling for information on how to dry-cast concrete. I heard that the dry mix goes into the mould and a precise quantity of water is added, but have never found any instructions. (I did try the search site). Two ideas I've picked up over the years, but not yet experimented with are using clingfilm\foodwrap to line moulds to give a gloss finish and using black boot polish as a finish. Experiments here we come!
charles quekett (MonkeyC) <psyberman@cwcom.net>
Wales\UK - Sunday, July 09, 2000 at 06:30:57 (EDT)
Andrew, Very much enjoyed your site. Have only done one concrete experiment so far & it turned out extremely well. Used combination of cement & copper wire. I also am plagued by "creative guilt" (am trapped in production work with a totally different endeavor, as evidenced by my website. Question: Since I've crafted many functional items for our home, I'm currently interested in concrete countertops. They're very expensive to hire an installer but am wondering if it's possible to for an amateur to attempt, using reinforcement, ie: wire mesh, etc. In lieu of solid surface, concrete tiles would be acceptable. Any suggestions on this? Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work. Linda
Linda <artfelt@gis.net>
Wolfeboro, NH US - Tuesday, June 13, 2000 at 13:17:17 (EDT)
I've got a couple of links to information about concrete countertops on the links page. This would be useful: http://www.decorative-concrete.net/counttop.html. I have not had any experience myself with countertops.
I have made concrete tiles. You can make some simple forms with plywood and thin strips of wood to build up the depth. Make sure the mold is waterproof (lining it with plastic sheet makes an interesting texture.) I also used glass fibers as reinforcement (see the how-to section) as it's tricky to get the mesh to lie flat in a thin mold. Another visitor to the site suggested using a heavier steel mesh for counter tops as it lies flat; it's called "road matt" . ~Andrew

Hi Andrew, great site, really helpful to see more people using concrete for art after so many months of searching the net and only findind driveways and birdbaths. Now for the question: I've been trying to cast medium-size concrete pieces and have been plagued by air bubbles. My set-up is extremely low tech. Any thoughts? Thanks, Thessia
thessia machado <tmachado@curiouspictures.com>
ny, ny - Wednesday, May 24, 2000 at 18:02:56 (EDT)
Hi Thessia: I get a lot of questions about driveways and birdbaths, believe me!
The only things I can suggest for air bubbles:
--use a vibrator. The commercial ones are probably too big for your scale, so try something that will vibrate the air bubbles up through the mix. Tap the mold with a rubber hammer.
--use a wetter mix. The problem here is that the wetter the mix the weaker the end result.
--trowel the mix directly onto the surface of the mold, with enough pressure that you're sure there are no air bubbles, then pour in the rest on top of this layer. Your mold may not allow this method.
I don't know of any way to prevent air bubbles from entering the mix in the first place. After all, the mix has to be mixed. What mix are you using, proportions etc? ~Andrew

Hi there.. I'd just like u to know that your page helps me a lot in doing my research about concrete materials One major thing i want to ask u though.. Can we use laser for engraving or tooling or cutting these materials ? what kinda laser ? any info about that laser ? can u please give me more information ? thank you
agatha <missyou81@hotmail.com>
Omaha, NE usa - Tuesday, May 16, 2000 at 15:06:37 (EDT)
Found your webpages fascinating. I am an industrial designer from Australia and have designed a home entertainment unit which I intend to cast in concrete. I have just done a test pour using polystyrene beads as a light-weight aggregate. It needs a little fine tuning but seems to retain good strength with little weight. Then I was reading about Steve Huntley's use of paper pulp as an aggregate, interesting! I will be sure to submit some photos and a blurb on the project when it is finally finished.
Chris Sheilds <cbsheilds>
Australia - Friday, April 28, 2000 at 10:35:13 (EDT)
Elaine: Thanks for the positive feedback. Can you email me your email address so I can get more details about the gallery? ~Andrew
- Wednesday, March 22, 2000 at 19:46:52 (EST)
your site is exceptional i am so happy to have found all this information i am an artist and teacher having used cement with my high school students i know how difficult it can be without the needed information you work is beautiful, dynamic, masculine the surface treatment of form interests me very much in my own work you have given me inspiration i also know other sculptors working in cast cement and i will share your site with them i know they will benefit greatly from seeing your technical information and ideas thank you thank you thank you also, would you consider showing in our members gallery in troy new york? if so, contact Fulton street Gallery, 430 Fulton Street, Troy, NY
elaine emmanuel
us - Wednesday, March 22, 2000 at 11:51:42 (EST)
I stumbled upon your site while looking for something completely different but I must admit I found your ideas on using concrete in jewellery very refreshing.
I would like to make a suggestion. Have you tried using silica fume in the mix? If you mix in between 5 and 15% of silica fume in the cement before mixing with other aggregate this will improve both the strength and appearance of the concrete. I also recommend that you use lots of plasticizer in this mix. Well best of luck Andrew, keep experimenting! Sweden - Tuesday, December 21, 1999 at 11:26:25 (EST)

Rickard VŠnnstršm
Thanks for the information. I have since done some internet research on silica fume and found that:
- it's a waste product from the manufacturing of certain metals.
- it's particle size is 1/100th that of the cement particles, so it fills in spaces normally occupied by water.
- this makes the resulting concrete up to twice as strong in compression, and much less permeable.
Now I have to source it and do some experiments. It sounds like a great additive for small scale work. I've added a link to Lafarge's excellent description of the material on the links page.

I enjoyed your concrete+steel site. I want to let you know about an aggregate I use. Similar to white sand, it's called "swimming pool aggregate". It's used to finish pools & is made from marble dust. When finished with a steel trowel, it really shines! My recipe is 1.5 ag. to 1.white portland. It takes dye beautifully. I add the powdered dye to the water first to get even color.
Paul Schneider
Providence, RI - Tuesday, December 21, 1999 at 11:23:32 (EST)
Pinch me!! I MUST be dreaming! A website about scupting with concrete? I have been starving for any bit of information I can scrounge up, and I finally hit the Mother Lode! Andrew - incredible!
I am finally in the stage of transforming an idea from my brain into reality. Right now, I am in the development of a fiberglass shell mold from which I will be attempting to cast various mixtures of concrete and cement into via the pressing method. The first mixture I will be trying out will be a hypertufa mix,combining cement, peat moss, sand, and either vermiculite or perlite as an ingrediant to reduce the weight of the finished product. The second will be a cement/sand mix which will be used as a bonding agent for fine-grade steel wool, which when the final product is cured, should resemble granite stone.
Andrew - three questions for you: 1) What is involved in obtaining an airated mixture with a great deal of porosity? 2) How can I obtain a finish that resembles marble or striated stone? 3) Is it possible to obtain a finish that resembles oxidized brass utilizing a cement patina? Thanx for the terrific site - you are helping many more people than you could ever realize!

Randy Fox <saundersfox@cybertime.net>
Yucaipa, CA USA - Thursday, October 21, 1999 at 01:18:56 (EDT)
Thanks for your positive response, Randy. Your questions...
>1) What is involved in obtaining an airated mixture with a great deal of porosity?
You need an air entrainer of some sort, see the sources on the how to page. It's difficult to find in small quantities. Then just the normal mixing produces microscopic air bubbles which have a variety of positive effects: frost resistance, more plasticity. This may not be the sort of air bubbles you want. I don't know about larger bubbles.
>2) How can I obtain a finish that resembles marble or striated stone?
You'd have to experiment there. I would suggest mixing up two batches of concrete: one with an oxide dye and one without. Keep the mixtures fairly stiff and mix them together carefully just before you apply the concrete. I don't think pouring would work too well in this case. Think of making a marble cake: fold the two together, don't mix them up or the colours will run together. I get a two-colour surface by casting against a textured surface, then after the initial set, rubbing a different coloured cement into the texture.
>3) Is it possible to obtain a finish that resembles oxidized brass utilizing a cement patina?
I don't know that much about patinas on cement. I have tried using a copper nitrate and water patina in much the same way you would patinate bronze -- applying with a brush and heating the surface with a torch. You have to do this under a fume hood and eye protection, and be aware of the possibility of the concrete surface cracking or exploding. In other words don't do this unless you've got the equipment and the experience. The results are a turquoise blue that appears quite durable when sealed. ~Andrew

Happened upon your page while looking for material ideas for a final year project @ University. I'm a Model Designer (by course title) but designer - sculper by personal preference :) Very nice site, hope to see some new additions, It's given me another horizon to explore.
Andy Gray <andy_s_gray@yahoo.com>
London, UK - Monday, October 04, 1999 at 06:20:19 (EDT)
It was refreshing to see your site after looking a long time for resources on working with cement. I have read "Sculpting with Cement" and read a lot about Buddy Rhodes work, but this is the only information that I have found. I'm using cement in conjunction with wood to create furniture. I'm trying to create pieces with a high gloss finish and heard of using "Methyl Methacrylate" but can't find it or even figure out what it is, any suggestions? Kitter FunctionalArts.com
Kitter Spater <kspater@functionalarts.com>
Burlington, VT USA - Wednesday, September 29, 1999 at 15:11:06 (EDT)
As far as I know methyl methacrylate is just the long way of saying acrylic. So I think what you're looking for is a simple concrete or wood sealer. The package should confirm that it is an "acrylic sealer." See the how to page for more details on sealers. ~Andrew
Do you have a contact or web address for Patrice Fabre. Do you know who distributes his work in the US?
- Monday, September 13, 1999 at 20:50:43 (EDT)
Sorry I can't help you. I just obtained the photos of his work and permission to use them.
Congratulations! Your work is very nice! I was informed about your work and site on ABCP (Associa‹o Brasileira de Cimento Portland) newspaper called "Cimento Hoje".
Maria Teresa Schneider <tqs@iname.com>
S‹o Paulo, SP Brazil - Wednesday, June 16, 1999 at 23:38:19 (EDT)
Thanks for the information on your site. It's been, or hopefully will be very helpful in my sculpture for a college architecture project. Questions--How necessary is fibermesh in projects of medium scale (like the notched piece) if wire mesh and rebar are used? Could human hair (I don't plan on doing any scalping--it could easily be found on barber shop floors) do the same trick as this material? Or are there other commonly found substitutes?
Charles E. Weber II <cwber@yahoo.com>
Lexington, KY USA - Saturday, April 24, 1999 at 19:51:29 (EDT)
Charles: Fibremesh doesn't appear to add much in the way of strength to larger work. But it is used for medium and large scale construction work (floors in garages, for example) to prevent shrinkage cracks that occur in the first few days of setting. These cracks can get larger and allow water penetration, so I use Fibremesh in all my work now. It also gives the concrete a nice consistency.
Human hair?! Worth a try, but I suspect the alkalinity of the cement might break it down fairly quickly, in the same way that normal glass fibres don't last in cement. But they might last long enough to prevent some shrinkage cracking. Let me know how it works out. I like the idea of the imbedded hair. ~Andrew

Very interesting and imaginitive site. When I have digested the contents, will let you know if we have any interesting products to try out. Best wishes.
Our booklet by Edward Folkard CASTING IN CIMENT FONDU (990-504) is available, and is one of our standard Technical Booklets.Published priced at £1.75 plus p & p (which in the UK is 35p).

Alec Tiranti Ltd <john@tiranti.co.uk>
Reading, Berkshire UK - Wednesday, March 31, 1999 at 03:28:25 (EST)
This brochure is now listed on our how-to page, in the books section.
Andrew, Thanks for a most enjoyable site. Dropped in on it while looking for documents published by the PCA (Portland Cement Assoc) in Illinois. Glad to see people are using concrete so creatively. At one time, Hawaii was the mecca of exposed concrete work in building construction because of the ideal weather conditions. Unfortunately, the drop in the quality of tradesmen has rendered concrete just another building material. Kind of sad. Unlike your region where the cold presents problems, we have just the opposite here because of the hot humid weather. Concrete pours on job sites go off incredibly fast and set up way too quickly, making the finishing of slabs a mad rush, not to mention the cracking problems because of overly-quick hydration. Keep updating; look forward to seeing more. Aloha.
Mike Muromoto, AIA <dpi@aloha.com>
Honolulu, HI US - Monday, March 01, 1999 at 23:06:27 (EST)
This is a really informative page, it's great. I was also wondering if when concrete is used in bridges over salt water is there anything added to it to protect it against the wave and salt water action?
Trevor <tfinlays@is2.dal.ca>
Halifax, NS Canada - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 13:02:34 (EST)
Sorry, I'm not familiar with area at all.
Thanks very much for your fascinating website. I admire the beauty and simplicity of your work. I am coming from the garden angle and am currently designing a birdbath out of cement with metal support...I read with great interest your weatherizing advice. In my case, I must make sure the products are non-toxic. I was recently at the Cast Stone Institute site, www.caststone.org and noticed that they recommend a water repellant containing silane or siloxane for weatherproofing. This one is supposed to bond with the surface on a molecular level and be invisible. It's made by Lighthouse Products, PO Box 1253, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32170.
Mary Meppelink
- Sunday, December 20, 1998 at 13:02:37 (EST)
See more details in the how-to page in the sources section, including a Canadian supplier. ~Andrew
I found this site while doing research for a jewelrymaking class. I'm excited to see your work. I am currently an art major at Goshen College, but for the past two summers I have been a carpenter. I am now hoping to use the carpentry experience and ideas in sculpture--I love structure and frameworks. Many times on the jobsite as I was leveling or finishing a cement floor did I think about the possibilities of the medium. But I've never seen concrete used on such a small scale. I am very interested in your work! Carry on...
Jason A. Miller <jasonam@goshen.edu>
Goshen, IN USA - Thursday, September 17, 1998 at 19:19:11 (EDT)
I just found your site on concrete art -- it is incredibly informative, especially in showing the different approaches (i.e., casting, or fabricating). I was wondering, however, if you have any additional info (for a fellow sculptor) on how these different methods weather in the outdoors. And do you know of any limitations (in size or gauge) for the wire mesh approach?
Your work is quite elegant, btw. I especially appreciate the choice of materials in relation to the form and scale of each piece.

Laura M <lamdoo@galaxy-7.net >
Tuesday, September 15, 1998
Outdoors: In our region the freeze-thaw cycle is the hardest to deal with. You should be using an *air-entraining agent* as an additive (MicroAir etc), which makes tiny air bubbles in the mix and helps prevent freeze-thaw cracking and spalting. Also eliminate shapes that trap water that can freeze in the winter and split the concrete. You can also add a *plasticizer* or *water reducing agent* (Pozzolith etc), which allows you to use less water (up to a third less) which can double the compressive strength. Sourcing these materials is a BIG problem as the manufacturers won't sell it to you (you're too small) --- and the local redi-mix places, who buy them in bulk, may find you a nuisance. I would also use *fibres* in the mix, to prevent shrinkage cracks which can develop into bigger cracks.
Acid effects from the atmosphere shouldn't be any worse than on concrete sidewalks and curbs, although in those cases a lot of the strength and resistance to corrosion comes from the stone or gravel in the mix, and my recipes aren't using crushed stone. If you're doing large cast outdoor pieces you should be using crushed stone, probably in a 1:2:3 ratio (cement, sand, stone).
If you're using the method of building concrete on a form using steel mesh, make sure the mesh is totally covered and below the surface, to prevent corrosion and rusting of the steel (staining the surface).
Size or guage of wire mesh: This is really an engineering question. The concrete when set may be able to support itself over a certain length span, even with just the steel mesh inside, but long-term it should have enough steel rebar (reinforcing rod) to increase the tensile strength.
Check back to the site soon as I hope to have more updates, and hopefully a simpler way of explaining the ratios in the mixes, along with the additives. ~Andrew

Your web site is fascinating and informative. I've been struggling to do creative things with cement for the past several months, and until I ran across this spot, inspiration from the web has been meager (short of the ubiquitous concrete canoe project). Your projects show just how much can be accomplished and gives me something to shoot for.
I've been experimenting with mixing concrete and paper pulp to create a composite material similiar enough to wood to make a practical furniture-building material. I've found that a roughly half-and-half mix can be molded into stiff,strong planks not much heavier than a dense hardwood. I've made bookshelves for my apartment, and I'm working on a dining table. I hope to have some documentation of my own on the web soon.
I'm interested in giving people the means to create the practical objects in their lives quickly and cheaply, to avoid being saddled with the ugly expensive stuff in the stores, without the expense and space requirements of traditional woodworking equipment. I belive that if people have the means to execute the practical quickly and cheaply, they'll find a way to make it beautiful as well.

Steve Huntley <steveh1491@aol.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Tuesday, August 18, 1998 at 19:08:01 (EDT)
Steve, your work with cement and paper pulp sounds really interesting. Please keep me informed as to your progress. I have heard of potters using paper pulp with clay to give strength to green clay until it dries. I'm curious also about the shelves --- concrete can "creep" over time. But if the mix results in a less slumpable (word?) medium than the usual cement sand mix, it could make a great sculptural material. Please keep in touch and let me know when you get some information on the web. ~Andrew

Firstly, GREAT SITE. I've got a quick question. Do you have any guide lines for a concrete mix with just cement, sand and water. As an example: X amount of cement, Y amount of sand, and Z amount of water makes W amount of the final mix. Any assistance would be greatly appriciated. I like the fibre mesh and polymer idea - I'm just starting off slowly.
Jeff <rosaticj@sprint.ca>
Calgary, AB Canada - Tuesday, August 11, 1998 at 15:02:50 (EDT)
Jeff, thanks for your enquiry and support of the concrete and metal site. I'm afraid there's no easy answer to your question for the ideal mix. Can you tell me what you're using the mix for: sculpture, jewellery, garden ornaments? And what process: casting, building up on a mesh form? Then I can be a bit more specific. The amount of water varies considerably, mostly due to the dampness of the sand. The rule is to use as little as you can get away with -- enough to dampen the whole mix -- the less water the stronger the final result.
For my small sculptures I'm using a ratio of one part cement to one part sand with the other additives. This is fairly rich. A usual mix would be one part cement to two or three parts sand. Add the water sparingly -- if you can make a ball with it it's not too wet. If you are casting something the mixture has to be wetter to pour into place. ~Andrew

Andrew, many beautiful things are constructed of concrete. In Wellington there is a wonderful cathedral composed entirely of concrete blocks and cast details. I wondered, how'd it be it you were to pre-cast concrete components like say sections of tube, and put them together with the holes lined up a la brick wall with thin rebar and fresh binding concrete syringed down the holes? MUST be possible. It's only scaled down architecture. Or Retaining walls!
I see you've shown some images of recent concrete work (earrings on the Artmetal chat) - well I wonder if you've done a lot of tests, of components, bits and pieces that test concrete in various technical and conceptual applications? Without having it end up as an item of jewellery too early. Have you? May I see some? Regards, and I hope your investigation is going well. Brian

Brian Adam <brian@adam.co.nz>
Auckland, xxx New Zealand - Sunday, May 17, 1998 at 15:00:48 (EDT)
Brian, thanks for the "scaled-down architecture" ideas. Another jeweller (Bruce Metcalf) recently suggested this area of exploration too. Perhaps this is because we connect concrete with building. And yes, I have done some tests on small scale components --- I'll try and get some photos together and put them on the how-to page.~Andrew
First, I'd like to thank you for all the info. I checked out the WKU canoe site too and found it very helpful. But I can't find these two things -- the latex and the "fibermesh". Can you point me in the right direction?
Janet Warren
Texas USA - Monday, May 11, 1998
Janet, prompted by your questions I've added a section called "sources" to the how-to page. It's very general, but may point people in the right firection. And thank you for the subsequent information sent in your other emails. I've added it to that page as well.~Andrew
Andrew: I discovered your page last night. Wow. I have just finished a show with my local metals guild where the direction of the show was pushed towards how much gold and how many gems can you put into one piece. The "theme" was opulence opulence opulence. It became rather noxious & toxic. Your webpage and the the concepts you are exploring are like a breath of fresh air in comparison. What is the inherent value of a piece? Where does value lie. Your hollow form/cement rings are ever so much more appealing then the gold and gem encrustations I so recently encountered. I hope Metalsmith magazine picks up on your work/concepts so it can be presented to an ever widening audience. Thanks for all. Fox
CM Fox <foxon@europa.com>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, May 08, 1998 at 11:45:03 (EDT)
Our culture has not valued the flat, the heavy and the dull (even in people!) and except in trophy rocks on carpeted lawns. I like the idea of equalizing cement and silver - how much do your rings and bowls weigh - they contain cement after all!
susan gibson
owen sound, ont canada - Tuesday, March 24, 1998 at 00:39:17 (EST)
The straight forward answer is that the rings weigh a bit more than your average ring; enough to make you conscious that you are wearing something more than a simple band. The bowls do not weigh a lot more than a thicker pottery version, although they certainly look heavy (I think because we tend to associate concrete with heavy structural forms, like the foundation of a house.) I like your expression "the flat, the heavy and the dull" as that could be describing a Zen sensitivity. Our culture likes shiney automobiles, glowing monitors and sparkling precious things. "Flat, heavy and dull" materials allow an exploration of form and concept without distractions. Of course potters know this, but it's not a common perception in the jewellery and metal world.~Andrew
There is a vast world of compounds and polymers which used with concrete may be interesting to research and apply to the concept of recycling or even to the idea of giving new definition to preciousness ( kind of "the trash of today is the diamond of tomorow"). ...I think that the recycle element can be used in your project as well as a gallery of experimental works submitted from as many artists as you can get. I suppose you may have already thought of that and I am sure your concrete project will grow into a beautiful and very useful thing.
Lydia Ilarion <lydia@dsuper.net>
Montreal - March 07, 1998
I am developing the idea of a gallery for experimental works using concrete in creative ways. Interested artists and craftspeople can submit photos to me as JPEGs via email: see contact page. For more details on how to submit go to http:www.makersgallery.com/invite.html. ~Andrew
This guestbook is a great idea, Andrew. It'll be like a running discussion. I've seen them work really well. I wish you luck in your research. Tell me, has it taken you long to get into research mode? I discover each time I do new work for a major exhibition that I go through 'creative guilt' as I do work that takes me away from safe money-earning work, that has me taking risks, often goes wrong, seems to go nowhere, and effectively loses me money. This is a stage. A worrysome stage for me.
Bri <brian@adam.co.nz>
Auckland, New Zealand - Sunday, March 08, 1998 at 13:24:38 (EST)
I see you've been there. It is a difficult time, because it's fairly new territory for me; but that challenge also makes it exciting. The hardest part was trying to extricate myself from my "normal" jewellery-making life to make the time for this project. Andrew
I was most interested in the concept of the importance of discovery in your first piece. What if there were no cubic zirconia to be found? Would the search itself be wonderful and valuable if there were no reward? Is the valuation of preciousness an essential element or offshoot of the process of self-discovery and reflection?...What I mean is: While we search for the precious, do we evaluate that process and whether or not the search is worthwhile? Does that bring us to an understanding of what has value/worth for each of us as individuals?
Bill Murphy <bmurphy@log.on.ca>
Owen Sound, ON Canada - March 4, 1998
Yes. I think the whole process of investigation, creation and reflection has value in itself. And in the same way, a work that is centred around an idea rather than a valuable material is valuable or precious.
My first impression was that you are evangelising. Preaching. Have a chip on your shoulder. Need to work through an anger. It's anti-art. Starting from a reaction, start-point a negativity..."My thesis is that real value is in the beauty, in the art or craft of what we make with our hands, our hearts and our minds, not in the preciousness or the cost of the material."... Okay, I see how the negativity will spawn a creativity.
Brian Adam <brian@adam.co.nz>
New Zealand - March 4, 1998
I agree that the web site seems to start too negatively, and have changed the wording slightly. I don't want this project to come across as being founded in the negative. I look on this material exploration as an opportunity.

Andrew Goss
781 Second Avenue West, Owen Sound, Ont., N4K 4M2 Canada
Tel: (519)371-1857