in the last couple of weeks before school goes back,
i am doing some concrete work which
usually involves a wire armature-
small chicken wire, netting clips and miles of wire.
i am getting better at not sticking myself-
collanderized fingertips are no good for
a string player- the bouzouki is demanding enough
in the fingertip department.
So, just about ready to begin applying the concrete
to the barrel for the Rocket Oven and a sculpture.
To be on the safe side i am making a small scale test
piece for the feed tube part of the oven-
a small Fairy sized one (!)
Almost everything i do begins
as an experiment in one way or another-
but when an experiment is successful,
it is no longer experimental.
The surround for the Fairy Garden was based
on earlier an experiment using
empty soymilk cartons as an armature.
If you have lots of these,
this might interest you?
The procedure: use wide tape to make the shape-
as i would be transporting it in my little truck and lifting
it myself, i made it in 4 sections which fit together
where they join. I cut the cartons to get the curved shape
(oh, yeah- best to wash the cartons before
saving as they go badly biological otherwise!)
This is then covered with 3 layers of cloth painted with
portland cement slurry with acrylic paint added.
[To a half bucket of water, mix in approximately 2 cups of paint
then add cement powder to make slurry-
about the consistency of the proverbial pancake batter]
I used a paint roller tray and ripped COTTON cloth
(old sheets, old clothes, etc) to fit the tray-
it is possible to do quite neatly this way.
Paint the slurry onto the pieces and wrap them
around the armature, in the manner of
Papier Mache-smooth out air bubbles, make sure there
is a good lamination (kind of like the principle
involved in ‘sticking’ a wet washcloth
to the side of the bathtub!)
Make sure the bottom is well covered-
overlap each piece so there are always at least
the 3 layers of cloth!
Cover with plastic and leave for about a week-
i did mine in the patio so i could make sure
the joins were relatively neat (put plastic between
them so they don’t stick to each other!)
Then i painted the sections with the rest of the paint.
A word about Plastic: i source endless amounts
of clean plastic wrap from the skips behind furniture
stores- the horrible underbelly of consumer culture
is that Everything seems to come wrapped
in kilometers of single use plastic.
I save single use plastic and sequester it in my
concrete work to keep it our of the waste stream.
The quantity of plastic trash that can be stuffed
into an empty carton is impressive
or maybe i am just easy pleased?
i heard about the North Pacific Gyre on the radio and
was appalled when i googled it.
If you don’t already know about this,
prepare to be appalled:
I got the idea of sequestering the single use plastic
that goes through my household
(in spite of efforts to reduce this, there
is still a shocking amount!)
from’ Trash Rocks’.
Oh, i do love concrete-
it isn’t without blemish from an
environmental standpoint but it is pretty
good at sequestering plastic!
Check out Trash rocks here:
Here are the photos of the Fairy Garden Surround
as i was making it.
note: I haven’t ‘strength tested’ it
so from an engineering standpoint,
i have no idea what its load bearing capacity
would be- i made a large one (my original experiment)
to contain my daughter Penelope’s ‘scrippy scraps’
as they were threatening to take over the house-
(she is a devoted paper snipper!)
It could use a 3rd layer of cloth (i only put 2 on it)
but even at that, it will hold its own weight
when stood on end. Portland cement has longevity
issues ( where Roman Concrete or the Magnesium Phosphate
concrete of my dreams do not!) and also,
Portland does not actually bond with fibre
but apparently only encases it so…
one day it could all turn to dust but in the
meantime, the Fairy Garden was successfully
contained as are the scrippy scraps!
empty soymilk cartons taped together as armature for concrete cloth
the surround is made in 4 separate pieces that fit together with a stepped join- this photo shows the detail
the finished surround on site