wire and more wire and then some

February 9, 2014

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:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch

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:

http://www.instructables.com/id/TRASHROCKS-Eliminate-Unrecyclable-Trash/

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!

Image

empty soymilk cartons taped together as armature for concrete cloth

detail of the stepped join for the sections of the Fairy House surround

the surround is made in 4 separate pieces that fit together with a stepped join- this photo shows the detail

the armature after covering with concrete dipped cloth and painting

the finished surround on site

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