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  #1  
Old 09-04-2014, 05:28 AM
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Scout Scout is offline
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Sculpting with cement

I am trying out cement instead of clay for a while. It's quite the challenge. There don't seem to be any forums for cement so I thought I'd come back here and see if I could get any interest going.

I have been consumed with watercolors for a while but now I need to sculpt again. I am doing life size people.

Does anyone have an interest, or better, any information?
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2014, 02:17 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

How are you going about it; directly or indirectly? Direct techniques usually involve making an armature, covering it with screen of some sort, and applying concrete mortar to the screen. Indirect techniques require making a mold and casting concrete into it. There are also combinations of both methods that can be used.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #3  
Old 09-04-2014, 04:51 PM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

I'm doing both. I have used my silicone molds with cement but the weight is prohibitive. I try to stay hollow as much as possible. Rebar supports. Fiberglass fibers (although I am using the wrong kind. I am thinking next trying a subtraction method. I am learning lots of lessons. I hope I can remember them all... but having a wonderful time.

Have also explored medium weight cement. Not too bad once you get used to it. Also sculpting with just cement with a few admixes. Can't use the fiberglass fibers with the sculpting because I could not tool it. Had to burn off the fibers that stuck out with a torch.

That's a bunch of prattle but I hope you get some idea of what I'm doing.
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  #4  
Old 09-05-2014, 01:13 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

You might try using polyester fibers instead of fiberglass. You still can't tool it, but it's nicer to work with. You can mix the fibers into the concrete mortar and apply it to the screen; it adheres nicely without falling through too much. Then follow up with layers of straight mortar, which you can tool.

Yes, weight is an issue with concrete sculpture - it adds up fast. I prefer to do it when the installation's going to be permanent, so I never have to move it...

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #5  
Old 09-05-2014, 02:04 PM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Weight is major. That's why I'm using a medium weight cement mix. I was wondering what the fibers do exactly. This maybe strange but I like to make do. We have a farm and after feeding the cows hay, we have loads of nylon or some kind of plastic webbing. Do you know the kind that comes on the big round bales? Anyway, I was thinking I could cut those up and use them. Any thoughts on that?
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2014, 03:06 PM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Never move it... Amen!
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2014, 02:01 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Being an urban sort myself, I'm not sure what kind of webbing you've got, but what the heck - give it a try. Anything that gives the mortar something to hang onto should work. Once you've got a solid layer of concrete, you can build it up more. Painting the underlying layers with admix helps promote adhesion, especially if you've let it dry out.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2014, 09:22 AM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Thanks Andrew. Do you think I should cut the webbing into small pieces or lay it in between the cement and mortar. I'm about to do a large piece and I want to use this webbing. I'll let you know how it goes.
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2014, 04:31 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

I'm not sure what you mean by "lay it in between the cement and mortar". You don't really want to use straight cement anywhere, except maybe as a paint over the final surface; it's all mortar if you're applying it directly. If you're laying it into a mold, you'd put the mortar in first, and back it up with your plastic mesh. If you're starting with an armature covered with screen, then you'd dip the mesh in wet mortar, and lay it onto the wire screen and apply mortar over the top. Cut it into small pieces if your surfaces are complicated, otherwise larger ones will work okay.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #10  
Old 09-09-2014, 06:36 AM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

So you don't ever use just cement and water except to paint with? Mortar is sand and cement. On this big piece I'm doing, you think I should put the sand and cement mix on the surface of the mold and then the webbing and then heavier cement, maybe a medium weight cement? Then I can fill the rest of the mold with something lighter. Maybe expanding foam?

Have you ever worked with perlite substituted for the rock?
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  #11  
Old 09-09-2014, 03:01 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout View Post
So you don't ever use just cement and water except to paint with?

[Not usually; it has low strength and tends to crack.]

Mortar is sand and cement.

[It often has clay, lime, admix, and other ingredients added.]

On this big piece I'm doing, you think I should put the sand and cement mix on the surface of the mold and then the webbing and then heavier cement, maybe a medium weight cement?

[Yes, except put more concrete down before adding the mesh. The problem will be in getting all that stuff to stay on the surfaces of your mold without slumping off. To be honest, that looks like a mold that would work better poured than laid up. A concrete vibrator would help with that.]

Then I can fill the rest of the mold with something lighter. Maybe expanding foam?

Have you ever worked with perlite substituted for the rock?
[Sure, perlite is good stuff, but it tends to suck all the water out of the concrete. Try soaking it a while before adding it (you might have to weigh it down in the bucket, since it wants to float). I doubt that the foam would do much for you in this application. A mixture of perlite, sand and cement would be a better and more compatible filler.]

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com
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  #12  
Old 09-09-2014, 09:53 PM
Nelson Nelson is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout View Post
I am trying out cement instead of clay for a while. It's quite the challenge. There don't seem to be any forums for cement so I thought I'd come back here and see if I could get any interest going.

I have been consumed with watercolors for a while but now I need to sculpt again. I am doing life size people.

Does anyone have an interest, or better, any information?
Hi Scout, I ¨ve done a bit cement sculpting, but mostly in Steel. Cement is the most challenging médium in my view, when compaired to metal, Wood, and even Stone. In all, it'll depend on what sort of sculture you wanna get into, Realistic figurative, abstract....? Cement is not forgiving when it comes to time, so dealiing with details to a realistic level takes in my view too much effort and time. As to achieving more efficiency, abstract figurative is easier.... for monetary purposes I´ve gradually switched to sculpting rocks, faux bois and other artisian stuff that sells better, though I still enjoy much the creative process. Hope you find your niche of work or even as a hobby.
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  #13  
Old 09-10-2014, 06:18 AM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Ok Andrew, I'll try soaking them first.

Hi Nelson. I haven't been here lately. Been into other art obsessions. Right now I'm into cement. I am going to build, I almost said pour but it's building building building, Andrew with his Cats today.

I actually did pour this one before. It was very heavy. So this time I'm trying medium weight cement of various ratios. Tell me your experiences with the way cement is mixed. I do a mortar mix on some of my smaller casts, I like the marbly effect drying it fast gives it.

Any advice you might have or thoughts on the process, I would love to talk about them with you.

I intend to pack the two halves of the mold instead of pouring it put together. At least tell me the problems you ran into with cement. Tell me a bit about additives. I'm using an Acrylic mortar admixture.
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  #14  
Old 09-10-2014, 02:40 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

You don't want to dry concrete fast; that degrades its ultimate strength. Wait a week or so before unmolding it, if you don't want to lose fine details. And keep it as wet as possible as long as possible afterwards; it supposedly doesn't achieve its full strength until it's been submerged for 7 years. If you can't submerge it while it cures, try wrapping it in burlap and wetting the cloth periodically.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #15  
Old 09-14-2014, 01:51 PM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

If I leave it too long, I can't tool it. What is dry pack? Is it just moist sand and cement mix? Dryish mortar? Is that how they make cement blocks?
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  #16  
Old 09-14-2014, 02:07 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

If you want to tool it as it sets, I'd think a direct method would be better than casting into a mold. The surface of a cast piece when it sets against the mold is different from the interior surface; your tooling efforts would expose the more porous material underneath. So if you don't remove the whole cast surface, it would look uneven and blotchy. If your mold and casting technique are good, you shouldn't need to work the surface further after unmolding.

"Dry pack" is barely-moist cement and sand, mixed about 1 to 4. I've used it for setting tile on, but haven't thought about using it for sculpture. It's not too hard to get it flat, although I'm not sure how well it would work directly, since it doesn't have much strength or cohesiveness. But I suppose you could pack it into a mold.

I'm not sure how cinderblocks are produced; I imagine there are a few different processes to do that.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #17  
Old 09-28-2014, 10:30 AM
vikkilynn vikkilynn is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

I have done quite a bit of cement sculpting. it was fun and challenging. I used tomato cages, drywall wire or screen. after I made the bottom I would put them on flat dollies so I could move them around easily. I got lots of info from this garden art site which has posters who work in concrete, hypertufa and faux bois.
http://www.thegardenartforum.com/php...321935eb704134
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2014, 11:28 AM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Thank you for your responses. I am working on it and will get back when I have something to show.

Thanks for the link!
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  #19  
Old 10-18-2014, 07:47 PM
Nelson Nelson is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout View Post
Ok Andrew, I'll try soaking them first.

Hi Nelson. I haven't been here lately. Been into other art obsessions. Right now I'm into cement. I am going to build, I almost said pour but it's building building building, Andrew with his Cats today.

I actually did pour this one before. It was very heavy. So this time I'm trying medium weight cement of various ratios. Tell me your experiences with the way cement is mixed. I do a mortar mix on some of my smaller casts, I like the marbly effect drying it fast gives it.

Any advice you might have or thoughts on the process, I would love to talk about them with you.

I intend to pack the two halves of the mold instead of pouring it put together. At least tell me the problems you ran into with cement. Tell me a bit about additives. I'm using an Acrylic mortar admixture.
Hi Scout,
this my email

ironywood@gmail.com
email me and I´ll be glad to talk with you. ciao.
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  #20  
Old 12-02-2014, 11:03 AM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Hello, I'm still working in cement. I made some smaller pieces. I want to paint them with a wash and then a dry brush technique. How long does a small piece ( maybe about football size) have to cure before painting? I can leave the bottom unpainted if it needs it. Thanks for your help.
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  #21  
Old 12-04-2014, 11:59 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

The concrete should be kept wrapped in a plastic bag or the like and kept wet/damp in it for 5-7 days then it can be removed and let air dry.
Most paints seems to say allow new concrete to cure for 30 days (or longer) before painting
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  #22  
Old 12-05-2014, 03:44 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

I think the concrete has to be dry before you paint it with regular house paint. But if she just wants to brush pigment onto it, that can happen when it's newly set or soon afterwards. Mixing a little neat cement into the lime-proof pigment (you get that at the concrete supply store) will give it some body.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #23  
Old 12-06-2014, 09:14 AM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Thanks. These are small things I sculpted molded cast and now I want to add some acrylic paint. Do I need to prime it with something thinned down?
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  #24  
Old 12-06-2014, 02:25 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Sculpting with cement

If you want to use acrylics, then Art Deco's advice should be followed. You'll want the piece to be thoroughly dry before applying them, and priming would be a good idea. If you use a white-pigmented shellac (BIN, etc.) then you can thin the first coat with denatured alcohol to insure better penetration. But follow that up with a few full-strength coats to give yourself a good surface to paint on.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #25  
Old 12-14-2014, 12:57 PM
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Re: Sculpting with cement

Here's a different question. How critical is the sand, in it's cleanliness? We have lots of sand on our place, all colors. Seems to me that if I sift it, it ought to suffice.

We also have red and white clay. Can I mix it into the cement to make it creamier to sculpt with? Anyone have a recipe for sculpting cement?
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