It is great fun to build features in concrete. Each time the process is the same. First we weld a structural frame, then a subframe which is slightly undersize. Galvanized mesh is fastened to this frame and then the real magic begins. A special mix of fiberglass reinforced concrete is troweled on no less than three quarters of an inch. In key spots where we want to carve deeper the mud is piled on, something that takes a great deal of skill and practice. This giant lumpy pile of mud is allowed to cure for just the right time.
Once the mud sets to the perfect consistency it is time to carve using a variety of hand tools. The big strokes are done first, roughing things to size, smoothing off the trowel marks as necessary. Then the joints between pieces and different levels are sculpted in. Gradually we work towards the smaller details, switching tools and techniques as necessary to get whatever texture we desire. Often more than one person carved different sides or ends of the same piece and if the concrete is hardening fast the whole crew crowds in on a single feature to get it done before it turns to stone. Care must be taken to ensure everyone's work blends seamlessly from one end to the other. All through we continually push what we know and experiment to make it better than ever before. Each piece is a teaching and learning environment.
The end result is pure mud magic.