Monday, 19 April 2010

Tom's nightmare?

Sculptor Tom Stephenson will probably weep blood on seeing this, but as an ex-jobbing-sculptor myself, I do now occasionally give in to modern short-cuts, and abandon my hammer and chisel in favour of concrete mixer and trowel.

When our builder has time, he will start to construct our long-awaited 'tower', and I require a few 'features' to insert. I've already bought a very beautiful 'oeil de beouf' window; this is a local style horizontal oval window that usually goes above a doorway or window. And I've also just finished making a, 50 cms by 50 cms, medieval style 'arrow slit' opening (above).

I cast it in concrete, having used polystyrene for the mould, and then dug out all the unwanted polystyrene leaving what you see. A little stone-coloured mortar was brushed over, and a very small area of washed-on plaster finished the job. There is a square rebate, on the other side, to take a tiny glass window. It still needs a little more ageing, but a pot of yoghurt should fix that.

I know that Mr Stephenson would never agree with me, but concrete occasionally fits the bill. If I'd done the job in stone it would probably have taken me more than a week; and as we both know, on a job like this, one small slip......

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  1. I am not weeping, Cro - it looks good, but I wonder how long it will last? It'll outlive you though. Moulding concrete stuff is only really cost effective if you are doing a run of at least 10, commercially, as your window above would take a mason about 3 hours to make in stone - probably about the same time as it took you in polystyrene?

    There is a good quote from Seamus Murphy's 'Stone Mad' made by Irish masons from around 1900, about the first church in Ireland to be made from concrete. Something like, "It cannot be right to build a house of God out of mud!"

  2. 3 hours? Maybe, if he was using power tools! Had I cut it, it would have taken me ages. Glad you're still 'speaking' to me.

  3. 3 hours - definitely. I should know, I've been doing it for about 35 years. Tools are tools - I was talking about drills, air-hammers and abrasives. There is nothing holy about ignoring technology.

    What's this about 'speaking to you'? I thought it was Lady M who was not speaking to me!

  4. In my stone cutting days, the only mechanical tool we had was a saw. The rest was hand done; we didn't even have a fork-lift! Primative.

    I just thought the word 'concrete' would have un-cemented our cyber-wall.

  5. Very old world looking. Nice work. It makes me want to go curl up and read something about Ireland or Scotland.

  6. I would feel proud to put that in my tower!


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