"Where the concrete jungle and nature collide with a recycle bin"
Concrete Meets Fabric
Through a playful artventure of trial and error, I have developed a new technique that involves soaking natural fabrics in concrete. Inspired by nature and reuse I use this basic technique as a starting point to create vibrant art for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and made with repurposed materials.
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Learning My Craft:
How it Came to Be
Playing in the Mud
Growing up I was a little girl who loved to get dirty, play in the mud, and build things. Several decades later, I am still that kid but instead of playing with mud, I prefer to make messes with more permanent materials! Intentional messes if you will!
One night in April 2020 while trying not to go stir crazy during Covid lockdown; enjoying a few cocktails and an evening smoke, I decided to stiffen a piece of fabric and lay it out on a board in a rippley manner. I liked the way it looked so much I started thinking about other ways to harden fabric that would be weather resistant and that is when it came to me! Why not soak a piece of fabric in concrete and ripple it the same way I did with the piece soaked in fabric stiffener.
Soaking Fabric in Concrete
Typical of me, the next morning I woke up early excited to soak some fabric in concrete! But wait, what was I going to use? What was the best type of fabric? What was the best type of concrete to use? Where would I do this project at? After bombarding my patient husband with all these questions first thing in the morning, I set off to buy a bag of Portland cement and a piece of HardieBacker, it was time to get messy and have some fun!
I made up a batch of loose watery cement, soaked the fabric, and went for it! Having to wait for the concrete to setup was a downer. I felt like a kid staring at giant bag of candy and being told, "you have to wait until later to have that". I unhappily waited 24 hours for it mostly cure before bringing the it life with some color.
Here's what I got. Not too bad! It was fun to make and I liked the way it turned out. I was inspired, enlightened, and feeling ready to explore more rhelms of my new technique!
The following Saturday, I headed out to find some great flea market items I could use as bases for new projects. Boy, did I find some great stuff! I bought several wooden trays and tables to fill with concreted fabric and coat with a deeply poured resin. My vision excited me because it was something so new, something I had never seen before, and was pretty sure would look amazing!
As soon as I got home from the flea market, I sent straight to work. It was so fun! I felt like I was playing with mud like a kid and making some really cool art at the same time! By the end of the day I had several new art pieces to paint and cover in resin. Next step…. Order resin.
Lots to Learn about Pouring Resin!
Having never ordered pouring resin before, I was a bit taken back by the prices to say the least! $200 a gallon, wow! Convinced I was on to something though, I decided to bite the bullet and buy it anyway.
As a resin rookie I definitely made some mistakes, but one was really expensive and MESSY! All I can say, is make sure your edges are sealed before you put resin! Placing a concrete soaked fabric into a wooden tray does not mean the tray is sealed! Resin leaked from the wooden tray and poured out everywhere!
Bottom of a tray that resin leaked through, sticking to the cardboard underneath.
I plan share all the lessons I have learned about covering concrete soaked fabric with resin in a separate article. Until then, if you are interested in trying this art form on your own, feel free to message me with any questions you may have before mixing your resin. Preventing mistakes is the name of the game with resin because undoing them can be near impossible! Here's a few of my first mistakes.
Bottom of a tray that had about 80% of the resin that was poured leak through to the plastic underneath.
Making Concrete Fabric Art
I have continued experiment with different fabrics and applications, creating new pieces, each one teaching me more. I am just as inspired today as I was on that beautiful Saturday morning last July and I am excited to share this new art form with the world!
Join me as I share all my lessons learned. I will teach you to make amazing art using concrete and fabric!
You can also check out my gallery to see images of the pieces I have made and work in progress.
Beginning in October 2021, you can see them in person by taking a trip to Idiom’s Retreat, our glamping property on the coast in beautiful Trinidad, California where many of my pieces are featured in the garden.
Check out all the items I have for sale in my Etsy shop and share the link with your friends and family.
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