Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Concrete Leaf Catastrophe

My visions of a beautiful concrete Gunnera leaf for my garden have been shattered into pieces.  Quite a number of pieces, as you can see here:
Concrete leaf casting failure
Although from this angle, it looks like there is still some potential for an artistic creation:
Concrete leaf pieces
Perhaps a sculpture of a decaying Gunnera leaf, crumbled into pieces on the soil?

The dark green parts are where I still need to peel away the Gunnera leaf to reveal the concrete cast below.  I had my husband flip the leaf for me Saturday afternoon, and I didn't have time to finish this work, since we were packing and leaving the next morning.

The imprint itself worked out quite well, with nice strong details of the veining in the leaf (again, the dark areas are where I still need to remove the leaf):
Concrete leaf casting - good detail
So what did I do wrong?

The biggest mistake was to start with too big of a leaf.  Not only did I run out of materials (I think it should have been thicker, especially on the edges), but I created my own monster.  At about 100 pounds, I am not able to handle and move it myself.  Even the fragments I have now are a struggle.  If it were smaller, I likely would have been able to support the leaf while trying to flip it, and then allow it to continue to cure.  But as soon as my husband starting lifting the beast, it was cracking under its own weight.

If I make another attempt, it will be with a smaller leaf.  Something suitable for an ornamental stepping stone in the garden.  Then if all goes well, I could work my way toward a larger bird bath or focal point in the garden.

In the meantime, I will see what I can salvage of the Gunnera, and keep working on it, to learn a bit more about the process.  If I can, I would like to finish pieces of it, and try painting them before Winter hits, so I can learn how the paints survive the Winter.


Laura said...

Ahhh to bad. All the veins of the leaf look pretty cool. It really does make for some beautiful detail work :)

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Love to see the finished work. Although what you have is pretty artsy...maybe you can save parts of it.

Tommy T Cook said...

Hello Lilly, I would like to talk to you about your Gunnera leaf cast. I have answers that will make you very happy. Please call me at 206-349-6403.



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