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Hypertufa and Concrete: Sculpted concrete columns are the highlight of our pergola

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Chucklette
Green Bay, WI

October 8, 2008
6:18 PM

Post #5647651

I would like to share photos of our spring project...a hexagonal pergola with sculpted concrete columns. My first attempt at concrete sculpture was an ambitious one, but I was pleased with the results. Click on the link below to see a photo gallery of the project.

http://www.pbase.com/gail_vann/pergola

Thumbnail by Chucklette
Click the image for an enlarged view.

goldfinch4
Ripon, WI
(Zone 4a)

October 8, 2008
6:38 PM

Post #5647706

WOW - that is fantastic! Thanks for sharing your progress pictures too. Exactly how long did it take you? Were the sculptures carved into the columns or added on later? It is beautiful!
somersetsue
Portland, OR
(Zone 8b)

October 8, 2008
6:45 PM

Post #5647730

Chucklette...your pergola is the most beautiful and unusual , that I have ever seen. Thank you so much for all those picts of your construction journey!!!!!

Fish_knees

Fish_knees
Phoenix, AZ

October 8, 2008
7:27 PM

Post #5647861

WOW
noknok
Ulster Park, NY

October 11, 2008
3:41 PM

Post #5658648

Chucklette, finally have time to really look at your fabulous gazebo!

I have many questions, first, how did you pour??
Did you get a cement pump?
After a harrowing experience with one of those, I'd guess not,
but then what? Did you use ladders, scaffold, hand-mixed in a wheelbarrow?
That's what, a yard and a half? A lot.

Did you use rebar in the sonotubes?

"Below frost" where you are is 4'? Or more?
Good thing you could use a power auger.

What coloring did you use, edges look too sharp for stain.

I LOVE:
Your color choices!
Your "nondenominational" design!
Nothing "cute" or stale or hackneyed.
BRAVO!
A little temple unto itself.

But I can't see you in the hammocks :o)
After five minutes you'd have another idea

Have you made other concrete stuff?

I am totally inspired and very timely too, I want to turn my
conventional rose arbor into something completely different,
maybe embed it in concrete pillars and other shapes, leaving
the original structure showing through, as if overgrown with,
(or being swallowed by) tropical dreams.

Thank you for showing us!!
noknok
Ulster Park, NY

October 11, 2008
3:44 PM

Post #5658652

Oops, just reread your post, your FIRST!
Are you kidding, how wonderful!
I wish you lived closer!
Chucklette
Green Bay, WI

October 12, 2008
2:13 AM

Post #5660532

Thanks for the positive feedback! The project took a little over 3 months (not including design time). The low-relief sculptures of birds, lizards, frogs and flowers were added on rather than carved (there are about 20 of them). We made the columns by mixing bags of quikcrete by hand in a wheelbarrow and pouring them by the bucketful from a ladder. (We're getting too old for this!) So many bags of various concrete mixes went into the project that I've lost count, but it was a lot! We did use rebar, and went 4' down for the footings. The coloring is acid stain. I also achieved some tonal variation by using different mixes of white and grey portland cement, either in the initial construction or as a slurry.

I had to laugh at the comment about being in the hammock only 5 minutes...it's totally true. Since this first project, I've made lots of cast leaves and other things, and really enjoy the unlimited possibilities for creativity with concrete. Though all through this project I kept wishing I had someone with me to tell me what to do next and how to do it. My advice is to be brave! Glad I was able to inspire!
azreno
Mesa, AZ
(Zone 9b)

October 12, 2008
1:50 PM

Post #5661758

Those are so cool! The reliefs are fantastic, great job!
greyma
Mukwonago, WI

October 15, 2008
1:28 AM

Post #5672453

really love it!!!! the whole thing, from the pillars to the stone work and plants!!
and the hammocks looks so inviting. I had one, never stayed long in it, but came up with so many great ideas while resting in it. sometimes when I needed a new idea or a fix-it idea, would just have a short lie down in that hammock.
MsKatt
Mid-Michigan, MI
(Zone 5b)

October 15, 2008
2:10 AM

Post #5672677

I absolutely love it and would love you to come on over and put one in my backyard!! :)
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

October 15, 2008
3:02 AM

Post #5672901

Wow---very impressive!
mothermole
Deer Park, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 20, 2008
8:49 PM

Post #5813116

Wow, completely had my jaw drop open! I am too easily distracted to take on such a big project but wish I had half your talent and ambition. Amazing. How did you get the bases of each column rounded and to look in proportion with the other bases? Is there a trick to that or just trial and error and eye balling?

I can't wait to see your next project!\

Linda
rentman
Frankfort, KY
(Zone 6a)

November 20, 2008
9:23 PM

Post #5813258

A super project and the gloves tell it all.
Yes we all are getting too old for that type of work. ^_^
tetleytuna
Columbia, MO
(Zone 5b)

November 21, 2008
1:32 AM

Post #5814166

That is AMAZING! Thank you for posting the step-by-step of the creative process. You have made it such a beautiful focal point and the detail is wonderful.
Aguane
Phoenix, AZ

December 2, 2008
3:25 AM

Post #5849569

very Inspiring! You should be really, very proud. Wonderful!
zhinu
(Laura) Olympia, WA
(Zone 8a)

December 12, 2008
4:24 PM

Post #5884732

What did you use to make them?
MargaretK
PERTH
Australia

August 17, 2009
6:04 AM

Post #6955438

That is amazing and even more so as it was your first project. How's it looking now?
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

September 5, 2009
11:47 AM

Post #7027918

So wonderful, except for the hammocks!

Hammocks like those kill people, no joke. Someone tries to get out, or a child playing, and somehow they flip over, with the body inside, and the head outside, and the person is strangled to death.

A hammock should have a spreader bar on the head end.
Chucklette
Green Bay, WI

July 15, 2010
8:33 AM

Post #7970304

Here's an update of the pergola. The grapes were planted in 2008, and this year have completely covered the structure. The shade is great when you're in the hammocks! I much prefer the hammocks without the spreaderbars--they are far more comfortable. Last weekend we participated in a garden walk, with 1100 or so people touring our garden. The pergola was a big hit--the highlight of the garden!

Thumbnail by Chucklette
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Chucklette
Green Bay, WI

July 15, 2010
8:34 AM

Post #7970308

Looks like we'll have to learn to make wine!

Thumbnail by Chucklette
Click the image for an enlarged view.

greyma
Mukwonago, WI

July 15, 2010
3:46 PM

Post #7971091

WOW!!! and I thought it looked good before the grapes!!!

I hear ya on the hammock, I prefer the ones without the spreader bars too.

you are the concrete goddess!!! everything you've done is awesome!! this, the chair, the planter...anything else coming up?
evanovak
Naperville, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 18, 2010
8:51 AM

Post #7977778

WOW! WOW! WOW! Absolutely fabulous pergola, Chucklette! This is an incredible, functional piece of concrete garden art...belongs in a beautiful gardening magazine. Looks wonderful both before and after the growth of the grapevines.

"The low-relief sculptures of birds, lizards, frogs and flowers were added on rather than carved (there are about 20 of them)." -- Very, very cool! I'd love to hear more about how you sculpted those, Chucklette. Do you recall what mix you used for them? Did you just shape them by hand and then use tools to carve more definition? Lovely!

WOW again!

Eva

plantsforpeg
Ventress, LA
(Zone 8b)

August 10, 2010
6:30 PM

Post #8032363

This is remarkable. I loved all the plants in the garden and wish I had names of many of them. After the snow melts do you replant again? What comes back in your area.
I would like to try my hand at the portland leaf you made. Did you use wire as the base? How did you color the veins brown?
swalt
Dallas, OR

September 8, 2010
9:07 PM

Post #8088352

Stunning!!! Just stunning! I hope you answer evanovak. I can't wait to hear what you did.
docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

September 8, 2010
9:44 PM

Post #8088380

Well by jingles there should be at least a DG Blue Ribbon for this outstanding project. It's about time to have a party and break the newness down to well used. LOL
Chucklette
Green Bay, WI

September 11, 2010
8:50 AM

Post #8092836

Regarding the low-relief sculptures: with a reference photo in hand, I sketch a rough outline in pencil. Then I paint on a slurry (portland cement and dilute acrylic fortifier mix) to ensure good adhesion. I pat on concrete as needed to create the form of the critter, shaping with my hands. The concrete is a portland and sand mix (1:2), wetted with dilute acrylic fortifier (about a 20-25% solution). I use sharpened dowels to do finer detailing as needed. You can add a little plasticizer (just a pinch-not too much) to the concrete to make it more user-friendly, especially if it starts to firm up a bit before you're finished.

I've used this technique to add critters to the foundation wall of my house as well. The possibilities are endless!

Regarding the cast leaves: the larger ones require a support--I've used hardward cloth as well as the plastic mesh that's used for concrete countertops. I color my leaves with acid stain, and it naturally collects in the lower vein areas in the leaves. This works to emphasize the veins. I also will drip a darker color stain carefully into the veins and turn the leaf to get it to flow throughout the vein.

I like to use 50% Quickwall for my leaves, it makes a nice strong leaf. I use the Quickwall that's made with white portland. The whiter concrete makes the acid stain results brighter, since they are translucent.
docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

September 11, 2010
9:08 AM

Post #8092856

Chucklette...has raised the bar. Save this information for your future reference. There is no doubt in my mind about strength and beautifull finishes with highlights and lines appearing natural. This is super nice work with the steps to follow nicely presented.
evanovak
Naperville, IL
(Zone 5b)

September 11, 2010
11:44 AM

Post #8093069

Hi, Everyone ~

Chucklette, thank you so much for taking the time to give more details on how you create your marvelous low-relief sculptures. "I've used this technique to add critters to the foundation wall of my house as well." -- That is SO cool! Your house and gardens have got to be so enchanting and eye-catching to anyone passing by or visiting.

All of us on the forum are in awe of your artistry with concrete. We appreciate your sharing here.

Eva



swalt
Dallas, OR

September 11, 2010
5:25 PM

Post #8093547

Yes! Thank you, Chucklette! Eva, will you post pictures of your work for us to see as well?
plantsforpeg
Ventress, LA
(Zone 8b)

September 11, 2010
7:57 PM

Post #8093769

Yes, Chucklette. I would like to make some pedesals for my plants and feel your ideas will help.
Wish I had to whole week "to just play".

Depsi

Depsi
Orofino, ID
(Zone 6a)

September 15, 2010
8:34 AM

Post #8100497

Chucklette, That pergola is just fabulous!!!! You have a wonderful gift...Deb
biddy52
BROOKFIELD
Australia

February 21, 2012
2:27 PM

Post #9014990

[quote="Chucklette"]I would like to share photos of our spring project...a hexagonal pergola with sculpted concrete columns. My first attempt at concrete sculpture was an ambitious one, but I was pleased with the results. Click on the link below to see a photo gallery of the project.

http://www.pbase.com/gail_vann/pergola[/quote]

That has to be the best pagola I have ever seen. So much work, but a fantastic outcome, and particularly being your first attempt. You realise you can never sell your house now! You can't leave that behind!
plantsforpeg
Ventress, LA
(Zone 8b)

February 21, 2012
6:25 PM

Post #9015225

Chucklette, have you made any of the face pots. I would love to make some, but feel I must have a mold.

Anyone else tried it???
Plants4myPots
Palm Bay, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 29, 2012
7:03 AM

Post #9142969

Incredible, Chucklette!

Your first concrete sculpture project maybe - but I can't imagine you don't have any previous construction experience. Your pergola is outstanding!
DMurray407
Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

May 30, 2012
2:52 PM

Post #9145197

WOW!!!!

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