Weathering Updates on Concrete Clay

Made by Christine Kepler

I wanted to share updates on my concrete clay head urn I posted on here last year that used Jonni’s recipe. I am in Ohio, gardening zone 6a, and have had both the urn I posted and the orb I didn’t post here sitting outdoors since they were made in April 2023.

The urn has had no sealant or paint on it, while the orb has 3 coats only of acrylic paint. The photos were taken this evening after a hard rain, so the orb shows light spots where the area has begun to dry. The various shades on the urn are weathering.

You can see areas that look a little flaky near the base where I did not get a very heavy coating of the concrete clay applied. The orb is hollow concrete which was formed using strips of nylon dipped in a concrete slurry, dried, then re-wet before applying a thinned-out coat of the concrete clay and mold cast concrete clay figures.

Both the head and the orb were cured in plastic bags for several weeks after they were finished. I suppose I should remove the plants from the head and seal it, but I like the weathered look of old concrete, and any decay just adds a “look” I like in this piece. The orb still has some finish painting to be done and then I will seal it.

Head sculpture made with paper cement clay by Christine Kepler
Paper cement clay orb made by Christine Kepler

6 thoughts on “Weathering Updates on Concrete Clay”

  1. Jonni, thank you so very much for sharing your recipes! I’ve spent 50+ years as a fine art painter and am so excited to try 3D sculpture using your recipe. Im most excited to use your clay crete for this. However, I need a smooth finish as in your ” silky smooth” recipe.

    Can you suggest a means to get the same smooth finish with your clay crete ingredients (or the addition of something else)?

    Let me add, your ideas and experiments have opened up a new world for this old artist. I’m eternally grateful to you.

    • Hi Gertrude. You can make the paper cement clay just as smooth as the silky-smooth air dry clay. The easy way is to dip a flay knife, like one you use for your paints, in water. Then lightly run the flat side over the paper cement clay to make it smooth. Don’t use too much water – you just need enough to make the tool slide. You can also use a soft damp brush, but I like using a knife better. Have fun! 🙂

    • Hi Gertrude. I’ve personally found that rubbing some Elmer’s glue on the surface of the wet concrete mix, after you apply it to the armature, helps to smooth the surface and can actually add to the strength of the piece. That’s just from my own personal experience.


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