We've been inspired to try out a few sculpture ideas at home following our visits to the Elemental Sculpture Park and Abbey House Gardens. Our first attempt was our Chicken Wire and Moss Living Sculpture, which turned out to be super easy to make, and looks fabulous - you can find our tutorial for it here.
This time, we decided to attempt to sculpt with concrete. It started with a visit to the builder's merchant. For those who don't normally visit builder's merchants they are fab. I buy various supplies there, such as PVA glue and brushes, at the fraction of the cost of craft stores, and they are always really helpful. This visit was no exception, the man helping me didn't show any sign of thinking I was bonkers, as I explained that I wanted to fill gloves full of concrete, and suggested a product that is usually used to set posts, can be used either wet or dry, and sets in about 15 minutes.
For our first attempt we simply filled our disposable gloves with the dry mix then added water. It became quickly obvious that the water was having difficulty making its way down to the fingers, and despite lots of massaging you can still see from the second photo above that some of the powder in the fingers is still dry.
For our next attempt, we filled the fingers of our gloves with water to start. This worked much better - the mix sunk down into the water displacing it, and the fingers filled up nicely. We left our gloves to set and cure (we gave them 24 hours) and removed our gloves. Handily (no pun intended!), the concrete didn't adhere to the gloves and they were really easy to peel off. Unfortunately, the fingers had proved too fragile, and had snapped during the setting process.
We clearly needed something to strengthen the fingers, and decided to try lengths of pipe cleaners. We popped them into the fingers, added the water and then our mix. This worked a treat! All our hands with pipe cleaners in their fingers were successful, and we now have a collection of slightly creepy looking hands dotted around our vegetable patch.
We are thinking through a few ideas of how we may decorate them in the future ( I quite fancy growing moss or lichen on them whereas the kids favour the zombie route!), but in the meantime they are staying in their natural state. We have had a mixed response from visitors, so they are clearly not everyone's idea of a garden sculpture, but the kids and I think they are pretty cool!