Exploring the Stories, Methods, and Materials of Artisan Concrete

Using Water Reducers in Artisan Concrete

Posted by Jeremy French on Sep 16, 2016 1:01:11 PM

A Study of Plasticizers in Concrete for Architectural Applications

It has been said a number of times and is one of the most important aspects of understanding artisan concrete: The finished product is a snapshot of a moment in time. Just as stone embodies the movement of magma and eons of pressure, the final look of concrete reveals what was happening at the moment of casting. Becoming a craftsman with the material requires an understanding of how to identify and manipulate concrete during the casting process. The consistency of the concrete itself is among the most important elements in the conversation about manipulating the outcome.

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Topics: Concrete Mixes

The Importance of Making | The Broken Stepping Stone

Posted by Jeremy French on Dec 22, 2015 4:54:10 PM

The Power Underlying the Creative Process

The process of making contains a powerful mythology that transcends the subject matter. It is, in itself, both a story that spans generations, as well as a rite of passage. Joseph Campbell speaks to the power of mythology in his book "The Power of Myth", in which one of the passages explains about myths what is equally true about the creative process-

“..what we are seeking is the experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have the resonances within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

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Topics: The Importance of Making Series

Cold Matters | Preparing for the Cold Weather

Posted by Jeremy French on Dec 3, 2015 4:06:00 PM

Concrete seems like a simple building material. It is really a grand chemistry exercise. A matter that is of the great importance when dealing with most anything related to chemistry- temperature. Here are some things to consider as the seasons change, both on the issue of creating with concrete, as well as managing your materials when the cold comes.

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Topics: Technical | Making Objects

Building an EPIC Concrete Table | Reinforcement

Posted by Jeremy French on Oct 23, 2015 11:31:45 AM

Table Reinforcement

At some point, imagination has to meet reality. Teleportation is awesome, but it is still not real. Having a table with a double cantilever of this scale is certainly not in the realm of teleportation, but if some serious consideration is not taken, the results will be the same- body parts scattered about.

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Topics: Technical | Making Objects, EPIC, Reinforcement

Building an EPIC Concrete Table | Design

Posted by Jeremy French on Aug 17, 2015 3:13:51 PM

Table Design

We are planning one of the projects we are going to build for EPIC 2015, and it is time to design the table.What does that even mean, design? Preparation begins with understanding, so let's turn to Wikipedia to find out just what we are even talking about. Here is an excerpt-

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Topics: Technical | Making Objects, EPIC

Building an EPIC Concrete Table | The Concept

Posted by Jeremy French on Aug 17, 2015 3:13:00 PM

Every year EPIC comes around, and we are faced with the same question- What will we build this year? We have built a wide range of objects, using an equally wide range of techniques over the years, making it difficult to figure what will be next. For the curious ones, you can see some of the objects from years past, along with plenty of the extra curricular activities, if you search #blueepic on Instagram

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Topics: EPIC

The Story Behind EPIC | A Gathering of Concrete Artisans

Posted by Jeremy French on Aug 14, 2015 4:24:00 PM

I opened Mandala Studio in the early 2000's in the River Arts District (RAD) of Asheville NC. The home to our shop was a building called The Wedge, the brain child of the late and great John Roy Payne. John's vision was unparalleled, and his pursuit to create a place where art could live and be created was unrelenting. What was happening there, before the breweries and bourgeoisie of RAD, was a grand social experiment. There was an electricity in the air, a grand anticipation, and an incredible collection of talent in numerous mediums of expression. The ground was fertile for creativity, and collaboration was the standard. It was during this time, in that place, that I cut my teeth as an artisan, a professional, and an adult. 

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Topics: EPIC

Pick a Winner

Posted by Jeremy French on Jul 27, 2015 2:06:00 PM

Concrete Artisans Shedding the Light

Every year we hold a contest. Last year artisans were given 10lbs of Artisan Concrete Mix, and this is what we got. This year we added a layer of complexity, artisans were given 10lbs of mix and a colored cord from The Color Cord Company. All of the pieces we received this year were worthy of merit. We will share these entries, along with descriptions and the stories of the artisans that made them, over the course of the coming months. 
The winner of this contest receives a free ticket to EPIC, our annual gathering of concrete artisans. Judging is held at Haven, and a winner is chosen, or at least that was the plan....
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Topics: EPIC

The Composition of a Concrete Countertop

Posted by Jeremy French on Jun 25, 2015 10:37:45 AM

Designing the Structure of a Concrete Countertop

Here is a recent inquiry we have received, which is reflective of many questions we get-

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Topics: Technical | Making Objects

Building a Reusable Casting Deck

Posted by Jeremy French on Jun 10, 2015 12:13:42 PM

Building a Reusable Casting Deck

Following years of going through absurd amounts of melamine in our shop, we decided we needed to switch to reusable casting decks. The limitations of the size and the durability of melamine, coupled with the cost of the material, meant that it no longer truly served the needs of our studio. We were spending $1,000 per month during a slow month on melamine, the pieces we were making often required that we seam material together, and we were producing way more trash than we were proud to admit.

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Topics: Technical | Making Objects

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