Monday, September 10, 2012

      Cupcake fairy house

In August, I spent a week at a wonderful artist's retreat/workshop learning how to use concrete and steel to make sculptures. It was a dreamy world with yummy food appearing magically at each meal and a giant shop full of wonderous tools and supplies :).

Has anyone attended a class or workshop this summer or spent some time learning something new? I'd love to hear your stories...

Concrete & steel sculpture workshop by Torisaur
It all started with my concept sketch. I'm thinking shabby chic dollhouse meets nature inspired sculpture.

Concrete & Steel Aug. 2012
This is one of the welding areas. Honestly, welding is something I'll pay someone else to do in the future LOL.

Concrete & Steel Aug. 2012
This is the outside area of the sculpture studio - only about 200 yards from my dorm and the cafe. The golden ratio!

Concrete & Steel Aug. 2012
More sculpture studio work area. Making a mess all day suits me.

Concrete & Steel Aug. 2012
Forcing the steel legs to spiral to my will LOL

Concrete & Steel Aug. 2012
Welding the 3 legs together. The thing I didn't realize about welding is you can't see at all! I mean, really, it's crazy.

Concrete & Steel Aug. 2012
I got some help with the cutter to trim excess from the base

Concrete & steel workshop
Finished base

Concrete & steel sculpture workshop
I formed the house and flower using blood LOL (really called diamond) lathe, bailing wire, vise grips and thick leather gloves. I'll use zip ties or twist ties in the future. I don't think the bailing wire was necessary for the amount of work it was! I bent a 1/4" steel rod and worked it down into the flower stem for added support.

Concrete & steel workshop
I wired 1.8mm LED lights up each petal of the flower and also on the ceiling of the interior of the house. I wrapped the joints (where I had extended each wire cuz it wasn't long enough) with electrical tape very tightly to protect against moisture. I placed the 3v battery holder and switch underneath the base.

Concrete & steel workshop
Next, I wired the house to the base with bailing wire and hot glued all around the perimeter for a tight fit. On to the concrete! The next experiment!

Concrete & steel workshop
I mixed up concrete using white Portland Cement, metakaolin (clay), nylon fibers, very fine white sand, bonding agent and water. I added a mix of concrete stains to get this unheard of pink color :).

Cupcake fairy house progress
I troweled the concrete onto the house and smoothed with bonding agent using a larger brush (about 1.5") and then a smaller brush (around 3/4 inch) to get a smooth finish.

Cupcake fairy house progress
I think key to my success was "walking away" in between concrete applications. First, I covered the house floor, then part of the exterior to create strength and rigidity. After all of that dried, I added the flower and the rest of the exterior. Finally, I sculpted the interior after the exterior was dry. Otherwise, the concrete would push through one side or the other of the blood lathe as I worked the surfaces.

Cupcake fairy house progress
After the concrete cured a bit, I removed the masking tape from the teeny lights and hand-painted some additional accents on the flower and stem. I left some of the lathe uncovered so the underlying lathe armature could be peek out.

Whew! Thanks for looking :). Since the workshop, I've added a tile floor and have lots of other plans for this project.  More updates soon. I'd love to hear your questions or comments!

Thanks for looking :) Tori


Rella said...

I love the process of the cupcake faerie house..thank you for sharing the wonderful photos of your week. xo

Dark Star said...

I've found this project so fascinating and always look forward to each new addition to the cupcake house! What an inventive mind you have and what a wonderful confection you are creating!

Cinderella Moments said...

OMG! The process is incredible! I'm so glad you shared that. So impressive!
When Bonnie asked for a house like yours I was so worried about it turning out the same. But it's so different. It taught me how to create something similar but with totally unique features to make it into each person's dream. I'm glad you liked Bonnie's too.
I'm looking forward to all your projects. They are dreamy!!!

Coco said...

The cupcake house is a genius idea! It's fascinatng to see the process! Great work! I'll look forward to seeing more. :)

Torisaur said...

Dark Star, Cinderella Moments and Coco -Thx so much for your comments! It's so fun to be able to share my process and pics. I'm looking forward to some distressing, lighting and decorating on this project this week.

Rhonda McMullin said...

Just happened onto your site and your projects are so gorgeous! This piece is amazing, and sends the mind reeling in a number of creative directions! Can't wait to try it!
I'm not usually a commenter, but I wanted to ask about the tile floor you made. Are more pictures coming soon?
I found a great way to make tile floors for my mini projects: I use a tile saw to cut broken china into one-inch squares. I have collected British transferware for years and saved any broken pieces for mosaics, but it didn't look great with the minis until I cut them into uniform tiles. I LOVE the look, and now my dollies have a conservatory with a beautiful antique tile floor. How do you make your tiles??

Torisaur said...

Hi Rhonda! Thx so much for your comment :). I'll post on this project next weekend. I hadn't realized how old the pics are now! Thx for asking. I created the tile floor using teeny pre-cut tiles from the mosaic section of Hobby Lobby - so ez... Your conservatory floor sounds fabulous! Do you have any pics?

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