For some time now, I’ve been working with concrete as an art medium. It is possibly the most intriguing and exciting material I have ever worked with! Let me tell you my story.

It all began a year ago when I started working for Concrete Colour Systems. I was surrounded by concrete and for the first time I really started to notice the versatility of the medium. You really don’t appreciate concrete until you work with a team of concrete obsessives.  The use of coloured oxides fascinated me and I could see scope to apply it to the artwork that I created. I wasn’t quite sure how, but I could see it in my mind’s eye and I knew it was going to happen eventually. I can’t resist a challenge!

Damian shared some gorgeous images of kitchen benches with inlays that used GFRC (glass fibre reinforced concrete) with me, and this got my creative grey matter into a bit of a spin. Abuzz with the potential, I picked the Research and Development team’s brains about it.  Well, I won’t go into too much gory detail, but six months down the track, with the R & D team’s invaluable assistance I think I’ve finally nailed what I consider to be a near perfect blend. I’ve decided to dub it nebulakrete. This particular mix is workable like clay, at least 30% times stronger than regular concrete, and can be produced in 3mm thick sections. It can be moulded, shaped, burnished, polished, swirled etc. It can have colours, sands, pebbles, glass embedded in it without fear of deterioration. It can look rustic and ancient, polished and slick. I can paint on it, mould with it, inlay other coloured concretes with different aggregates, or simply create flat plates.

In my frenzied concrete obsession, I’ve created and polished bowl after bowl as I refined my nebulakrete formula into the product I work with now. I have broken promising pieces, removed tips off fingers, inhaled strange objects, upset my son with concrete debris in his socks and hessian fluff and discovered strange lumps in my arms (I believe they are called muscles). But the trip has been a good one, and there will no doubt be further explorations and developments as time goes by. But for now, I’m so excited I felt I had to share!

Ilia Chidzey

Ilia Chidzey working on concrete

Concrete polishing frenzy

 

Concrete art in progress

When things go terribly wrong!

Bobby Rein Photography – when things go right!

concrete bowls

Many, many bowls later…

concrete debris

Washing machine raiders!

concrete artConcrete Lazy SusanConcrete sculpturesculpted concrete artpolished concretePolished concrete bowl with standbowl