Above: To sculpt ornamental trim, Ake Grunditz starts by marking his pattern on fresh polymer cement. Right: The finished work looks more like molded pre-cast concrete than hand-carved in place.
Above: To sculpt ornamental trim, Ake Grunditz starts by marking his pattern on fresh polymer cement. Right: The finished work looks more like molded pre-cast concrete than hand-carved in place.

This artist's specialty is carving intricate patterns and details in overlay cement. He uses a proprietary mix, manufactured by ArcusStone, which simulates limestone. For the demo he hand-carved ornamental trim on a fireplace mantel, a process sometimes referred to as a “cartouche”—a scroll-like ornament or tablet as an architectural feature. Grunditz first created his design on paper and cut it out. Then he mixed the polymer cement, adding additional polymer mixed 50/50 with water, and plastered it vertically on the mantel approximately 1½ inches thick (thicker than he needed for the final product). Next, he pressed the paper design on the wet mix and sprayed black paint over it. When the paper was removed, the pattern was revealed on the wet concrete mix. Using tools more common to clay sculptors, he removed unwanted polymer cement. As the mix began to stiffen, his choice of tools changed. Grunditz worked for several hours carving and detailing to achieve the final three-dimensional result.

View other 2005 Artistry in Concrete participants.