Nathan Griffin
Joe Nasvik Nathan Griffin

After working in the software industry for several years, Nathan Giffin became smitten with the creative possibilities presented by artificial rockwork. So he started his company and became an installing contractor, using his experience and his photographic record to train others to do the work and improve their skills using his Web training program. With a network of skilled rock artisans from around the world now adding to the training offerings, people can watch videos of the artisans' process to complete their work.

Giffin decided to demonstrate the three basic conditions for installing rockwork: columns, arches and beams, and vertical walls. He pre-built a wood-frame structure that would permit guests to see the work from all angles. After applying diamond lath to the surfaces—double laps for inverted surfaces—he used vertical overlay cement to trowel a “scratch coat.” Then he added a second application 2 to 3 inches thick for the handcarving and texturing. He carves with pointed margin trowels and makes all the texture tools himself. His mixes provide him with several hours to finish this part of the work. The final step includes coloring, which can be involved. Giffin reports that 16 different colors were used to supply the basic colors and highlights for this project.

View other 2008 Artistry in Concrete Demos.