Friday, February 12, 2010

Sculpture and AAC

It's not a noble material.

AAC stands for autoclaved aerated concrete. The mix is heated and expanded with lots of air. It's sort of the stay puffed pastry version of concrete. Used primarily as a light weight building material, for insulation, it's an interesting new medium for sculpture.

You can carve it very quickly, it's soft enough that you can use a bread knife or anything handy to carve, rasp, file it. I hogged out the background with my drill press and a dull bit and then used a small stone comb tool and my steel gouges.

Available in 24 x 12 x 12 inch blocks, I cut each block in half lengthwise for these reliefs. Each new carving took about a day to complete. That's fast.

These new carvings are going to debut at Portland's Yard Garden Patio Show this weekend.


Carlos said...

It's a very friendly material, despite fragility. I had very good experiences whith my students working with it, it's good for them to experiment de process of carving and is true that you can do it with almost anything as tool.

William Dinsio said...

These are great Patrick! looks like stone almost.

John M. Casteline said...

Patrick, Very interesting! How resilient is this concrete to the weather? Will it wear out quicker than ordinary concrete?

Patrick Gracewood said...


In Oregon, the wear is mostly rain, tho we do have freeze thaw that blows up low fire terra cotta pots. You're going to have to get some to see how it holds up to those east coast winters...?

What that means for the AAC is that it gradually shows more holes. The sample block I've had out for years is more porous but otherwise mostly unchanged. It's highly refractory.

I want to try growing moss on it, Need to try some growing culture like buttermilk/yogurt etc, as on it's own I think it's really alykaline. Should with food be able to grow moss like the volcanic tufa in Bali.

Patrick Gracewood said...

It would be a great material for maquettes for stone carving. It's a boon for students (and us easily frustrated ADHDers) because you can see results so quickly.

Patrick Gracewood said...

Carlos, would you post photos of your students (and your work) with AAC? Would love to see how different folks work it!

Theresa Cheek said...

This looks like possibly a solution for something I want to do....I want to play with it!

dutchbaby said...

I love every one of these designs! They remind me of artwork I've seen in Schwarzwald (Black Forest) in Germany.

How big are they?

Delbert said...

I hope AAC is very helpful to stone carvers. I believe even modern civilization has utilized Stone carving to create artistic illustration for businesses and capture the essence of our greatest leaders in carving monuments. With the influence that stone carving has on society and on history it’s no shock to find the wide number of people seeking to create their own carving piece.

Maikel Arista-Salado said...

Hello, interested in sculpting family crests in AAC. Could it be painted or varnish? Thanks.