Wednesday, March 11, 2009


although there is light slush/rain/snow outside my studio window, i am dreaming in springtime colors

leafy green, rich earth, daffodil cheer, periwinkle sky

in my "past life" when working in the corporate world, around this time of year, I would always sneak away to the nearest nursery during my lunch break. walking the aisles of a greenhouse, feeling the energy of life, filling my lungs with the earthy-goodness smell of the rich soil...I would feel renewed. it was my little secret getaway - more retreat then shopping.

I have decided in the same celebratory spirit of renewal & growth that I will create some hypertufa pots this weekend. I adore hypertufa and it's mossy, natural look in the garden. Not to mention the artist in me loves to sculpt & mold interesting shapes or press leaves & other textures into the surfaces. The texture of the materials you use is very satisfying in a tactile way.

I so love the look, that beautifully planted hypertufa pots were featured at my wedding. Each guest received a small one planted with lush moss as a favor and the centerpieces were large round troughs filled with lush plantings.

when the tables were set and all of the candles were flickering and the crystal was was just magical

We made them all ourselves - with the big help of a family "hypertufa party". My parents did all of the plantings & floral arrangements - they are so talented.

aaaahh, wedding memories....I loved my wedding.

if you have always wanted to try making hypertufa, I have included one (there are many out there) beginner's recipe to try:
1 part Portland cement
1½ part peat
1½ part perlite OR vermiculite
tip - if you need to strengthen your piece (for especially large/cumbersome shapes/troughs) you can mix in a handful of fibre mesh/fibre glass or encase chicken wire w/ the mix

work quickly - make sure you have all sorts of interesting molds on hand - cheap plastic bowls give great results. I use plain old plastic wrap lining the bowls as my mold adds an interesting texture. The key to durable, beautiful hypertufa is the waiting game - patience pays off! Although your hypertufa straight out of the mold looks pretty, you need to let it cure completely. If you really want an aged, "been in the garden forever" kind of look, I highly suggest creating your pieces and then leaving to cure fully in a sheltered spot outside for a few months. Then you can scrape textures into the outside to make them look more craggy & aged. Another tip is to brush with buttermilk to encourage moss/lichen growth. When fully cured & ready - plant up with an assortment of moss, sedum, alpine plants, etc. So much fun!

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