Thursday, June 30, 2016

Unique Concrete

by Drew Martin
I have a thing for concrete. If you search this site for "concrete" you will find more than a couple dozen posts referencing the material. I am amazed by its properties and artistic possibilities. And as part of my "peripheral art" notions, I am fascinated by the concrete sculptures that surround us in multitudes. You have seen them on lawns and at garden centers but you probably never thought about how they are made and who makes them. I used to live next to Fountains of Wayne in New Jersey, from which the rock band took their name, and I have several artist friends who work in concrete.

So today, when I was washing my family's clothes at a laundromat during vacation in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and noticed Cornerstone Creations: Unique Concrete Home and Garden Art, I moseyed on over and had a look.

I was greeted by Pete Robitaille, a pleasant young man running his own shop who showed me his work and answered the biggest question I have had for several years regarding concrete statues: Do people ever ask to have the cremated ashes of loved-ones mixed into the cement to make a concrete sculpture of Buddha, Ganesha, or something symbolic of the deceased?

I have been thinking about this because it would seem like a nice alternative to sticking someone in a box underground, or putting their ashes in an urn. It might be reassuring for someone to at least have a custom statue reminder of a special person, which he or she could place in the garden or in the woods. Pete said he has done a couple such requests for markers for pets graves but that it is not a common thing.

Here is a picture of Pete at work, and some of his creations including a cat candle holder with glowing marble eyes (the finished works are painted), the fountain at the hotel where we are staying, an Escher-inspired piece, and two pieces that you probably would not otherwise see placed together: a trio of mushrooms and an Aztec fire god.

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