Dec 31

A Wintery Trip To Vegas (Part 2)

by Mike Miller

Part 2, the 2010 culmination of… A Wintery Trip To Vegas, Where Sensory Concrete Can Be Of Brass, Where Sensory Concrete Can Be Of Glass. Look for more, “Vegas/Brass/Glass… The Final Saga”, maybe, in 2011, if I haven’t been distracted by some other shiny thing (hehe).

Kell’s flight delivered her safely into my hands. Back to Ed and Betty’s place. Time to sleep, and to rest up for mud at 9:00 AM, tomorrow morning. What, no six o’ clock concrete? Now, this is the kind of pour I like!


Success! Yesterday’s mortar bed got hard, and has securely anchored our brass wave details.

Ed’s a typical “old school” concrete finisher… Up at 4:00 AM, even if it is Saturday, and he’s not pouring. I find him with coffee, on the couch, watching radar on The Weather Channel, trying to divine the not so distant future, looking for rain, even if he’s not pouring, and our pour is “under cover”… Hehe, old habits die hard! I was sure to triple-set my alarm, to also be up early (although, for five, not four), to let him know I’m no pussy! Of course, the women are smarter… Betty and Kell sleep ‘til seven or eight. Alrighty then, off to Starbucks drive-thru, and then the pour…

Hey! All appears set, and ready-to-go. The truck’s just a few minutes late. The boys smoke, coke, joke, mentally prepare and/or adjust their jocks. You can tell that Miller, the concretist, is on site, as is evidenced by the 6 shot grande cappuccino in the foreground.

Although the final product will be patina-stained and dye-washed, Kelley has opted for an integrally colored concrete. Another thing to fret over… Can this possibly be the right color? Looks awfully red to me! Of course, this is to be expected (business as usual)… Typical dialogue from just another day in paradise (worth another hehe)!

Wheel it. Dump it. Shove in the donkey dick. Vibrate it. Strike it off. While the concretists nod approvingly and get lots of pictures.

Betty and Ed arrive, and review our progress.

THE MASTER SPEAKS: “Well, I wouldn’t done it that way, but, I guess it’ll work (???). And, by the way, it’s looks awfully red!”

Remember our design concept… That there be some thematic/visual continuity from ripples in the pool/spa/water feature, at the back of the house, that would continue through, and to the front.

Wave theme begins here, at mosaic-tiled “infinity pool”, spa, and water feature.


Is maintained with the vibe of the limestone paving, at the back patio, through the house, and out the front door.


Is reinforced (with an exclamation point), inside, by the dramatic sculptural plaster wall.


And is to culminate at our porte cochere art piece (remember this paper, brass and glass mock-up, back home, at Kelley’s?).

The mud’s been laid, it’s really cold, and we’ve got hours to kill before the concrete “tightens-up”, so we can continue. Time to head back to Mount Charleston…

Kelley, on the way up. Must’ve been a warm rain last night (if you can call it that), as a whole lot of the snow has melted. But, no complaints… It’s extra fresh!


This is about as high as we got… Start of some really deep, narrow canyons… Pretty, and, pretty dramatic!


Kelley, on the way down (walkin’ up/runnin’ down). Time to go back to work!

Time to float in the glass, followed by a two-pass-trowel…

Bob Harris sells his own line of signature stamps. Kelley puts her signature on her own custom steel templates.


Da boyz pound in da glass.


O.K., lady, it’s getting’ dark, right?


And, now, it is dark!


Last step before headin’ home for the night… Application of a top surface retarder… We’ll wash this off in the morning.

Sunday morning. Our last day in Vegas. Just a bit o’ time on the job, then, we’ll leave it to the guys…

Note hairy fibers, in addition to steel reinforcement. We’ll burn these off later. See brown metal waves under blue tape. Kelley’s picking at slab where some whitish retarder remains. The design idea is that the glass is a slightly deconstructed version of the brass, as in a reflection or an after-thought.


Retarder and cement paste is removed with a pressure washer, on low, and a medium bristle brush.


Kelley mostly watches. Guys mostly work. Blue tape is (mostly) still protecting brown patinated brass “waves”.

Hey, it’s time to get home, to the family and… CHRISTMAS!

And then to… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Again, may we all be thankful for what we have, and, in 2011, to be richly blessed!

ALL GOOD THINGS!!!

Mike Miller
the concretist

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