Reactive Stain Effects Using Household Items

May/June 2012 Vol. 11 No. 6


When I started as a pup-salesman at L. M. Scofield Co., the suggested method of applying reactive or patina stains (at that time called chemical stains) was with a mop out of a bucket. This was kind of like performing brain surgery with a battle axe. And the results weren’t surprising — a floor that appeared coarse and like it was blood-stained. by Michael Miller I started as a called chemical stains)

Using Brass and Glass to Create Concrete Poetry

October 2011 Vol. 11 No. 5


As concretists, each of us defines ourselves as “one who practices concrete poetry.” As we craft this material, we are crafting a poem. At the most basic level, that poem can be a haiku — deceptively simple.

I Have Seen the Future, and It Is Gray

July 2011 Vol. 11 No. 4


We really needed work last year. We really needed it! But in California, not much was to be had. Then my friend the Emeryville, Calif., colorist Tim Caton called. “Mike, I think I’ve got a good one for you.” And he did.

Let’s Be Careful Out There

April 2011 Vol. 11 No. 3

Friday night, 9:45 p.m., at the start of a long Fourth of July weekend … The Incident.

I don’t remember a sound. Rather, I remember a sense of being swallowed. The fireball flashed and briefly expanded. Temperature: 1,800 degrees.

Staining Was Never Easy, But Now It’s Complicated

February/March 2011 Vol. 11 No. 2

I was once a much younger concretist, really impetuous and passionate. I was working for L.M. Scofield Co., and as my wife told me, I worked way too much. So she left me. To be more accurate, she left me in charge of the kids for 10 days while she and her best girlfriend toured a bit of England and Scotland.

Patina Stains and Embedded Fish in Wyoming

January 2011 Vol. 11 No. 1

Most places that I’ve traveled to, the concrete has taken me there. And when I’ve returned, sometimes it’s been because of the concrete. And sometimes, it’s been because of the people.

Freehand Means Freedom for You and Your Customer

November/December 2010 Vol. 10 No. 8

So many things in construction, in concrete, involve straight lines. Or rectangular shapes with right angles. Or, if the architect is really bold, perhaps, a skewed grid at 45 degrees. There are a few nuts that opt for circles, even ellipses, and the very occasional freak asks for a spiral.

Lead Bricks and Black Holes: Weight and Scale

October 2010 Vol. 10 No. 7

I’m waiting for a plane in Vancouver, B.C. A flight to LAX. It’s Sunday and it’s been a great weekend! I arrived late Thursday night with my youngish uncle, Vito. We met frank and feisty Tom Ralston, of Tom Ralston Concrete, Santa Cruz, Calif., and the Australian mad scientist, Gary Jones, of Colormaker, Richmond, B.C., at The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant, snug under the Granville Island Bridge. We ate. We drank. We told the truth and lied, and then admitted that we had lied. We laughed. We talked business. We talked wives. We talked ex-wives. We cried, but just a little.

Berkely’s Street of Concrete Dreams

August/September 2010 Vol. 10 No. 6

I received a call a little while back from an architect and general contractor named Graham Simmons. Graham had been referred to me by Jim Duvall, a concrete contractor who specializes in difficult lots, basements and foundations in the Berkeley Hills of California. Jim places and finishes the mud, and we sometimes follow and provide applied finishes: patina stains, dye washes, etc.

A Tale of Two Topping Slabs

July 2010 Vol. 10 No. 5

This column has little to do with discussions of intuitive freestyle art versus disciplined mechanical graphics, or with criticism of superfluous decoration as contrasted with really spare concrete – my normal “literary” territory. It’s a column about me and a museum. It’s a tale of two topping slabs.

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