Sunday, August 30, 2009


Kansas State Stepping Stone

Missouri State Stepping Stone

It's amazing we haven't made these state stones before. They are a perfect addition to Kansas and Missouri gardens.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have always wanted to do a large scale nativity in a primitive whimsical styling. I will do that someday, but for now we will be featuring this small seven-piece nativity set made from concrete. The pieces are only 3-4 inches tall and come in a rust (pictured), golden or green stained finish. Cute as a button!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


The wonderful cooler weather has really affected the curing time of our HYPERTUFA this summer. The hotter the weather, the faster it sets up. We had to wait a bit longer to finish things up in this studios because of the low temps. It was worth the wait as everyone went home happy with their treasures. It just goes to show how making HYPERTUFA is much like baking bread - things turn out a bit differently every time.

Dusty and Phyllis mix up a rich batch of "green" HYPERTUFA. We actually recycled Phyllis's old lesson plans. She retired this spring after teaching and serving as a counselor for many years. She's already begun to do the things she has always wanted to do but could not find the time. Now she's a pro at making HYPERTUFA!
Phyliss may not especially care to eat rhubarb but she certainly loves those leaves! Here she is covering two of them with a concrete mixture to make unique cast serving dishes.

The day after, the rhubarb leaves are carefully removed from the casting.

This water basin uses five cast rhubarb leaves to create flower form.

A free-form sculpted butterfly garden stone.

This free-form stone sports a happy smile which is what you will be doing as you load up your car with all of the projects you've made form the HYPERTUFA Studio. Sign up today!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cottonwood Falls, Kansas

Today I took a very peaceful drive southwest to Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. It is a small town in the flint hills. There is a charming art gallery on Broadway, The Gallery at Cottonwood Falls, that now sells my garden stones and stakes. It is a very nice place and does a good business with the tourist traffic through that area. There is a wonderful little cafe next door that sells homemade pies...couldn't pass up a slice of rhubarb pie!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Participants first wandered the garden selecting colorful leaves and blossoms to use in making their paper. After each person made several sheets, they learned how to make a bowl using their own handmade paper. We also sculpted simple shapes from oil clay and poured plaster molds to use in paper pulp casting.
This group liked making paper so much they opted to forego other projects in order to keep on with their experimentation. The possibilities are endless when the garden is at this stage of high summer growth.
This sheet is made with marigolds and lemon balm leaves.
Here's a handsome blend of purples and greens.
Carolyn snips the small leaves of fino verde basil for her paper.
Besides adding great color, it smells heavenly!
Brenda mixed in confetti made from shredded seed catalogs to kick up the color a few notches.
Anne carefully positioned small thunbergia blossoms into her paper after it was poured.
Carolyn trims the edge of her paper bowl featuring multi-colored zinnia petals.
Damp handmade paper is applied to the bowl mold and patted into shape.
Susan created a custom sheet using birch twigs and ginko leaves.
On the second day of the GARDEN PAPER WORKSHOP the paper bowls were ready to be removed from their molds. It is always exciting to see what surprises you'll find on the inside. These bowls are beauties!

This bowl was made with pape containing red, coral and orange zinnia petals.
...and this one with celery leaves and white zinnia petals.
This one reminds me of a cabbage!
Brenda's confetti/petal bowl...
...and Anne's thunbergia blossom bowl.
Three vases made from different papers.
This is the plaster mold cast from Brenda's sculpture of a bee. She will use this mold to cast paper pulp shapes similar to the flower on the right. They can be used to make ornaments or even a decorative garland.

Taking a little time to jot down some notes. it would be hard to remember everything we've done in the Garden Paper Studio!

Drying Tomatoes

Laurie is busy now, slicing and drying our tomatoes for our Dried Tomato Dip featured at the Holiday Gift Open House in November.
You do not get this color and flavor from tomatoes at the grocery store!


We experimented adding dried grass clippings along with the recycled paper during mixing. I knew that using, moist green grass would be trouble because it would seriously effect the curing/setting time of the hypertufa mix. The dried grass mixed in wonderfully, adding a soft, earthy texture to the mix. It did slow the setting process however and we had to wait three days until we could handle the platters and finish them up. Every one turned out well, in fact, they were some of the best we've made! Now we have another "green" use for grass clippings!
Kari adds a border to her leaf platter which features a mini-spa for the birds on one side.

Jan put an island deck in the center of her platter for the birds to enjoy.

The real leaves used to create the desgin have been removed during the cleanup process. Kelly is going to seal her platter and use it as a serving piece. It will make a dramatic centerpiece.

Beau's finished leaf platter.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Hmmmm...can't wait until it cools!
Juicy and luscious these will make a great pie...
...and yummy jam for our Holiday Gift Open House in November.

This is a Blackberry Lily, though not related to the real berry. It has a seed pod that opens when it dries revealing a seed cluster that looks just like a blackberry. The seed pods are green in this photo.


Jean's box planter will take about a week to fully set and cure before she can plant it up with her favorite container plants. Because it is hypertufa and breathes, it can stay outside year round.
Kari placed a handprint on the bottom of her leaf platter for nice surprise on the underside...
...a nice signature in this medium.
Beau finishes the rim of her box planter with a nice hand-rolled edge.
Lee helps Kelly position a bike chain in her garden stone for her husband's birthday. He is an avid biker and will really get a kick out of her stone.
Jan likes to boogie to the music as she pats the hypertufa onto her leaf platter. Music aids this process tremendously.

All of these garden stones are sculpted by hand. We also used various sculpture techniques to create our grots, a garden gnome character. First we remove material form the hypertufa blocks we cast the previous day. This makes holes for the eyes and mouth. Then we use thick cement and add on the various features of the face.
"This is how you cut the the mouth..."
"and how you make the nose"

GROTS make wonderful plant stands.