polished concrete art

ilia chidzey | contemporary art + design
Fossicking for treasures – the goldfish technique

Polished concrete art is my new, all encompassing addiction. It has sunk its teeth in and shakes and tosses me around, leaving me helplessly and hopelessly in love. I have never experienced anything quite as magical, adventurous and mysterious as polished concrete. Fragile but rugged, unforgiving yet flexible, it exudes a silky elegance that reflects light in the most extraordinary way. It is irresistible to the touch and gorgeous treasures lie embedded in its surface. Shimmering mother of pearl, dichroic glass, coloured pebbles and ceramic shards playfully frolic across its surface.

The million dollar question of course, is why and how did it all start? If someone had suggested I would be discovering chunks of coloured concrete in my washing machine or loitering around aquariums and pet shops looking for exotic aggregates a couple of years ago, I would have accused them of being as mad as myself. But I hadn’t met concrete back then.

It started simply enough. I began working full-time for Concrete Colour Systems, a company that specialises in coloured concrete pigments amongst many other related products. As my mind is want to do, it started wondering what would happen if… then it grew into how… then evolved into why not?… and that was when the adrenaline kicked in. Six months of experimentation and the development of a malleable, clay like mixture with the company’s R & D team was just long enough to get me completely hooked.

I am normally an impatient person, in a constant flurry of activity, jumping from one idea to the next, and concrete has forced me to take a deep breath and learn to wait. A seven day curing period means that by the time I hook up my wet grinder, strap on my gloves and and start stripping back the surface of each piece, I have completely forgotten which particular treasures lie hidden below the surface. Like an archeologist on a prehistoric dig, I make discovery after discovery. With a memory like a gold fish, I get a thrill as each layer strips back. Coloured glass and swirling colours lurk below a homogenous mess of solidified concrete – all waiting for me to unearth them!

My Gold Coast gallery and studio are available for viewing. Contact me to organise a time to visit! I would love to show you the inner workings of my mind!

Click individual images for a detailed explanation.

polishing concrete
polishing concrete by hand
concrete working
concrete mishaps
Discoveries in my washing machine...
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