Turtle Unveil – A Legendary Escapes Signature Element

Small Turtle Carved Legendary Escapes{By Karen, Concrete Artisan}

I wrote two days ago that I enjoy carving diving turtles for our hybrid pools, and I fear it. Not because it’s hard to do, I’ve done enough of them to have a specific process I follow;  I get nervous because our pool customers have expectations when they contract us to carve them something resembling a large turtle they can jump into their pool from.   Each turtle is hand carved, and while I follow the same process every time, no two turtles are alike.Small Turtle Carved (2)

I wrote about building the armature the other day, and applying the structure coat.  I never do it the same way.  With the early stages I try to build myself a general turtle shape to expand upon in the carving stage.  I have a vision in my head, but sometimes something I’ve done in bending the rebar or applying the structure coat  prohibits me from carving where I want in the final stage.   Or sometimes, when I’m applying the carving coat, cement ends up where I’m not visualizing it; like it has a mind of its own, and the ability to travel.   When I’m right there, hands on, I see the small details.  If I don’t step back periodically to see the whole, that’s when I realize the cement has gotten away from me and I need to carve it back.  If I wait too long, the cement hardens, and I have to revise my vision and my sculpt, or the customer’s beautiful new hybrid pool will have an immoveable concrete rock on their deep end wall.

I also try to sculpt my turtles with the pool customers in mind.  Last year I carved one for a family with two young children, so I carved a more cartoonish, smiling turtle.  Today’s customer has two pre-teen boys so I tried to give this turtle a more realistic, male look.   I finished a day later than expected because I struggled a bit with the shell.  First, the piece of metal lathe that allows me to give the shell its shape would not cooperate.   The lathe is cut into a square and when I’m ready to shape it I fold and curl in the edges to form a circle.  For some reason the folds would not stay down.  While I’m trying to spread cement all over the lathe, the folds kept popping up.  I finally decided to finish carving the head and legs, leaving the shell in rough shape, but the folds pinned down, to harden overnight.  Today, I fought keeping cement to stay on the underside of the shell, but patience and persistence finally paid off, and the turtle is carved.  Next up is staining, but the cement needs to cure a bit first.