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BB Studios Rendering of Stagecoach Mall Decorative ConcreteDecorative Concrete
Meets Historic Preservation

July 2011 - Decorative concrete has many applications both indoors and out. For some, the term “decorative concrete” may simply refer to stained floors or kitchen countertops crafted of concrete.  To landscape designers it crosses over to artificial rocks, trees and waterfalls. For architects, interior designers and those interested in historic preservation, decorative concrete can be a useful tool manipulated into elements replicating century-old masonry work, stone fireplaces, even wooden beams. Decorative concrete offers unlimited opportunities to recreate  historic features that may have been removed or destroyed, or as a means to completely transform a space to give it an historic feel.

Fairbury, Nebraska native Thom Hunt, artist and owner of Big Bamboo Studios, has been working as a sculptor and painter of artificial rocks, trees and animals for over 30 years. The props he creates have been used in zoos, aquariums, museums and theme parks around the world.

Hunt is constantly striving to expand his skillset and will use his upcoming class entitled “extreme vertical carving” to introduce new techniques and materials which could revolutionize historic preservation projects. Hunt, along with fellow artists from the across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico will be gathering in Fairbury in August to develop new techniques that will take decorative concrete into the historic preservation realm. This upcoming class, scheduled for August 17 – 20, will provide hands-on training in constructing vertical frameworks and carving decorative concrete to replicate a century-old brick wall and massive limestone fireplace. According to Hunt, “In this class, students will be introduced to new formulas, materials and techniques that will show how decorative concrete can be used to create architectural features and showcase its versatility.” The class will be held inside the former Hested’s Dime Store (Stagecoach Mall) building located in Fairbury’s downtown historic district.

“Like many small communities, downtown Fairbury has a lot of historic architecture, however, due to remodeling over the years, some of these buildings have been stripped of their original features. Decorative concrete can be used to restore the façade of a building and take it back to its original beauty. Once inside, decorative concrete can be used to create brick walls, columns, pillars, cornices, the list is endless. We will be adding a brick wall and a stone fireplace to the interior space for this project, which will give it character and warmth,” according to Hunt.

Hunt’s work has been featured in industry magazines, countless newspapers, periodicals and television shows. His sculptures have been used as props in major motion pictures and can be found in some of the country’s most notable locations, such as the Central Park Children’s Zoo in New York City and Orlando’s theme parks. Hunt’s artistry and skill has taken him to the far reaches of the world  and he has an impressive list of clients, including the Prime Minister of Bahrain. Hunt has also completed projects in the Philippines, Costa Rica, Mexico, and various locations across the U.S., including Alaska and Puerto Rico.

For more information about Hunt, his work and upcoming training classes, log on to www.BigBambooStudios.com.

 
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