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The Rubarb Leaf Project

Many years ago I watched a Martha Stewart episode which featured two men (Little and Lewis) in the Pacific Northwest who made concrete sculptures using giant gunnera leaves. It was quite mind blowing to see what they could do. They gave directions for a home project although, as gunnera can’t be grown in many areas, they suggested rhubarb as an alternative. I kept the directions in my project folder for years waiting for a chance to try it for myself. Several years ago I tried it out with rhubarb and hosta leaves and while it worked reasonably well all the leaves broke fairly quickly. Recently I was given rhubarb for my mom and was stunned by the size of some of the leaves. Hmmmm. . . . This time I called in the professionals. Our friend Russ is in the stucco business and he was quite excited about trying something new and offered to come over with our other friend Bernie to help out. It’s raining today which meant they couldn’t work so he phoned me up and said they were mixing up the concrete and heading over. Here’s what we did. . .

Russ added some black tinting to darken up the concrete. I did most of the sand shaping under the leaf and the guys did everything else. We used two 70 pound pails of concrete which means this leaf will weigh 140 pounds! No need to worry about anyone walking off with this sculpture! Now we cross our fingers for the next few weeks as the leaf cures. I can hardly wait!

* Update. I just googled martha and concrete leaves and found the directions back for this project. First off they suggested hosta leaves not rhubarb, that was all my idea. Second the consistancy of the concrete they suggested is not what we used, although my sculpture will be much larger than they were thinking and third, I forgot to put plastic wrap between the edge of the leaf and the sand to keep the concrete edge clean. Sigh. . . Still keeping my fingers crossed. Pretty sure it won’t look like the ones they feature on their site though. . .

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