I'm always on the lookout for a medium I can use that will allow me to create outdoor artwork. My first attempt at creating outdoor art was with Plaster of Paris. This was an interesting material to work with. It would change from a liquid to a solid in just a matter of minutes. Sometimes the timing was tricky when applying this substance. You had to move pretty fast and carving always created a billow of white into the air. After creating my first couple items, I tried my best to weather proof them with acrylic paints and varnish sealants. They always ended up slowly deteriorating due to slight cracks allowing moisture to enter. I know many people on the various crafting forums had great luck weather proofing theirs, it just was not the material for me.
My second attempt was with some tutorials I had received from the Stolloween website. This is a great website to go to for many hands on tutorials with the Paper Mache medium. The main premise being that you can use various materials to create your Mache work Scott Stoll (creator of Stolloween) uses almost all recyclable materials to make his armatures. As for the recipe, he supplies a couple of examples but encourages experimentation. Whether it is actual paper or some type of fiberglass, the fun is in the experimenting. Once you create your item and apply a proper sealant it can be used outdoors. This site is a LOT of fun, I encourage anyone to go there. After working with this medium to make various Halloween items, I decided to try applying the basis of his recipe with a sawdust recipe The results was a wonderful clay I could use that would dry rock hard. My only complaint with this medium is that is it very time consuming. The sawdust clay tends to dry very slowly and needs to be applied in layers on the armature. However, as you can see from the turtle and octopus pics, you can get nice detail on them.
For my next adventure in sculpting, I am going to try what is called Hypertufa. It is a cement medium that is mixed with other ingredients to make it lighter and more agreeable to artwork. I found a nice website that has the various recipes - http://www.artistic-garden.com/hypertufa-recipes/ . One of the recipes is for the underneath part that is harder and less carve-able and another recipe for the outer layer that dries slower and is better suited for carving. I have not tried this yet but am anxious to do so. Perhaps I will start out with a whimsical lady snail or a turtle attempting to reach a strawberry.
Once I have tried these, I will let you know how it went. If you have any advice or stories of outdoor artwork, please share