Finishing the Horse began with research, as usual. What I wanted was a stucco recipe that had both clay and concrete. I know this is a sound practice because I used to mix stucco for my professor Vicky Hansen and she used both, but I could neither remember that recipe or find one on line. I wound up making my own from a recipe I found online that was intended for restoration of historical buildings. While I wanted portland cement in the mix, I was looking for very little. Enough to increase durability on a difficult surface but little enough to avoid the surface becoming brittle and hard to repair. I used these two web pages primarily in my investigations.
I based my recipe off this recipe from the about.com page:
“Materials for Soft Brick Mortar and for Soft Stucco“
5 gallons hydrated lime
10 gallons sand
1 quart white, nonstaining portland cement (1 cup only for pointing)
Water to form a workable mix.
(Koch and Wilson, Architects, New Orleans, Louisiana, February, 1980
To incorporate the clay I replaced half the aggregate (sand) with the unrefined brick clay I acquired for the project.
Refining the mixing process was difficult, eventually we decided to mix half batches because we needed the mix to be rather heavy so it would stick to the underside of the sculpture, also applying the stucco wire was super difficult on such a complex surface so there were spots that were nearly impossible to get the material to adhere. We used straw to help fill in those spots which helped considerably.
Once we had the mix right it was just a whole lot of work to get the piece finished. We applied a second coat to the surface to fill gaps and smooth it a bit a couple days after the first. It was on this second day of stuccoing that we hatched the plan for the video.