Michael Vernelson started creating habitats at the age of just twelve years old building small dioramas for taxidermy projects. By the time he was fifteen he was already familiar with resins, epoxies, and mould making. His reputation for recreating nature down to the most the minute details landed him his first museum project in Ashland, Oregon. Still, there was a large void missing in Mikes accomplishments. Mike needed to learn how to recreate the large expanses of rock formation so commonly seen in zoos and theme parks. He really started to pay close attention to what he saw at these places. The first thing he began to notice was most of the rock in the theme parks and zoos looked fake and man made. They looked puff and round with just lines dragged through them, not sharp fractured rock that was native to where he grew up. After visiting several zoos he learned that there was a small handful of artist that were recreating actual geology through sculpture and concrete. Soon after Mike was shaking hands with Ken Tywoniw and was on the road to learning what would become his new passion. Mike was fortunate to work with artists like Kenny Tywoniw and Spencer Dean who didn't just throw the word artist around. They really knew their business and were masters at it. Ten years later Mike is still trying to take everything that he creates to a new level of realism and authenticity. With today's materials and technology Mike has earned a reputation for being able to recreate anything in nature whether it be plant, stone, water, fire or ice. Mike will always continue to go above and beyond in his work creating the most breathtaking and realistic environments imaginable.

Years carving concrete- 10 years
Favorite styles- All

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The detail in your trees are amazing. I am currently experimenting around that area and learning that its a completely different ballgame from rockwork..haha
The trees are much different, You basically have to tell your brain to forget all of the "rules" to creating rock. Alot of fun though!

Joe Townsley said:
The detail in your trees are amazing. I am currently experimenting around that area and learning that its a completely different ballgame from rockwork..haha
Hello Michael,
Fantastic work! Especially your rocks with the mold. Have you ever thought of offering classes on rock making and such? I'd be one of the first to sign up. If you do give lessons--When and where.
Thank You, Trent Warden.
Hi Mike,
I saw some pics of your work on a forum, for taxidermy. The pics were of a rock outcrop water feature, on the side of, and over the coping of, a pool. The work was done over rebar and chicken wire.
My question is, I didn't know you could build from one substrate and bridge across to another. I thought differential movement would crack the work. It appears that you sat the rebar on top of the pool coping, (bond beam). Does this make the rebar and concrete coat able to move with the work that is attached to the slab below the pool?
Thanks for any help you might be able to provide, as I'm looking at doing the same kind of application at home.
Bruce
What kind of stain did you use for the rocks? ( brand & colors). Amazing work. Have you tryed faux bois? That is just amazing how they do the detail of the trees.
Where did you learn the tree technics of the bark detail. I want to learn.

Mike Vernelson said:
The trees are much different, You basically have to tell your brain to forget all of the "rules" to creating rock. Alot of fun though! Joe Townsley said:
The detail in your trees are amazing. I am currently experimenting around that area and learning that its a completely different ballgame from rockwork..haha

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