After attending several of these online webinars it has got me thinking. Vertical concrete in it's self has definately come a long way in the ten or so years that I have been involved. Even though we are just getting our feet wet with thes "live discussions" I can see a definate trend towards learning, teaching and just getting the public to better understand what we as concrete artists do. I would encourage everyone on this network to, at the very least, sign in and listen. I think once we all get the hang of it, the information will flow better than concrete laced with superplasticizers. I had a great time , even though I didn't get to spend all of the 2 plus hours online. I did have the pleasure of talking with Wayne Sellon (formerly Flex-c-ment). Nathan Giffin of the Vertical Artisans fame is the one responsible for this new fandangled concoction of networking. He has now given the world a seemingly local place to chat, ask questions, get ideas, solve problems and tell others of your projects and concerns within our industry.

We have spoke about all sorts of topics such as how tos on building artificial rock, discussing air brush techniques for detail and shading, waterproofing for ponds and showers. If you haven't been on this webinar, don't worry. Vertical Artisans is planning many more. However, there seems to be new and more informative discussions for each new event. I believe there may even be some sort of schedule panned for each event in the future. Thats just my guess. I can see a number of ways for the artist and client alike to benefit from this forum. One of the best things is that it's live! It's like taking to someone on the phone! Or better yet, if you have a mic you can take directly to that. Love technology.

The possibilities, not unlike our concrete medium, are nearly limitless. The Concrete Artists Network is one of the proud sponsors of the Vertical Artisans webinars. We will continue to promote this for reasons that I think are of purpose.

I see it as another platform for raising the awareness of our craft. A good point was brought up during one of these webinars. In the past, information was always very difficult to obtain. I am speaking from experience. When I started experimenting with artistic concrete, over ten years ago, no one would give me the time of day. Let alone any advice on how they were carving, with what tools , what mix they used and as you all know the list goes on. Unfortunately that lack of information being taught or simply passed on actually hurt our craft. For a number of years with people experimenting as they worked on homes, pools, businesses and others, the quality and durability was compromised. Not to mention some of the looks were just short of pathetic. Since the advent of the Concrete Artists Network, Vertical Artisans and a few really giving artists, things have started to turn around. Now, nearly ten years later, we are coming together as a very tight knit community that welcomes the questions and proudly gives the answers. The more we share, the more we all will learn and prosper. The "secrets" aren't quite as secret anymore. With the internet and our new found webinars all is available just for a simple question. Granted no one is going to give away formulas the have invented to sustain their livelyhood, but if you need it that bad then you should put in the time, effort and money to research and develop your own product just as they have done.

Unfortanately we won't be able to get the recipies for Flex-C-Ment or Fossil Crete or probably any other for that matter. But thats half the fun of the creative person in you. You wouldn't be doing this if you didn't have a creative and artistic soul. That passion to learn to do what another artists has carved or the way the stains were applied to acheive the depth of color.

If for only one of these reasons we can help ourselves or others to do better work, bring it into the forfront of the arttistic concrete arena and make this a very profitable pastime, then I believe my time at least has been time well spent. I commend Nathan on his efforts as I know the time spent can be daunting. I'm sure he feels the same. I look forward to participating in many more of the live webinars. I hope that everyone on our network gets involved. Tell you friends and spread the word. Theres no better free source of information. As a conclusion, I just want you all to know that I really enjoy teaching and consulting but I really like playing in the mud!

Jeff Datin

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