The other night, I went to fetch a fifth of Tennessee whiskey on a Harley Davidson wearing Levi's and Vans and it occurred to me. I love Americana.
I cringe a bit when I hear someone say "...what made America great..." I well up a little for the same reason. What makes it all so good is how heterogeneous it all is. It is the harmony in the chaos. It is hodgepodge, the mishmash and the jumbalaya. It is the opposite of" what [one isolated thing] makes America great".
Few things are more American than 21st century concrete. Though the Romans had a magnesium based mortar that turned out to be incredibly durable, Portland Cement is the New World Standard. And while the formwork of European architects is great, decorative concrete as the world knows it is an American invention.
My favorite niche of chemically stained concrete was pioneered in the construction of the Awahnee Hotel in California. Built in 1927, the architects casted against wood, and created intentional rust stains that look elegant and timeless today. This was neither strikingly engineered or painstakingly executed. It was practical (fire resistance is good), well done, and endearing. Just like the the Vans on my feet, the Levi's on my legs and the Harley under me. Just off enough to be right on.
This is all of it. The perfectly imperfect material. The soup that becomes like a stone in a fossilization of the materials and men that mix and place it.
I can't tell you how thankful I am to feed my family making cool stuff out of this material. I am pretty glad you took the time to read about the work here, too. To the men that work for me, I try to preach home the value of putting some spirit into the work and the material. I guess the best I can do for you here is to chide you a little to do the same.
When we do something in concrete or with acid staining, every nuance is captured. It’s obvious with our work, but likely no less true with yours. Work like it really counts. It must. That notion, is more American and lasting than any of the landfill fodder discussed above.