What is Cment2b and who is Stephanie Shroyer?

     
     Just a little info about me and my art...

I am Stephanie Shroyer and my art has really evolved over the past 10 years. Previously known for mosaic art, it was moved to the side lines since finding my passion in concrete. I now spend all my time playing in the “mud”. Actually, it’s my many proprietary blends of concrete which I use to hand sculpt into bowls and birdbaths, fountains and wall décor sculptures and much more.

Raised in a very talented family, my oldest sister Sally Maxwell is a world renown scratch board artist. I remember helping her with art shows from when I was very young! My three older brothers are all builders and designers, and some have an outlet for creating on the side. We moved around a lot when we were kids, from Connecticut to Illinois to Massachusetts just in my time and I’m the baby. We moved to Houston Texas in 1972. My father being an industrial engineer sparked the moves with his work. At age seven dad and I indulged in rock hunting and this grew into a full lapidary shop added to his full wood shop! Yes he too was very creative.

I won first prize in the Houston Livestock and Rodeo contest in high school and had to do demos at the event! We moved to La Grange in 1976, my senior year, culture shock for sure! Working at the local newspaper through industrial trades at school, I planned to learn about the printing industry and where my art that I would create be reproduced. I had a goal of becoming a graphic designer. I even won first place in letterpress printing at a state-wide competition. Letterpress printing is a lost art now!

I did go to some college, Houston Community College, Blinn and Austin Community College, but never received a degree. I worked in the building trades for years, with my own painting and wallpaper business. Once Mason, my son came on the scene I became a youth director at two churches and had the wonderful experience hauling my “kids” around on mission trips! From there I went into the social services. Drug Prevention Educator for Youth and Family Services, and then on to The Family Crisis Center in Bastrop as an advocate and then educator……. While dealing with all the stress from these positions I found my love of mosaic. It was great therapy to brake things and then put them back together as art!




I began doing art show at that time, schlepping my heavy artwork from show to show. It is quite rewarding to think that my artwork is beautifying so many homes and gardens all over the state, nation and country! I became very involved with the Austin Mosaic Guild and SAMA, Society of American Mosaic Artists and attended a few wonderful conferences! I learned a lot from these fine people. I have taught many a workshop for both young and old and love that I have created mosaic maniacs everywhere! And I still teach!

Mosaic-ing dimensional sculptures was my favorite and so I concreted my exercise ball and that soon evolved into my current medium. I concreted a few other balls as bowls to mosaic. These had irregular edges and looked very organic. The bowls I did not get around to mosaic went into my garden as bird baths and feeders. They filled with water and leaves, and the birds and cats both loved them. They discolored from the pecan leaves that settled in them. This developed into the idea of using leaf impressions to decorate the bowls. I had seen pictures of Little and Lewis’s leaf castings they created of huge Gunnera leaves on Bainbridge Island, and went back to the drawing board to figure out how to get leaf impressions into my sand cast or slump cast serving pieces. The name of my business is C’ment2b, named that because the place where I lived when my medium focus changed, came with a concrete mixer and some molds. It was c’ment to be!

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A resident of Fayette County since 1976, I now live in a cabin my man and I built ourselves 7 years ago. My commute to “work” is as easy as opening the door from home into the shop! Customers enjoy coming to visit and seeing the process, enjoying the water gardens and selecting a fountain for me to finish for them.

Leaves are used in most of the castings, immortalizing the delicate leaves in everlasting concrete. A perfect way to mary my love of gardening and art, I grow as many varieties I can, and am always on the lookout for unusual specimens I can use. My nickname is “the leaf thief” and I even have cards made thanking those whose permission I could not get in person for snatching a few leaves from their gardens! I have created a library of silicone leaves I have made from the real ones, so in the winter I can still create. Ive even traveled with mold rubber in my bag so I can legally bring leaves back into the country!

 

The small bowls grew into creating water fall fountains that are lighter than they look, which makes them easy for customers to move, set up and clean. It’s rewarding to enable people to create an oasis in their indoor and outdoor living spaces with ease.

I began selling the fountains wholesale to garden centers all over Texas and the surrounding states for three years…. The third-year things took a sad turn and the bottom fell out of that avenue at my third Texas Nurserymen and Landscape Expo. I had prepared a field of fountains for the orders I had hoped to take, but only took 3. Tragically I lost Mason, my only child, in a car accident a month after the expo and held a group art show two weeks after the accident here at the studio called ART JAM with my Like Minded Artist Group……. Life became a blur for me. Months after all of this I finally went back to work in the studio. I had plenty of fountains to sell, so I had time to create new works, and explore new techniques.

The Process

I start with a mound of wet sand on a sand table.

 Leaves are then placed on top, and the sand is carved to take on the natural shape of the leaves.

I then mix up two blends of concrete. My light weight version that contains vermiculite  and fiberglass goes down on the back side of the leaves first. A layer of fiberglass mesh is added and then a stronger blend is then added.

Once the piece cures on the table for a few days, we flip it over and remove as much leaf as possible.

The piece then goes for a swim in the kiddy pools for a few days to accelerate curing.

On to the "solar kiln" it goes to bake out the rest of the leaves.

What ever remains of the leaf is power washed away.

The piece is then acid stained, neutralized and then sealed.

Serving pieces get a food safe sealer, and the fountains get a acrylic commercial sealer.

The bowls  and serving pieces are even dishwasher safe!