It’s time for me to tell you that I love fairs! I always have that homey feeling and I’m curious what creative things I’ll discover that day. This is how I found Beton Botanika, that unifies my love and collecting passion for succulents and an awesome idea.
Lady Fraise (LF): How did you come up with the idea to use concrete for pots and jewelry?
Beton Botanika (BB): The idea came to me in 2015 when we were renovating our house and I started to deal with concrete as a material. I was looking through many foreign home desing magazines and concrete was starting to become more popular for indoor coating and as decoration. I was amazed by how simple, pure and unique this material was. Since I had all the ingredients at home to make concrete, I started experimenting with it in my free time. I started from classic concrete, that is used to make pavements, but I figured out quickley that it can not be used for smaller objects. So a long experimentation started to find the perfect consistance. At the beginning, I only made pots and after that I started making jewelry as well, mainly things that suited my style. I found out soon, that you need an other consistance for them, so a new experimentation phase started.
LF: What is concrete like? Is it hard to work with?
BB: Concrete consists of 3 ingredients: cement, water and gravel. With the adequate proportion of these you can create this steady material. For pots and jewelry you need a very smooth mixture, and you can only achieve this by decreasing the size of gravel grains. Many people ask me: isn’t concrete too heavy to wear? But it’s wearable indeed, I always tell them to try my necklaces on to see how slight they are. This misbelief about concrete being heavy comes from its original use for building houses, while we usually measure gold in gramms.
Concrete is nor a feminine material to work with. The stock itself is very heavy and you need some strength for shuffling and transporting as well. There are not so likeable works, like grinding, but the consequence pays off all the trouble. I do think that despite of the weigth and rigidness of concrete, I can make very feminine objects from it.
LF: How is a pot made? What are the technical facilities you need?
BB: First you have to mix the dry ingredients of concrete than add the right amount of water. The quantity of water is the key, because if the mixture becomes too dry, you can not work with it, and if it’s too fluent, the concrete will become too weak. Then I put this mixture into silicone or plastic mould. The procession ends with alienating the waterbubbles with shuffling techniq. A couple of days later the concrete solidifies and I can remove them from the moulds. The whole hardening process takes weeks. Hot weather and quick drying can make concrete useless, so it is important to keep it wet for a while. I make many kinds of pots: traditional grey and white cement, I can add some oxide staining to it or later decorate it with acrylic painting. I try to make a wide variety of products. Concrete goes great with geometrical forms and it enchances how pure it is, or by using acrylic staining I can make marble-like staining or basically anything else.
LF: What inspires you while working?
BB: I think it is important to always have something new. A new shape, new colours or a new pattern. The black, white, gold, silver an animal patterned pots are very popular so I try to intergrate with seasonal and holiday themes into these as well. The creating process is so interesting, because you can only see the definitive colours after it is fully-dried.
LF: Where can people find you creations?
BB: Beton Botanika is a novice enterprise, so people can not find them in stores. I always take my creations to Bödön Piac in Szeged, which takes place on every second Sunday of the month in Szeged Pláza. I have a Facebook and an Instagram accounts, so I can take online orders that I take to my customers or post them. I’ll try to show up on other fairs in this region or maybe in Budapest too.
LF: What are your plans for the future?
BB: I’ll try to pass my creations on to more people, so they would know that concrete can not only be used for achitecture but for decoration to an office, a living room or children’s room. The forms and patterns are varied, anyone can find something they like. I also think that because we can not spend that much time in the environment, we could at least try to surround ourselves with plants. On one hand, they are very pretty to look at and on the other hand, they can make us think. These succulents may need less caring than other indoor plants because they store water in their fleshy leaves. With the animal patterned pots we can show our children how to live in harmony with nature inside our apartment. Jewelry like clothing is a form of self-expression, many people like to play with accesories. If somebody wants a simple but unique jewelry, it takes a lot of time to find the right one. Concrete as jewelry material has a lot of possibilities itself, but I couldn’t create half the things I planned yet. You can always play with forms, material and colours. The purpose is not to think only of greyness associated with, but to be brave enough to wear astounding things.
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