February 25, 2016

A Visit with Faux-Bois Artist, Carlos Cortes

Many of you know I am a big fan of early-20th-century concrete faux-bois furniture, and have a rather large collection of pieces - many of which are at Skylands, my home on Mt. Desert island in Maine.

One of those pieces is a 1200-pound dining table located in my living hall. The tabletop and the four bench tops are made of wood-grained cement. It was made by a third-generation faux-bois artist named Carlos Cortes from San Antonio, Texas.

To make his sculptures and furniture pieces, Carlos creates a wire form, covers it in welded hardware cloth, and then casts the base in a combination of concrete sand and Portland cement before pouring a top layer of cement to hold the faux-bois finishing design - realistic faux-bois patterns of tree rings and knots.

I've known Carlos for many years now. He is a true master craftsman, who learned many of his skills from his father and great uncle. I featured him in my Living magazine and on my television show. Watch this field piece I did on his wonderful work.

During a recent business trip to San Antonio, I stopped to visit Carlos, and to see what he was working on at his studio. Enjoy these photos…