2019 Concrete Decor Show Returns to Texas

Chris Sullivan of ChemSystems Inc. addresses the crowd during one of the many product demonstrations at the show.
Chris Sullivan of ChemSystems Inc. addresses the crowd during one of the many product demonstrations at the show.

The atmosphere was inviting and the modest but eager crowd engaged at the 2019 Concrete Decor Show in Arlington, Texas, Oct. 28-31. Many of those who attended reported it was a great time to reconnect with old friends, establish new contacts, discover products and tools, and witness some of the industry’s elite — such as Troy Lemon, Emil Gera, Rick Lobdell, Cindee Lundin and Jake Brady — lead workshops on the convention floor.

Cindee's final piece, a bird bath, was donated to a charity at the close of the show. Cindee Lundin leads a workshop where she and show participants make a bird bath that incorporates the art of faux bois, which is French for false wood. Carrla Leszcynski says she was truly inspired by the experience and learned a lot from all the courses offered at the show.

“I reaped so much value taking the time to be here,” says Brian ­Farnsworth, general manager of Cement Colors in Fort Worth, who exhibited, led a ­seminar and helped with product demon­strations. “It was a great show. I met a lot of interesting people and I got 100% out of the show that I had hoped for.”

A Bon Tool rep explains a tool to visitors. Artisan Jake Brady explains the benefits of his GFRC mix

He says he especially liked the ongoing demonstrations held at a variety of locations on the convention floor that featured installation of products that were on display during the show. Attendees didn’t get swallowed up by a huge crowd, could see the products in action and ask questions that got answered on the spot.

Positive vibes
Randy Smith of Texas Polished Concrete in N. Richland Hills came to the show to protect his livelihood. “I don’t want the industry to cheapen our trade,” he says. “We have a right to make a profit, to deliver good work for a good price.”

Covestro hosted a by-invitation coatings presentation that included a seminar led by Steven Reinstadtler in a classroom setting followed by demonstrations on the topics covered in the convention hall. The product demonstrations were open to all.
Covestro hosted a by-invitation coatings presentation that included a seminar led by Steven Reinstadtler in a classroom setting followed by demonstrations on the topics covered in the convention hall.

Smith attended Covestro’s invitation-only coatings seminar which he says was an enlightening experience that was very informing.

“I learned about options I could suggest instead of polishing,” he says, including the benefits of polyaspartic and penetrating sealers. Turns out, he continues, “Polishing isn’t always the best solution for large warehouse floors.”

“She had a very original take on what can be done with concrete as an art form and elevated my understanding about how versatile concrete can really be in the aftermarket,” Lesczynski says. “She went over the entire production pipeline,” and also covered marketing and product  recommendations.

 

.Covestro product applied to a a slap of concrete as Steven Reinstadtler explains the benefits of their products.

Carrla Leszcynski, the GFRC concrete lead for Gametime|Playworx, a company in San Marcos, Texas, that specializes in playgrounds, attended the show to get pointers on how to better carve and color sculptures for her projects. The show didn’t disappoint. She says she “walked away completely inspired” from the time she spent with Lundin of The Studio by Cindee Lundin in Marana, Arizona, who led a faux bois workshop.

“I would definitely recommend her very hands-on class to beginners all the way up to advanced concrete sculptors,” Lesczynski says.

Attending the Concrete Decor Show for the first time two years ago in Florida, Steve Seipelt of Amended Surfaces in Cincinnati (at right below) made the trek to this one in Texas. The soon-to-be retired firefighter worked alongside Lemon of Cornerstone Decorative Concrete in Holland, Michigan, and Gera of Emil J. Gera Concrete (below at left) in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, sculpting and coloring vertical concrete. “My favorite part (of the Concrete Decor Show) is being able to dive into the projects and do hands-on work. This is how you really learn.”

Brian Farnsworth of Cement Colors answers a question about a product.
Brian Farnsworth of Cement Colors answers a question about a product while conducting demonstrations
Troy Lemon mugs for the camera while Emil Gera and a workshop participant toil away.
Troy Lemon mugs for the camera while Emil Gera and a workshop participant toil away.

Seipelt says he was disappointed that there were so few hands-on workshops and no outdoor exhibits or demonstrations this year. Still, he says, “I picked up more tips and tricks from the artisans that I worked with. The more time you spend with them, the more they open up to you and are willing to share.”

Lobdell of Concrete Mystique in Nashville and Debbie Ohland of Engrave-A-Crete in Mansfield, Missouri, led a workshop on engraving and stencils to show attendees how an ordinary piece of concrete could be transformed into an enticing work of art by using stencils, engraving tools and dyes.

Debbie Ohland and Rick Lobdell used Engrave-A-Krete tools and SurfKoat dyes to bring this engraving to life.

In another workshop, Brady of Jake Brady Concrete by Design in Sarasota, Florida, enlisted some attendees to help create a seamless 10-foot bench out of CTS RapidSet Cement and glass fibers. The massive GFRC unit was cast and demolded in the same day. The bench’s distressed yet slick finish was created with purposely over-plasticized concrete lightly sanded and then a high-gloss sealer was applied. As a finishing touch, it was accented with stains from the nearby vertical workshop’s supplies.

Aside from the workshops in the convention center and classes held nearby in the Sheraton Arlington, the Concrete Decor Show featured an evening preview and two days of exhibits where attendees could learn about products just released or well established, as well as see many of them in action.

. Jake Brady puts a gloss sealer on his completed bench as part of the 2019 Concrete Decor Show education.

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