The Birth of Three-Ton Tally

Emerging from the creative founders of RAT (Rock Carvers, Artists and Themebuilders), Thom Hunt and Mark Whitten, Tally began to hatch in the backyard of San Antonian Kirby Whitehead more than a week ago. Volunteers showed up to work on her every day beginning about 5 a.m., according to logistical coordinator Wes Vollmer.

A spinal cord of 6-inch steel spread out into a network of 3-inch and 2-inch steel welded together. Then rebar was shaped and welded to flush out her massive shape even more. A web of SpiderLath fiberglass over this provided the base for the first shot of concrete.

Today, volunteers and workshop participants – Theming in Large Scale – are putting finishing touches on her in the middle of an exhibit hall at the Convention Center as part of the Concrete Decor Show. Whitten was carving Tally’s scales this morning out of a softer outer layer of concrete, while Julia Dworchack was polishing her teeth. The first blush of color has been applied to her cheeks.

With a spiky “sail” running along her spine and weapon-like talons on her front “arms,” the life-size carnivorous Acrocanthosaurus is beginning to look ferocious. And she’s substantial. Measuring almost 30 feet from her snout to the tip of her tail, she now weighs in at about three tons – three tons Vollmer is going to have to move to the south side of the Witte Museum, where she will appear poised to relentlessly pursue some peaceful, vegetable-loving sauropod grazing in Brackenridge Park. 

This large gift the concrete artisans are leaving behind them after their convention is in addition to the sidewalk patterns, faux-crete fountain and 5,000 square feet of concrete cosmetology they have completed at SAY Si (covered in an earlier post).

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Meet here again, and I’d be happy to let you conduct a workshop – Concrete Challenges: Can this floor be saved? – in our loft.

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