For more than 30 years, Henri Studio of Wauconda, Illinois, has designed, produced, and shipped outdoor fountains, statuary, and garden décor products. The business was started by the late Eneri Prosperi, who immigrated from Bagni di Lucca, a small picturesque village in Tuscany, Italy. Tuscany is known for its olive oil, wines and romanticized scenery; the cultural heart of Italy. For centuries it has been a nurturing center for the arts, attracting talented painters, sculptors and artisan.
Today, Henri Studio is the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of premium cast stone garden décor products. Henri Studio is acclaimed worldwide for their original, internationally copyrighted designs. Sculpted, molded, hand-poured, and hand-painted, each Henri creation reflects the premium quality of genuine craftsmanship that comes from three generations of an Italian family.
So what is cast stone? Cast stone is essentially man-made limestone. It is made from fine crushed natural stone, natural sand, Portland cement, mineral oxide color pigments, chemical admixtures, and water. Usually there is low water-to-cement ratio. which allows it to consolidated without air pockets by tamping or vibration for strength and durability. The color pigments allow cast stone to be available in virtually any color from core to surface that will replicate the appearance of natural stones including limestone, granite, travertine, or marble. Properly produced, cast stone has the same or stronger physical properties as most shaped natural stones.
Used to produce an outdoor fountain or statue, cast stone replicates the natural stone as a fraction of the cost. However, to create an object of enduring beauty, an extraordinary degree of craftsmanship is required. Firstly, the model for use as a mold pattern must be crafted. Henri Studio has hundreds of original designs to which they still add each year. Fountains range in style from simple 2-piece, 30″ tall accent pieces to towering bowls topped by ornamental figures all placed in a water pool. Yet each fountain or statuary piece must have a pattern to create its mold.
The mold gives the shape to the casting material (cast stone), and it can be made from almost any material. The most common mold material are wood, plaster, fiberglass and rubber. Other materials used are clay, gelatin, gypsum, Styrofoam, plastic, concrete and, one of the earliest casting mediums, sand. Many advances have been made in rubber which have provided some very durable polyurethane and polysulfide which are suitable for not only casting final products, but for obtaining impressions of existing and historical work as well. The mold maker knows which material to select for a given application and exactly how to use it.
After casting each piece, the artist completes the look. Henri Studio offers a large selection of paint and stain finishes. A select number of items are available in the Henri Hi-Tone finish that incorporates subtle tonal highlighting of various hues applied discretely and blended to a perfect overall effect in vibrant but tasteful fashion. Penetrating, sealer-type paints are used that are designed to resist weathering for many years. In time, the clear luster may fade, but it can be revived with a light coat of Henri Sealer Spray.
Installation of a fountain or statue is easy. The base pedestal must be set in a firm, level position. This is essential for overall stability as well as the even flow of water. In most cases, firm level ground is all that is required. Optionally, concrete patio block may be used or a permanent concrete pad may be poured. No plumbing line is needed since Henri fountains employ submersible recirculating pumps. You will need a properly grounded 120 volt AC GFCI protected receptacle near the fountain site. Your fountain site should also be accessible with a garden hose for replenishing.