In the next weeks we plan to introduce each department at Arcosanti with a photo of the present crew.

Here we have the crew of the Ceramics Studio at Arcosanti.

from left:
Colleen Connery,
Linda Fournier makes all of the tiles,
Aimee Marcinko,
Manager Erin O’Loughlin

[photo and text by Sue Kirsch]

The beautiful Ceramics Studio is in an open, south-facing apse.  This passive solar environment enables the artists to work in the sunshine during winter and be shaded during summer.

The Ceramics Studio is a stop on the Arcosanti Site Tour and you are likely to see a clay pour happening or crafts people carving one of a kind designs into each bell.  Our Ceramic Studio produces about 5,000 tile pieces a year and about 10,000 Windbells and pots.

Clay from Globe, Arizona is mixed with water to make slip, which is poured into either earthen or plaster molds. After the slip develops a wall thickness the excess slip is drawn out and later the bell is removed from the mold. One of a kind designs are carved into the bell while the clay is still partially damp. Once dry, the bells are fired in the kiln and assembled. Ceramic Windbells are also produced at the Cosanti Ceramic Studios. 

These pieces are sold in the Arcosanti Gallery, the Cosanti Gallery, and are available online.

1.    SILTCAST WINDBELLS: Siltcast Windbells are crafted much in the same way as Soleri’s Siltcast buildings. Bell shapes and one-of-a-kind designs impressed into a bed of sifted, damp silt are transferred to the bell using a slip casting method. The resulting bells, further enhanced with carving, have rough textures and variable color patterns.

2.    PLASTER-CAST WINDBELLS/PLANTERS: Plaster cast bells have a smoother texture and do not have impressions as the silt bells do, but have a broader surface for complex and rich carvings.

3.    ARCOSANTI TILES AND SWITCH PLATES: The same Arizona clay is screened and dried to a clay texture that can be processed with a pug mill and rolled flat. Tiles and switch plates of various dimensions are cut from this slab and hand-impressed with one-of-a-kind designs. Tiles are often glazed to add color and durability for household use.

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