Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ceramic Windbell

I used to bring my sons a gift, something unique to the area, when I returned from being away; tonight Craig brought me one.  He brought me this ceramic windchime when he was at a conference in Phoenix recently.  These bells are designed by Paolo Soleri, embellished by artisans at  Arcosanti, which is an experimental town in the desert of Arizona, built to embody Paolo Soleri's concept of arcology - the fusion of architecture with ecology.  This is a new concept to me!
The clay is excavated from hills nearby and cast in silt molds (molds of fine riverbed sediment).  This method of casting was developed from Soleri's original approach of simply digging holes in the desert and casting the slip.  Clay mixed with water (slip) is poured into molds that slowly absorb the water as the bell dries. 
Silt cast bells take with them a little of the silt, which adds uique colour and texture.  The bells are hand carved with a design while still damp.  When completely dry they are fired in a kiln. 
Proceeds from the worldwide sales of these bells are a major source of funding for the construction efforts at Arcosanti. 
It has a pretty sound when the wind hits the windcatcher.  I have to pick up a hook and some additional chain to hang it on my patio tomorrow.   I am delighted with it.

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