first_imgJuly 6, 2003CERAMICS BELL PRODUCTION: The Ceramics Studio at Arcosanti together with the Bronze Foundry is responsible for the income producing craft work that helps fund the ongoing construction at this prototype arcology. The large kiln in the Ceramics facility has completed a firing cycle. Ceramics manager Ed Werman opens the heavy door. This is a moment of suspense. How many bells and pots have made it through the firing without a crack. [Photo & text: sa] A beautifully carved selection of pieces. [Photo & text: sa] One of the methods of starting a ceramic bell or pot is in plaster molds. A selection of molds are custom made for the various shapes desired. [Photo & text: sa] Slip is poured into each cavity. Ceramicist Larry Meager. [Photo & text: sa] The plaster acts like a sponge drawing out the water molecules from the slip. The clay molecules are too large to pass through the plaster so they get deposited along the inside walls of the plaster molds. As this process continues a clay shell begins to form inside the mold which increases over time. When the ceramicist decides that the thickness of the shell is correct for that particular style, a suction device is used to extract the remaining liquid slip from the center of the mold leaving the shell behind. This shell is the bell or pot in its early stage of production. [Photo & text: sa] The second method is the use of a silt bed. Silt is sifted to a fine consistency and packed evenly into the concrete bed. The shape of the desired bell is pressed into the silt. Each cavity is filled with slip which again is allowed to form a shell to its desired thickness. [Photo & text: sa] This bell was shaped in a plaster mold. It has dried to the right consistency and is now carved. [Photo & text: sa] Ceramics assistant manager Bernadette O’Neill dips some of the bells in glaze. A beautiful selection of ceramic bells can be found in the gallery at Arcosanti and Cosanti, as well as in many fine galleries all over the country. [Photo & text: sa]last_img read more

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