Arcosanti is an alternative architectural structure slowly transforming into a community created in the early 1970s and continues to develop today.
However, Cosanti, the division focused on handcrafted artistry for the home began earlier. Now on site at Arcosanti, there are a variety of workshops and classes for artists continually producing that classic cosanti art style – this style is unique to the community and they utilize their kiln in creating decorative ceramics such as the Soleri wind chimes, tiles and pottery in an industrial style.
Many of the home decorations are made from clay and metal marked with what some may call “alien-like” symbols with a patina or burnished finish. The symbols resemble bits and pieces of the original design blueprints for the large architectural habitat.
The burnished bells are highly polished with a protective coating. Once they are cast, they are brushed clean leaving the bright color of the bronze alloy. To initiate the oxidation process and create the green patina, the patina bells are dipped in a dilute acid solution because it would take many years to create the same effect in a climate with low humidity in the Sonoran Desert. However, the patina will change and develop overtime if brought into a different climate.
The ceramics studio was built in 1958, the ceramic bells are excavated from clay found 40 miles east of Phoenix. The clay is mixed with water in the drums to produce a “slip,” and is then poured into plaster molds or free form molds carved into the earth. After the clay has hardened, the slip is removed, the bells dry and the unique designs are then carved into the “leather hard” outside the surface of the bell before being fired in the kiln.
The entire studio itself is a work of art. It was cast as a single unit directly onto a shaped pile of earth. The studio was worked by hand and carved into the earth using a steel trowel and kitchen knife. The entire surface was then covered in concrete. Since this time, the workshop areas have expanded and spread throughout the Arcosanti site.
The bells and ceramics are distinctly memorable with a industrial and rustic style uniquely original.