I received the 2023 Arizona Commission on the Arts Research and Development Grant to, yes, research and develop my idea of transforming my “Askew” series of paintings (see “Askew” gallery) into sculpture. Having virtually never done any 3-d work, or even paid as much attention to sculpture in galleries and museums, or public art for that matter, I’m starting from scratch.

While experimenting with materials and processes in my studio, I will also be visiting various sculptors to talk about their work and pick their brains. And of course I’ll also be seeking out shows and galleries that exhibit sculpture (and installation) for ideas.

Several weeks ago, I went with a group to visit Cosanti Foundation in Paradise Valley. This place and it’s companion Arcosanti, north of here, were the brainchild of Paolo Soleri. Soleri was a visionary architect who built his “utopian city of the future”, calling his concept “archology”. Arcosanti remains a work-in-progress.

Soleri died in 2013. Recent allegations of abuse by his daughter have tarnished his name and fame. Bringing up the perennial question of at what point can one separate the artist from his misdoings or is there a point of no return? I haven’t made a judgement on this specific situation at this point—and didn’t know about the allegations before the visit to Cosanti.

At any rate, while I knew that bronze casting wasn’t going to be something of interest for my project, still, it was informative to observe the process, see how many people were involved and the amount of equipment required. And all they were making were small versions of the famed Cosanti wind bells (wind chimes). No wonder they’re so expensive.


A lot of standing around going on, waiting for the metal to melt in the kiln. At the bottom of the photo are the molds. If you look closely at the background you can see some of the bells hanging on the wall.


Poking around in the kiln. He’s clearing out the leftover metal from previous firings.


A closer view of a chunk he’s pulled out. I wonder if these bits and pieces get re-melted together for future use?


Imagine how heavy and potentially dangerous this is, as they carry the molten metal to the molds.


Starting to tip the bucket over to pour into the mold. When I think about how tricky it is to pour paint from one container into another, I’m in awe of their skill in directing a stream of metal into the small opening in the mold!


Pouring! Look closely in front of the pour and you can see the glowing metal in the molds.


When all the molds are filled, the waiting begins. Once cooled, the molds are broken open for the big reveal.

Hope you enjoyed seeing this process. I enjoyed the experience but couldn’t help thinking how many people were involved even to produce such relatively small objects…Definitely not going to become part of my new skill set!