February 23rd, 2021 Newsletter

February 23rd, 2021 Newsletter

Our Latest Artisanti E-Newsletter
The E-Newsletter of Cosanti Originals
Artful, One-of-a-Kind Handmade Gifts

February 23, 2021 Volume 4
Photo Credit: Logan Glennie
Custom Cosanti
Making a Cosanti Collector's Dream into Reality
Long-time Cosanti bell collector, Bruce N, approached Cosanti in the fall of 2019 with a concept for a custom sculptural bell mobile that would become a focal point of the home in southern Arizona that he was remodeling. Bruce didn’t know exactly what he wanted the large piece to look like, but he knew that he wanted to see if the bronze artisans at Cosanti Originals could incorporate a heavy antique chain that had once held a ship’s anchor.

Bruce was paired with two bronze artisans who have done quite a bit of custom work for private bell collectors throughout the Valley. With almost 20 years at Cosanti Originals between them, Jeff Hildebrandt and Chris Hardy were excited by the challenge of creating a large custom sculptural bell mobile that would be hung from the eaves of Bruce’s Arizona home.

Part sculpture, part suspended mobile, and part windbell, Sculptural Bell Mobiles are unique pieces that are challenging to create. Often large, they make an impactful artistic statement. Chris met with Bruce to get a sense of Bruce’s tastes, the space the piece would occupy in the remodel, and to look at the different elements that factor into the designs of many of the Sculptural Bell Mobiles at Cosanti Originals. They settled on a concept that would feature three cause bells. Says Jeff, “We were excited to get started; the creative concepting went so smoothly and the project seemed fairly straightforward from an artisan point of view.”
But then, Bruce introduced them to the anchor chain. In Chris’ words, “OMG”. The chain was huge, with 29 links, each one measuring almost four inches long! It required incredible effort from all three of them just to lift it! Their “fairly straightforward” design plan sunk like a boat anchor right then and there.

Knowing how necessity is the mother of invention, Chris, feeling discouraged but not defeated, fell back on his experiences observing architect and artist Paolo Soleri working with master craftsman Abel Alday.

Chris recalls, “I was a sponge in those days, listening to their every conversation about materials, techniques, and aesthetic choices. Every moment I stood next to Paolo and Abel represented years of classroom work in art school.”
And so, those early years of Chris’ apprenticeship came to fruition when he began crafting Bruce’s custom sculptural bell mobile around the focal point of his anchor chain. After first determining the challenging engineering needs, Jeff and Chris created the design for a bracket that could be affixed to the eaves of Bruce’s house and bear all the weight of the sculptural bell mobile.

It was carved in Styrofoam™ and cast into bronze. The tricky part was balancing the bells (also very weighty) while hanging the many heavy chains from various positions on the structure. Chris’s engineering expertise and practical design decisions influenced the form that the piece itself ultimately realized. 
Bruce fell for his finished piece, hook, line, and sinker – and enjoys telling friends and guests the interesting story behind the unique suspended sculpture. Says Bruce, “It was an unforgettable experience, being in the company of two talented artists who wanted to help bring my vision to life through art.”

Have a Design Idea for a Custom Cosanti Piece of Your Own?

From a custom-designed ceramic tile backsplash to a sculptural bell mobile like Bruce's, the talented artisans at Cosanti Originals can collaborate with you to bring your unique ideas to life.

Contact us here to learn more about collaborating with Cosanti Originals on a custom project idea. We've worked with private collectors, businesses, and civic and cultural organizations. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you!
Photo Credit: Bruce N, Chris H, Jeff H
To Thine Own Shelf Be True
Back in Print and With New Content, Cosanti Tells Our Story

Hot off the presses, a brand-new edition of Cosanti: Where the World-Renowned Cosanti Originals Windbells are Made is here and available for purchase online and in our galleries!

Featuring new imagery, facts, and insights about Cosanti and Cosanti Originals, you'll enjoy reading about the architecture, history, and 65-year-old bell-making tradition of Cosanti.

Proceeds from the sale of this book support the nonprofit Cosanti Foundation. Since 1965, The Cosanti Foundation has been dedicated to influencing the way the built world is created in balance with the natural world. Through the experimental architecture at Cosanti and Arcosanti, The Cosanti Foundation explores a different way of living, building, and working.