"Beacon Stele" by Clayton Thiel
Beacon: something that warns or guides. Stele: An upright stone or slab
with an inscribed or sculptured surface, used as an ornament or as a
The first concern in designing "Beacon Stele" was the abstraction of the form
of a bell (the long, narrow black shape that swings in the center). Its
purpose is symbolic of announcement or warning. The shape of the bell was
inspired by bronze bells made during the Chow Dynasty in China. The bells
were rung to announce prayer time in Buddhist monasteries and shrines.
The contures of the base, posts, and lental that surround the bell evolved
out of my inclination to hand build clay sculpture using the dome as a basic
unifying element, changing the sizes, colors, and textures of the shapes for
variety. The various dome shapes were made separately then stacked like
sleeves over an armature of steel tubing lodged in cement concealed in the
hollow base. The armature prevents the pieces from getting knocked over.
The colors of ceramic glaze are weather durable and never fade because they
are fired on the clay at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, this sculpture
is suitable for outdoor display.
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