Q: What are the fish made of?
A: The fish are made of stoneware clay (ceramic) that is fired to maturity at 2,200 degrees f. The color that you see is the glaze that has been added before the final firing. A 'glaze' is almost all silica (glass) with pigments and metals added for color and other qualities. So the final product is a durable and lasting ceramic fish that has the qualities of stone with a glass coating. -We also offer fish made of brushed stainless steel. Chromium is added to the steel during its production to create 'chrome steel' know for its stability and weather resistance. The 'brushing' gives the finished fish a nice texture.
Q: Can the fish stay outside?
A: The fish can stay outside year round, even in cold climates. Stoneware clay that has been fired to maturity is 100% stable and inert, it does not absorb water or change with heating and cooling. It takes on the quality of a stone. The design of the fish sheds water. There is no place for water to accumulate, freeze and expand. Most people bring their fish inside during the winter because they look just as good inside the home as they do outside. - The only threat to the ceramic fish is a direct impact from a heavy object. If your gardens are likely to have a soccer or baseball fly through it, you should consider the stainless steel fish instead.
Q: How are the fish made?
A: I, Tyson Weiss, made every one of the Raku fired ceramic fish in my Falmouth, Maine studio, by my own two hands. Every fish starts as a slab of stoneware clay and is created in stages over a 2-4 day period. Specific steps have to be done when the clay is at very specific stages of its drying. Once I feel the fish has the form I want it to, it dries over 3-5 days and is then raku fired to 1,888 F degrees. The new garden trout and koi are made using a slip-casting technique. The average length of time from start to finnish is 14 days. - The steel fish are of my design and made to my specifications by a nice couple in Southern Maine.
Q: What kind of fish do you make?
At this time the scientific community recognizes 28,000 different species of fish. Of those I offer:
Koi, a member of the asian carp family that was domesticated 200 years ago and has since been bred into a number of very distinct and colorful varieties. Most people think they are big goldfish. Every batch of Koi I make is different and I will update the online catalog as they become available.
Striped Bass also known as a 'striper' is an East coast favorite, spends most of its life in the coastal Atlantic, moving seasonally between the New England states to breed during the summer, and then wintering off the Southern Atlantic States. Striped bass is a fishermans favorite, great table fare and a beautiful fish. Females can approach 5' in length and 80lbs in weight. I make many interpretations of this fish. In form I always strive to make the fish true to life, but with the color, I try to offer some true to life and then give others a more creative twist.
Salmon and Trout Salmon and Trout are very closely related and often have a very similar form among all the different species. For true to life fish, I offer the Brook Trout, Brown Trout, and Sockeye Salmon in its bright breeding colors. I also make the Trout and Salmon form in a number of beautiful colors to make them stand out in the better in the garden and home. The color blue and its variations, is very rare in the garden. Here in Maine there are about 5 different blue flowers, 4 of which only have a 7-10 day blooming window. I am always offering blue fish so the color is available year round in the garden palate. Blue also works in many home interiors.