Inspiration for my pottery: ocean critters on a Hawaii night dive

As reported to you by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist at Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL USA

How could a night dive possibly provide inspiration for my ceramic creations at Beachfront Pottery?  Well, it takes a little explanation, so read on!

Let’s start with the night diving part.  Would you pay$200 for an hour of scuba diving where you’re in pitch black ocean, tethered to drifting boat, and the bottom is almost a mile down?  Most of us would say: “Are you crazy?”.  But some dedicated, and I might add, super curious diving fanatics do just that.  There’s a decent size night-dive industry at popular diving locales, and the one in the article below just happens to be off of Kailua Kona of Hawaii’s Big Island.

This recent report on CNN showcases the technology, the adventure, and the stunning creatures of blackwater diving.


Underwater ‘Star Trek’: Blackwater diving

“It’s really startling when you’ve been looking at things the size of your fingernail, and you look up to suddenly see something that looks like a 30-foot jellyfish!” She goes on to explain why we need a parachute for a scuba dive — and it has nothing to do with the fact that the seafloor will be 5,000 feet beneath us.

Click through the collection of images located at the start of the CNN article, and you’ll see a surprising variety of shapes, colors, and color combination on these tiny ocean critters.  Like the swirling luminescent shape of a worm, or those orange/yellow dots on that squid closeup, or the pastel hues of purple contrasted with the glowing green of the eyes on a smaller squid, or the incredible details of the internal body structures of the (flounder-like) fish larva.  These pictures impress on my eyes and mind to give me inspiration and ideas of future Beachfront Pottery pieces.  But besides the inspirational powers of the visible, there’s even a bigger influence on me that comes from the invisible.

What is super amazing to me is that we, just like the night divers, easily acknowledge that the critters that we don’t see during the day dive, we can observe on a night dive.  But think about this:  what we see on a night dive is what we see within the 50-feet range of the underwater lights.  The ocean was 5000 feet deep at the dive site, so 90% of the critters in the night ocean remain hidden.  And we never know what’s lurking beyond the lights; there could be a very beautiful mass of freshly hatched coral polyps, or a 500 feet long giant squid!  Sometimes, in my creative process, I’m overtaken by the vexing possibility of the unseen, and pieces in my “Out of the Deep” series depict the emergence of just such a hitherto unseen creature.

Robert Kokenyesi: "Out of the Deep, II"
Robert Kokenyesi: “Out of the Deep, II”


This piece is showing a whale-like creature emerging from the blue ocean, and we have no clue if it’s friendly or aggressive, hungry or full, ignorant or inquisitive.  Mystery is abound in the oceans.






Out of the Deep, I by Robert Kokenyesi
Out of the Deep, I by Robert Kokenyesi


In this piece the emerging creature is still well hidden; you might make out the head just under the white triangle on the top left.  I don’t know what the creature is, and I don’t know its intentions.  Yet another mystery existing unseen to our limited visual range in the oceans.











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