Everyone wants a great-looking aquascape and these bespoke ceramic pieces by British artist Colin Denovan certainly caught my eye. He’s been doing stuff with art and ceramics for over twenty years but started creating his own aquarium pieces and now commissions, only recently. His original inspiration came from the German ceramic aquascapes he found online but with price and availability proving prohibitive he decided to make his own.
A couple of years on and he now has a purpose-built studio, a website, and a steadily growing waiting list of hobbyists wanting his new company R&R Aquascapes to build them their own very individual piece of the ocean.
The aquascapes are handmade from a custom ceramic that he says he tweaked and ICP tested for over 12 months before letting any go to other reefers. Every piece is a one-off, the design is born from sketches or pictures provided by the client and Colin does the rest. Tell him the dimensions of your tank, give him an idea of what you want, and a few weeks later its been realized and is sitting on your tank.
No molds are used and the only way to get two similar creations is to commission him to create another like the first one. But even that won’t be an exact replica. One client even asked him to create a single-piece scape that looked like it was made from a pile of Stax rocks. And he obliged.
So far he has produced pieces for everything from a 12” tank to 12 feet and was even asked to produce a 40’ structure for an aquarium in Dubai, but other commitments prevented it. With the potential to have the whole hardscape handmade from a single piece I was glad to see the British reefkeeping fraternity choosing some very open, gravity-defying designs, many with just one small base touching the bottom of the tank.
A reefkeeper himself he definitely has an eye for rocky creations, effortlessly embracing the rule of two-thirds and negative space while at the same time making it easy to imagine each scape covered in your choice of corals. There are some brilliant reefkeepers out there but not everyone has the eye or hand skills to create their hardscape vision themselves, from a propriety blend of shop-bought rocks, plates, and branches.
R&R Aquascapes continues to refine the texture and realism of the ceramic to look like natural rock. One thing he won’t do, however (and trust me I asked,) is purple ceramic as he says dyes, paints, and pigments negatively affect porosity. But natural purpling will come to those who have the patience.