Csaba Ferenczi, a nature diver from Debrecen, shapes animal species and dinosaurs that once lived out of ceramics. Speaking of which, we talked to him about this strange hobby.
Why primitive animals, and how did the interest in them come about?
At that time, I saw the first little drawings about dinosaurs with my grandparents in the editions of the Új Magyar Lexikon, when I was in elementary school. I was immediately captivated by the rich form and mythic nature of these prehistoric creatures. Then came the movie Jurassic Park, I don’t have to explain the rest. Since then, I have enjoyed reading the news and publications about them. And in my spare time, I like to make clay, which for me means shaping the living world and primitive creatures. It’s fantastic to be able to “make dinosaurs” from a piece of raw clay in a matter of hours, and it doesn’t even require dino DNA.
Do your creations have a specific purpose?
On the one hand, the process leading up to the completion of the figurines is also an exciting journey. Starting with planning, shaping, and painting, each work phase is a relaxation for me, which is equivalent to a great meditation. At such times, I don’t deal with worldly things, I just focus on creating. On the other hand, within the foreseeable future, I would like to organize a small informative paleontological exhibition of various creative, handcrafted works related to dinosaurs. I am thinking here, among other things, of my 87-year-old grandmother, Sándorné Sándorné Sárközi’s wonderful lace tablecloths depicting primitive creatures, which really have great artistic value and uniqueness. I have a few more of these special tablecloths on my wishlist that would look fantastic next to the animal figure. It is a great pleasure for me that with the crocheted “lace dinosaurs” my grandmother also contributes to the material of the collection and enriches the diversity of the future exhibition, with which my goal will be to spread knowledge and wonder about the mysterious world of primitive creatures.
Are people still curious about dinosaurs?
Although, in the opinion of some, paleontology is an extinct and unnecessary science, the various exhibitions and films about primitive creatures attract a lot of people around the world, not only children but also adults. There is no question that this topic has a right to exist, mentioned as an interesting fact and even compared to the presentation of life forms that live today – I am thinking here, for example, of the tufted fin fish as a living fossil.
Do you have a favorite among the figures you have modeled?
The woolly mammoth is dearest to my heart, but I think the Tyrannosaurus and the saber-toothed tiger are also great.
Which one was the hardest to make?
None of them were easy, but “wooling” the mammoth really required a lot of patience. Wet clay usually doesn’t behave the way I want it to. It dries quickly, cracks and the figures’ heads often come off their necks, which must be supported until they dry. Since I didn’t study anywhere, I figured out on my own how to make more and more shapely figures.
What is worth knowing about Hungarian fossils? Have you ever been to the excavations in Iharkút?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get there yet, although I really want to. The finds of many important prehistoric animals were found there, which could only be found here in Europe, and even in the world. Examples include the remains of the only freshwater mosasaur species, Pannoniasaurus, or the flying reptile called Bakony Draco. Of course, I would like to “interpret” with a real paleontologist, the leader of the excavations, dr. Also with Attila the Elder about some questions, who is a real expert in paleontology.
What does your wife think about this strange hobby?
Thank God, we support each other in everything and can count on each other, and it is no different when it comes to our hobbies.
What is your favorite dinosaur movie?
For me, it is clear that Jurassic Park, which was made with the film techniques of the time, easily holds its place together with the new series. In terms of documentaries and informational films, naturalist Nigel Marven’s series Primitive Adventure, in which he travels back in time to rescue and bring extinct dinosaurs and prehistoric animals to a reserve to the present.
Translated form Szabolcs Szilágyi’s article at the Debreceni Nap page.