Monday, May 14, 2012

The Good Earth

There are several wetlands in the valleys surrounding my family's hill. When I was younger I spent a lot of time in the spring and summer in these boggy areas watching dragonflies, catching water beetles and tadpoles, and generally trying to figure out how much of the ecosystem it was possible to transplant to my bedroom. 

Besides giant carnivorous water-bugs, the swamps were also full of blue clay that lay just below the surface of moss and leaves. I would sometimes dig this up, form it into pots and fire it, much like I've heard the indians who lived here hundreds of years ago did (although it wasn't until I learned how they did it that it actually started to work without the pots shattering into thousands of pieces or turning back into innocuous blobs). 

A couple days ago, two friends, Eric and Maria, came out to the hill. Eric is a master ceramist. He's also a fan of working with local materials and using available tools to make art (I can't remember if there's a name for this school of thought, but there probably is).

So it was back down to the wetland that is below the forest that is below our house to dig up clay, sort it, carry it back, kneed it, dry it, mix it and form it. While this was basically the process I had used when I was younger, doing it with someone who actually knew what they were doing––let alone a professional––was a completely new experience. Below are some photos from the day:

If you would like to see some of Eric's work, check out his Amazon page.

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