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10. Clutha River Sand

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Based on 'Rock glazes of NZ'

Minna Bondy

Sample 93. Clutha River Sand

Abundant Quartz, considerably less common feldspar, occasional grains of chlorite and epidote, minor zircon. Almost certainly derived from schist.

In the Summer of 2019, I cycled Clutha Gold and Roxborough Gorge cycle trail to Alexandra. I'm pretty fond of the Clutha river as I spent a lot of time weaving along beside it. When I first moved to my studio the first audiobook I listened to while potting was the Luminaries, and the first few kiln loads of pots were thrown to this playing in the background.

This cycle trip was dispersed with the story of the early goldfields and the people that migrated to New Zealand, including my own family who sailed into Port Chalmers in the 1870s. On the cycle trip, I met a guy who has one of the largest collections of early Chinese ceramics collected from the goldfields in Central Otago. I saw some of the collection in his store in Clyde. It seems most of the pots were bought from China, old ginger jars and storage vessels. I didn't find any reference in the area to ceramic production, though I'm sure it must have existed.

Having objects that derive from a significant place is important to me. Returning now to gather the sand for glaze ingredients feels like I'm completing a journey, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the results of this glaze which is described as a shiny medium green in Bondy's book. If only they resembled the brilliant blues of the Clutha and those Chinese ginger jars.

I really loved the finish of this glaze test A10. (left sample). A rich glossy olive green with a brown fleck. The glaze also worked well on the breaks and has a very similar look to Temuka Riverstone. It does make me question the old Temuka glazes and what they were made from "Riverstone" perhaps?

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