Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Based on 'Rock glazes of NZ' Minna Bondy
Sample 87. Waiau River Sand. Mainly composed of somewhat weathered tiny pebbles of argillitic rocks occasional grains of Quartz
Finally a bridge worth spending time under.
One of the absolute blessings of this research is to have a visual of the sample sites. I use to open bags of white powder and have no idea of where the powder came or from what it once was. This photo best shows the landscape and the location of the sample within the greater picture.
Minna chose her locations based on their relationship with the surrounding geology and origins of the mineral deposits. The Waiau River has this sense of its origins, winding its way from the Southern Alps, grinding the rock in its path. Having this anchor to the landscape the materials and work becomes rarer and more finite.
My knowledge of geology has grown immensely on this trip, moving through the landscape minerals and ingredient names now make sense, they have a place and a reference point. They fit into the historical timeline of volcanic activity, metamorphic change and scale of time. Through our global consumption of packaged resources we have created a disconnect with our materials, and with that, an understanding of how the materials behave and why.
Volcanic materials, sandstones and mudstones are of importance to potters such as Bondy because they have already undergone state change and therefore undergone a step in the ceramic process naturally.
There are so many geological terms for these state changes that I have encountered on this journey. Individually they describe how a rock has entered the state in which we find it currently. My brain is a bit fried and I'm not going to attempt to list them on here, as I can't even pronounce them, let alone spell them correctly! Working with these materials directly from there environment restores this connection and returns the powdered product to the big picture of being part of something else.
Huge thanks again to Creative New Zealand for providing the funding for this fieldwork. I have had this project in mind for many years and I'm so grateful for the ways that it has expanded my knowledge and furthered my understanding of ceramics and their relationship with the environment.