Body Work

Various mixes of earthenware, stoneware, fireclay, ball clay, porcelain, Alberta slip, minspar, silica, grog (fine and coarse), baking soda, sand, soda ash, quinoa, rice, zinc, bone ash, wood ash, perlite, vermiculite, talc, ilmenite

A clay body is a clay that is altered for different qualities and uses, a combination of clay, flux, and filler. Clay: the mud, the plastic ingredient, alumina + silica. Flux: the minerals, sodium, potassium, lithium, the melter, the change agent. Filler: organic or inorganic materials that alter texture and strength. In working with clay bodies, I am curious in the various properties of clay - color, vitrification, elasticity, workability, texture, solubility, and shrinkage - and the unexpected results that occur when materials are pushed to their capacities.

These clay body tests take the shape of small coils of plied thread, one of the elemental fiber structures. As coiled and plied clay dries and shrinks, the end of a coil rises like a dried noodle or a snake lifting its head to smell the air; soda added into a clay body forms crystals on the clay’s surface and it emerges glassy and ochre from the kiln; a clay mixed with rice grows fuzzy mold as it sits on the shelf waiting to be formed and then crumbles when it is fired, pockmarked where the rice burned away in the heat.

Sampling is a play practice. Through sampling, a maker plays with materials by testing their limits, responding to and asking questions of them, drawing out their possibilities. The sample’s set scale and material parameters allow for experimentation and flow, as do the rules in a game. Through acts of play, by questioning limits of known structures, and through methods of translation and transformation these samples become abstract models for the practice of destabilizing and reconfiguring broader social and political apparatuses. When gathered together in a space, these forms reference the precarity of bodies, climates, and social and political systems while proposing the re-constitution of those systems.