You see that is what we use, us potters, just a bunch of ground rock. Over and over I read how elemental ceramics is. Just how abundant the material is. Silica being what the earth’s crust is made of and all. I have been reassured again and again that the clay is readily available that the stuff of my practice isn’t going anywhere, however, I have yet o find a quarry near by . The fuel used, now that is another question. But aye, this post is quickly becoming one that ought be entitled “issue” not “techno”. As a theme, the corroding of feldspar rock (our earth’s surface) gives all the materials needed in ceramics. Just all in different states of decomposition.
A thing, silica based clay, when formed and fired is turned back to rock and permanent. It is this transformation that is the most shocking and hardest to deal with esthetically and physically and philosophically. The qualities of a soft supple fresh clay item can’t be farther from the end result. The actually material changes and with it every quality and feeling associated with the old object. For it has dawned on me that as potter that on the road to a final object you make many objects of very different sensibilities. Meaning any ceramics object its self can be a story of transformation. I am always captivated in the striations on mountainsides. Different layers of earth composed of slightly different elements and crushed to various degrees over the years (it is no wonder my photo albums are jammed packed with snapshots of rocks). If you walk into my shed right now. You will find two big shelves lined with brick and Rubbermaid containers holding various powdery substances. Just waiting to be subjected to heat and fused back into something more substantial. I laugh remembering Gail Nichols saying she it just making rocks (in actuality she is voluptuous sculpture forms that resemble rocks). But we are all just making rocks. It is thus a good idea to take a good luck at various rocks in their whole state. Take a look at quartz for example.