In honour of Earth Day, I thought I'd share some passages from my book, on the earthy allure of natural materials. I encourage you to connect to the source of the materials around you. Stone, clay, metal (even glass) comes from natural resources. Relate to them on a primal level, touch them and allow them to ground you in your daily life.
When considering how much pleasure, purpose, and quality of life they've brought us, it's also important to be mindful of how these materials have been gathered and mined. Try to choose from eco friendly sources so that we may continue to live connected to mother earth's glorious abundance for years to come.
One of my favourite things about earth derived is the subtle patinas they accumulate overtime. As natural surfaces are exposed to salty air and sunlight in water they react. Metals oxidize and tarnish. Porous stone, cement and clay can be etched sculpted by water. Think of the lovely chalky residue that builds on clay pots in the garden, formed by the minerals and moisture leaching from the soil.
Our homes are built on and often made of earth. Terra Cotta literally means cooked earth. The earths crust gives us sand, silica, flint, agate and beautiful crystals such as Rose Quartz and Amethyst.
When mixed with organic plant and animal material, rocks and minerals break down into clay. Have you ever considered while lifting a fine porcelain tea cup to your lips, that it was artfully crafted from the simple material of mud? In the 17th century the Chinese were the first to use a white Kaolin Clay to make what we've come to know as 'china'.
I grew up near a beach that had clay in the pockets of the title pools. As a toddler I would sink my hands into the squishy sediment and form crude mud pies. Years later, I enjoyed forming wet clay round and round on the potters wheel, feeling it's rough yet slippery texture course through my fingers. So satisfying and sensual. Once the clay pot was dried and fired in a kiln, I would dip it in a glaze (more earth water and mineral combined) and fire it again, the kiln so hot the silica in the glaze would melt to glass and create its final silky casing on the pot. Perhaps it is these experiences that have connected me so closely to the element of earth.
Thank you mother nature for providing these materials. Art truly is in the heart of earth!