I developed a deep interest in the hegemonic effect that colonisation and global trade has on cultural identity during my time living in Hong Kong.
Library of Acculturation 2020, represents the changes that occur when one cultural body comes into contact with what Gibson refers to as “culturally dissimilar people, groups and social influences” (2001). The result is a set of minimalist sculptural objects that explore the changes in cultural self when steeped in the material of another.

"I am intrigued how we as a collective culture absorb the cultural material of an other. It’s often subtle and over a long period of time. These influences surround us in our daily lives and penetrate us from afar. We are barely aware of it but they all have an effect on our behaviour.  This is acculturation. "
With thanks to Elena Vasilantonaki @pilosclayart who instantly agreed to send me some of the wild clay she works with in her Athens studio.

The clay arrived with an encouraging note, it was dry, red and very fine. When wet back down it reminded me of olive paste. “That’s because I dug it above my parents olive grove in Crete’ replied Elena.

The clay was very short and crumbly and tricky to build thin slab boxes with. It soaked up the Chinese Soy eagerly at bisc stage and slumped into such a soft form at cone 9 fire.
Thank you Elena for your contribution to the Library.

With thanks to @kimmacat in Queensland, Australia for being one of the first artists to agree to send me clay and for leading an enthusiastic wild clay club downunder.
With thanks to Shingo Takeuchi @ceramistbamboo. Your beautiful hand dug clay has remained virtually unchanged by the exterior cultural influences of this experiment.

I spent the whole summer swimming when I was young. The Box Hill outdoor swimming pool was a favourite way to spend a sunny afternoon.

From one end of the pool I used to look over the fence to a deep clay pit below. It was filled with water. This was the site of the original Surrey Dive; a clay pit dug in the 1880’s to supply clay to the local brickworks.

Once decommissioned, the pit filled with water and became a popular swimming hole. In the 1900’s the Surrey Dive hosted carnivals featuring brass bands and high - diving displays. It also claimed many lives and was deemed extremely treacherous.

A more modern swimming complex took its place the 1930’s and the original pit is now a recreational lake. The cliffs of clay are still visible and easily accessible.

I dug the clay from this location because of my childhood connections to place. High rise developments that have been marketed to the Chinese clientele have become very popular and the demographic of the surrounding suburbs have changed. I wanted to see how the earth material would react to the introduction of the Soy Sauce.

The resulting form/folio is light in colour and has not opened nor melted. The soy seems to have penetrated the seams but not distorted the shape. Despite the clay looking perfect at bisc stage, my fingerprints appeared after high fire. Clay has memory, my finger have become my stamp or signature. It seems apt that they appeared on this folio.

The clay for this folio was supplied by myself, Sharyn Wortman.

Micah grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, a couple of miles away from Merry Farm Road, where he now lives and works. After studying pottery in Rhode Island, Maine, North Carolina, and Japan, and finally apprenticing for three years for potter Akira Satake, @akirasatake he returned home to build his kiln and workshop. He uses minimally processed natural materials to produce work that is functional, lively, and engaging.

Micah tells me that he’s “interested in wild clay for both aesthetic and sentimental reasons. The experience of scouting and digging clay, and then bringing it through the making and firing process connects me so deeply to the material, I really fall in love with it, in all its beauty and imperfection. And then the finished result has the opportunity for so much liveliness and excitement because of the subtle and sometimes not so subtle impurities and peculiarities of this specific earth.”

I love that Micah sent me an image of his clay being excavated by a digger. He assures me it belonged to the building site who had dug up the clay and is not his own personal one.

This USA folio has revealed such powerful metallic, earth tones at high fire stage. It’s bubbled up and collapsed at cone 9. The final form reminds me of a chocolate pudding, it’s a rich chocolate colour and the texture looks edible with it’s large and small bubbles The sides of the sagger have caught the form and helped it to remain upright but adhering to the sides in the process. Thanks for sharing a part of Martha’s Vineyard, Micah.

With thanks to @rebeccahillpottery for being so responsive and sending me two types of hand dug clay that arrived whilst I was in Queenstown homeschooling my HK escapee children.
With thanks to @geoffreymakesart for digging this up next to the beach where he lives in Ma Wan, Hong Kong.

With thanks to @jvs_2017 for digging this up in her London garden and sending it wrapped so beautifully in fabric to me in Hong Kong.

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