Indigenous Clays / 2017

As part of the Ceramics for the Anthropocene project development, I set to rediscover local clays in the area of Albissola and Albenga, Liguria.

Collaborating with expert ceramicist Marco Tortarolo and his ceramics laboratory, we organised field trips to particular areas of Liguria to meet other craftsmen working with local materials and to collect a range of material samples. Some of the samples were collected in households and private properties, as well as abandoned clay pits.

We then spent 2 months refining the clays through various processes and mixing them in order to obtain workable materials.

The ceramics production of Albisola has heavily relied on indigenous clays until the 17th century, when new materials were introduced as a result of the huge effects on the landscape caused by the exploitation of the local resources.

Sadly, the current wave of local ceramicists has completely abandoned the local materials, relying instead on industrial products. This whole material research process aimed to reconnect with long-standing local traditions, highlighting the incredible material know-how of ceramicists and their connection with the soil.

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