daily forward tumble

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the practice of being creative everyday

water is so powerful…

September 27th, 2010 at 0:35


…it can dissolve rock!

This is not lecture on the rock cycle or an introduction to geology.

A few of you might be following my gardening blog. I have a vegetable garden and I’ve maintained a blog about it for the last year. In it you might have read somewhere that we have extremely difficult soil here. The ground where we live is marl and as a result we have extremely dense clay rich soil. And when it’s dry it’s rock solid. I really do mean that. Its lumps are so hard, the soil at times becomes indistinguishable from the kind of rocks you would find in any soil. Except it isn’t a rock, it IS the soil.


As part of my autumn chores I am back into turning some of the vegetable beds to lighten up and dig in some compost, make the veggie beds ready for winter crop or the early spring sowing. And while doing that I decided to put aside some of the bigger lumps of this clay stuff to see if I can make something else other than grow my veggies with it.

I put the hand sized lumps into my yellow bucket and let them soak for some time. A was able to wash off some of the compost type soil that was clinging to the outside of the lumps as the water was starting to do it’s thing and soften the outside of the lumps of clay. I then sat down in the sunshine in the back yard and started to squash the lumps (John took the photo above and below). And the lumps started to break down into clay with lumps and then slowly disintegrated completely into mud (see in the bucket below).

I’ve decided to leave the mud to sit and hope for/wait for sedimentation to occur and then drain off the water from the top to see if I’ll get some usable clay in the end. There was a stage in all this mucking around where I could have started to sculpture away with the muck but there were a go few little rocks and other impurities in it so I decided to continue on and see what can be done with a bit of time and patients. At the moment it has the same consistency as the plaster you use for walls.

I would be thrilled to get some advice from any fellow creatives out there to see what can be done with this mud soup and any ideas on how to progress from here. So far it’s all “seat of the pants” or trial and error. It’s not that I can repeat m experiment, I have an entire garden full of this stuff.

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6 Responses to “water is so powerful…”

  1. Evelyn Says:

    When I was studying Ceramics, we used slip, which is watered down clay for slip casting with plaster mould. I can’t think of why this can be used the same way, but you might need to get the mud to be free of lumps if you want fine details – use a blender and put it through a sieve…

    Have fun!

  2. Janice Says:

    I’m afraid I can add nothing to what Evelyn says. In fact I couldn’t have said what Evelyn says – I am no use at all to you! But I just wanted to say ‘Wow!’ Making your own clay for free! Now that IS creative! I hope it turns out well and can’t wait to see what you’ll make with it! Have a lovely week!

  3. Amy Says:

    Huh, looks like Carolina clay! We have the same or close to the same, orange clay soil here, and what a mess. It is like rock once it dries out and slippery and messy when wet. Good luck! I am curious to see what you are able to do with it.

  4. Susan Says:

    What a beautiful way to spend a day…

  5. forward tumble Says:

    wow, thanks Evelyn, I will try that, I could think of few things I could as a mould or better take a print/ make a mould and then…
    do you know of a way to “dry” my mud? Do I just let it sit? I was thinking. the mud is so “pur” at the moment, the remaining impurity would possibly just sive out if I run it through something like fine netting left over from my mosquito net project…
    thanks a lot for your ideas and advice!!

  6. daily forward tumble» Blog Archive » earth – making clay Says:

    [...] started making my own clay at the end of September. You might have read about it here. For the entire month I’ve been waiting for the clay to dry up enough so that I can handle [...]

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