Strata

An online exhibition sponsored by stART grants with SWQld Regional Arts and Arts Queensland. 

A few years ago my family and I relocated to the semi-rural town of Tamborine Mountain, in the Scenic Rim, Queensland. Tamborine Mountain has a fascinating geological history which spans back 22 million years ago; its uprising the result of eruptions from a huge shield volcano in the Mount Warning area of northern New South Wales. Eruptions cloaked the nearby landscapes with layers of basalt lava flows. With water taking primary force, over time, flowing streams helped form a land island, creating the 12km long and 6km wide plateau in the Gold Coast hinterland. 

Tamborine Mountain is unique in that it has many pure spring aquifers. Thick clay (which is high in kaolin, the result of volcanic lava, ash, heat and time) occurs extensively in many areas, often acting as a barrier to localise groundwater. There is a rich history of potters living and working on the mountain since the 1940's. These earlier potters appreciated the various colours, beautiful texture and wide firing ranges the local clays come in. For the last 9 months I have researched the stories of these potters' lives and also where they were locating their clays. I have now found over 8 various stoneware and terracotta clay varieties, found in the south, north and eastern escarpments of the mountain. Each have their own unique properties and most have needed few additions such as grog and sand to form a workable material.  

Locating, processing and testing wild clay can be extremely time consuming but also rewarding. Labelling tests is a must as each clay can surprise with complete colour transformations from plastic to bisque, and then to stoneware. Eagles Close clay starts as a bright orange clay and fires to an intense deep purple at cone 10 (1280oC).

For this small exhibition of porcelain and wild clay cups I was influenced and idealised the stratigraphy of the mountain, picturing the relative position of strata and its geological timeline. This body of work is continually developing and I will continue to document its process on my instagram feed. Cups will go on sale in late August here on my website, newsletter subscribers will be notified first as per my usual routine.