GRANIETIG (granite)
Shigaraki, Japan 2018



River embeding in order of size



Alchemical exploration in gradient
~from wilde clay to higly manufactured porcelain


Shigaraki clay is a type of clay that contains feldspar rocks, which is special since during the process of chemical weathering, the slightly acidic water is transforming feldspar present in the granite rocks into kaolin, which is a clay mineral. Due to a specific level of humidity and speed of river flow,
this process is not fully outplayed thus the sedimentary clay layers still containing a variable level of these feldspar rich rocks. .
 This clay used te be found in the 4 million year old sediment deposits of lake Biwa which snaked its way meanwhile many kilometers away westwards from the village. After the 70’s when this style of pottery was very popular and on this day a rare commodity to be found in the wild. There are some hills left that contain some of this now so precious clay, all privatized though.




During the firing of this clay in traditionally a Anagama wood fueled kiln, the Feldspar rocks liquify due to its rather low melting temperature. Which results glasslike drops bleeding out of the clay.

I went out into the mountains hiked upwards along the many little mountain streams that would eventually leaches into the new Lake Biwa. I attempted to understand the process of the emergence of this specific clay. Here the same process was taking place that took place millions of years ago elsewhere to
form the feldspar rich clay deposits in the area of The village of Shigaraki.
The soft water gliding seemingly softly over the granite rocks, slowly sneaking its way into the rocks crystalline matrix with the help of some Acid. Where the process of hydrolysis is altering feldspar into kaolinite, with potassium ions, bicarbonate and silica in the solution as a byproduct. The seemingly invincible looking granite rocks is now crumbling apart like sweet meringues.

Combining this crumbling granite with some wild iron rich red clay I found along one of my hikes resulted in a similar experience the legendary clay.