This week Živa and I again hunted down some clay. We visited an abandoned clay pit in Štajerska and another company which has a quarry of zeolite and white bentonite clay.
The abandoned clay pit was so interesting. It was overgrown with forest already, but some banks were still exposed and the two of us could easily take clay without any digging. Carrying to the car was more difficult, because we always fill our bags more than we can carry. Clay was yellow, red and somewhere grey. The level of how yellow or red means the level of iron that it contains. So I almost always look for grey clay. Less iron means higher melting point and I am looking for about 1250C or more. Every pit has different layers and different clay. In the working days of the pit its brick factory mixed all clays together. But since I am one person – one artist, I can leave clays separated by their colour. From that pit I have 4 kinds of clay and a sample of red quartz sand; you can see a line of about 0.5m sand in the first photo. I will use the sand to mix it into clay – quartz also makes the clay stronger and makes melting point higher.
What I also like in the pit was plant life. Young pines were slowly covering the pit and all sorts of purple and yellow flowers. There were parts of grasses and parts of swamp plants. That was in the areas where clay was holding the water. I notice many times in clay pits some small fungi is covering some parts of exposed clay. This time were cute little mushrooms with max size of few mm.
The other quarry is fully operational. The nice lady who works there took us around and explained a little about the materials. I didn’t see the bentonite clay pit, only zeolite. I bought 30 kg bag ob bentonite, fully cleaned and dried in powder, so this will save me some time of processing it. On the way out we stopped at the edge of the quarry and saw a cliff of exposed zeolite and just under the top a beautiful line of white bentonite. I am not sure how to use zeolite, but I have some ideas. I will keep you posted!
I will prepare and process the clays in the following months.
Clay is beautiful! It is almost everywhere in Slovenia. We basically walk over it, maybe every day!
I call on you to find me some clay!