Sand Journey

— grains of sand

Following an ancient Roman glass and sand trade route, Atelier NL took a journey that spanned across Western Europe. By arranging the sands in relation to the map of the land, Atelier NL created a tactile material map. By walking through the map, one could view the different types of sands that occur along this ancient route. Each sand has a story to tell. Atelier NL discovered new material potentials and forms by working with different sands. Contextual elements and geological data shed light on the way each sand had formed. Under the microscope, in the light of history, and through the lens of craftsmanship, new stories materialize from everyday materials. Via experimentation with high firing and glass formulations, the sands yielded a wide array of colours, textures, and patterns. 

"When I look at sand, I see different sizes and grains, structures and colours. Then I think that the sand is brought here by rivers, seas and winds. It has its own background and has traveled for years. What we do is we look at a beach and we see what beautiful elements it has and what it can deliver."

By taking photographs, collecting stones and twigs, and researching the geological history and chemical composition of sand samples, Atelier NL created a material archive of their Sand Journey. Using sands from dunes, quarries, beaches, and other sandy areas, Atelier NL combines scientific documentation with storytelling, revealing the complexity of temporal layers and the unique materials that characterize each type of sand.