The Claymachine

— Drawn from Clay, Noordoostpolder

The Clay Machine, a hand-operated contraption worthy Willy Wonka, showcases the process of turning raw dirt into finished clay. First, raw earth is dug from the ground by hand. Then the Clay Machine is used to grind rough clumps of earth into a powder, which is sifted to remove sticks, shells, and rocks. A special mud is then created by adding water to the powder. The mixture is transformed into clay through an intensive process of kneading and adjusting water content until it takes on a workable texture. From Atelier NL's directly sourced clay bodies, a tile or cup can be made. Each ceramic piece made in this way represents the unique soil color and texture of a particular area. The Clay Machine, now located at the Earth Alchemy Factory, was originally commissioned by MU, a creative hub subsidized by the City of Eindhoven, the Province of North-Brabant, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Atelier NL's Clay Machine gives everyday people a look into the magic of the production process, from raw material to refined product.

The Clay Machine, commissioned by MU. Photo by Patricia Rehe

"The process behind the product is just as important as the product itself."

"It is meditative to deconstruct soil in this way; to engage with the material carefully and quietly."