The Claymachine

— Earth Alchemy

The Clay Machine demonstrates the transformation of raw soil into clay. This manually operated contraption, worthy of Willy Wonka, was custom-made from parts of a gingerbread machine, a pillar drill machine, a grain mill, a wringer, and a coffee grinder. After the soil has been dug up from the ground by hand, the Clay Machine grinds the rough clumps of earth into a powder, which is carefully sifted to remove sticks, shells, and stones. Adding water to the powder turns it into a special mud. The mixture is transformed into clay through an extensive process of kneading and adjusting water content until it takes on a malleable texture. From Atelier NL's directly sourced clay samples, a tile or cup can be made. Each ceramic piece made in this way represents the unique soil colour and texture of a particular area. Atelier NL's Clay Machine gives everyday people a look into the magic of the production process, from raw material to a 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."