Preparing a pigment for 2020

Time is very interesting to me: Whether it’s our perception of it’s passing, or technology’s general effect on our cultural need for immediacy, or perceiving it within the objects we create; time is intimately linked to our daily happiness and satisfaction.

Today I decided to begin the creation of a pigment that will take a full decade to create.  The inspiration came from reading Sandra Grantham’ s PhD thesis on her investigation of construction methods used in historic, Japanese screens.  In researching the creation of gofun pigment from oyster shells, she states that,

Oyster shells at Uki are left to weather for 10-20 years to remove extraneous matter and to weaken the calcium carbonate for grinding the ‘Gofun’.

That’s the longest pigment preparation I’ve ever heard of!

The Conestoga river doesn’t have oyster shells, but it does have clam shells; so, with my helpers in tow, we spent the morning harvesting shells.  Afterward, we made a small, brick container beside my studio where we could leave them to weather for the next ten to twenty years … I’ll be sure to post an update when it’s ready to use!

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