Soil is where most things come from and where most things return. It is also a material that reveals the history of our planet. Humans have created an exploitative relationship with soil as we often work against it, rather than with it. We undervalue the importance of soil in providing the optimal conditions for our survival.
As an attempt to foster our relationship with soil and her immediate environment, Maria Roy Deulofeu decided to embark on an archaeological mission in her own garden. Through excavation, she identified and collected different types of soils, artefacts and 'ecofacts' that she categorised based on the geological strata at which they were found. With the excavated material she created a collection of decorative vases incorporating the found artefacts as ornamentation on the surface.
The vases are a material representation of her archaeological journey and souvenirs of the site. The aim is to communicate how human activities impact the soil throughout history and subsequently discuss how the importance of soil has been neglected over time.
Due to Covid-19, her project became hyper-localised. Everything took place in the confinement of her London flat: collecting the materials during the excavation, processing them into the vases, and even building a Neolithic kiln to fire the pieces. All the soil she extracted will return to the site it was sourced from and the kiln will be disassembled. Only a few remains will be left until perhaps someone from the future will uncover them again. Maria Roy Deulofeu hopes this project will help the soil and its species live, expand and regenerate.
1. Processing earth into clay material to build ceramics.
Sieve the earth collected into a big sieve with a fine mesh. Then, let the cleaned earth rest for a day. After this remove the water that remained separate from the particles of clay, silt and sand. Finally, let the mixture rest on top of a plaster or wooden base until it becomes a more solid texture that you can work with.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Núria Morera, PhD Candidate, Prehistory Department, Autonomous University of Barcelona. Tatiana Muñoz Melo, Ceramicist and Kiln Designer / Builde
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