Rock flour


Made in

Paper 25 Regenerative 54 Hemp 10 Paper 13

Rock flour
Rock flour
Rock flour
Rock flour
Rock flour
Rock flour
Rock flour
Rock flour
Rock flour

Photos: Kristian Holm, Sara Martinsen

Layers Of Reserve

Sara Martinsen is a Danish designer and artist who always searches for new information about materials and their characteristics or potential. In her research, she came across a material named 'glacier flour' and decided to create different art pieces while investigating and learning more about rock dust.

The material originates from Greenland where the Arctic rock is crushed by the glaciers and approximately 1 billion tons of rock flour is washed out together with the melted ice every year. When collected and used in deprived soil the minerals will boost farming and ensure a higher yield per area. In the Arctic climate, the material rests inactive but when it meets a hot and moist climate the mineral nutrition will be released. This is extremely relevant in tropical climates where the soil is poor and deforestation creates a massive and negative impact on the Globe. The material seems grey and insipid but turns out to offer many great solutions for some of the complicated problems, such as the lack of global food security, human inequality, deforestation, and climate challenges and may even offer a profitable business for Greenland. The material used in this specific art piece is collected in Maalutu, Nuuk, Greenland and provided by geologist Minik Rosing.

The designer wishes to communicate the potential of this incredible material by bringing a geological hot topic into the world of art. The rock flour might seem like any other grey stone dust but when showcased in different ways and arranged in repetitive compositions a visual story becomes alive. Art can act as a material mediator and a tactile object will appeal to our senses and our curiosity. This is a good starting point if you want to catch people’s attention.

One of her works is a yellow archive filled with layers of paper. Every piece of paper is covered with glacier flour and the title is ‘Archive Of Potential’ stating the obvious; that we should all dig into this material archive and bring the valuable dust into play.

Another object is a freestanding bundle of paper tied together with a string of thin rope. The rock flour has been applied with water to the paper and left to dry leaving a crackled desert-looking surface. The object looks like an ancient book full of important notes and is named ‘Layers Of Reserve’.

The third object rests on the wall with the help of four yellow chisels. A chisel is a tool used when you need to knock something loose from its surface, especially stone or granite. The yellow colour is a signal colour used to illustrate the importance and therefore the designer choose to apply this colour to both the archive piece and the four chisels.

For all three art pieces, the repetitive layers represent the millions of years and geological layers of material that the globe consists of.
She hopes to see politicians, companies and geologists sit down together and figure out a responsible way to bring this highly relevant dust out of Greenland and to the tropical belt.

Making process

The rock flour is dissolved in water and made into a paste. This paste is applied to brown non-bleached paper and dried in the sun.

Text submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank. For information about reproducing (a part of) this text, please contact the maker.


Rock flour, paper, hemp string


Minik Rousing

Physical samples

  • 0035-1

Accessible to participants at the Jan van Eyck Academie and during Open Studios.