Ocean Sediments

Using ocean floor sediments as glazes is indigenous to me because I live in Woods Hole, home of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Sometimes their research vessels collect core samples and occasionally, extra mud is available to me. I am always gleeful when a call or an e-mail reports that some is waiting.

The first gift came from a cruise whose purpose was biological research. It could also be climate change investigations, seismometer placements, research by oil and gas companies, environmental monitoring, deep-sea archaeology, global weather, mapping, and more.

Cores are archived in several repositories around the world. Woods Hole is one. My kiln room is a tiny version, where I collect information by how each mud sample looks when it melts into glaze on clay.

Tom Aldrich of United States Geological Survey said, “You’ve got a whole new data base.”

Sediments tell about time and place, they bring me to a sense of peace with natural laws, in the flow of vast time. Through this work with sediments, I come to feel Gaia – Earth as a living breathing organism, like my self.

After the first sediment melted into glaze, I inquired about getting more. The first scientist I spoke to suggested I get a chemical analysis and use it to manufacture more.

By this reasoning, I could create a banana by assembling its chemical constituents? What a different view of the world the two of us have, I thought . . . what about the magic in the middle?

I enjoy looking at graphs, tables, and computer models produced to explain science, because many modes of data entry are needed for my brain to make meaning and . . . I’m continually amused and enriched by how many stories it takes to tell the whole truth.

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