Terra alchemy

YH! Studio

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- story by MaterialDistrict

Terra Alchemy is an ongoing material research examining the inherent relationship between clay and metal and the unexpected possibilities it holds. Reversing the separate manmade state of these materials to their found connection in nature.

Clay and metal minerals are both components of stone. As metals corrode, they return to their original natural states, meanwhile ceramics, when fired, sinter and return to stone. Though this composition and decomposition takes several years, they remain in ceaseless motion.

By accelerating and implementing natural geological processes (such as corrosion, oxidation and sintering) in a deliberate manner, these tiles combine metal and clay in various techniques. Allowing the use of discarded metal in the ceramic process and combining metal into ceramics, to use its conductive attribute.

Examples of the research include ceramic tiles utilising discarded oxidised metal that is applied directly on the clay at its wet state. The oxides are then absorbed and change the ceramics colour and texture after firing. using existing waste rather than harvesting and producing new oxides. Another example is ceramic tiles combined with copper integrated into them by using ‘metal clay’ metal powder combined with an organic binder that disintegrates in the firing and leaves a fully sintered metal that can be used for conducting heat or electricity through ceramic bodies.

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