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Harvesting materials

The use of local materials contributes to the sustainability of the creative process, but above all it allows me to create unique pieces that represent the landscape that created them. My Geography and Cartography studies have been key in this matter. First of all, the aim for reducing the carbon footprint of my work means that I no longer contribute to the intensive mineral resources extraction industry, one of the most aggressive with the environment. These materials are not only removed from the original landscape but they usually travel long distances until they are placed on the market. The knowledge acquired during my Geography degree (soil science, ecology and landscape management) is very useful for recognizing and  collecting those materials respectfully. Soil is a limited resource that needs to be preserved, so when I collect clay I ensure the impact is minimal (small amounts, not protected areas, low erosion and ecologic risk).



Malhivern wild terracota clay. The Malhivern forest is located in La Garriga, Barcelona (where I live). This holy oak forest is settled on argillaceous soil. The red clay originated during the Miocene epoch (10 million years ago) and it was used during the last century to manufacture bricks, hence the existence of an old brick factory called Bòbila de Sant Font. The Malhivern clay plasticity enables one work on the potter's wheel but also to create sculptural work. After firing it to different temperatures I determined that this is a low-fire clay that can be fired to 1050ºC. 

Once collected I study the physical properties of the materials to incorporate them into my work. The use of clay is accompanied by the employment of wood ash and rocks for glaze making. To obtain that I harvest different types of wood (pine, oak,...) and burn them in a stove, but I also gather ash as a waste product from local businesses (carpentry waste burns, wood fire grill restaurants...) .  Every plant contains minerals that has absorbed during its life, so every species offers a unique mixture of elements such as calcium, potassium and other minerals. Finally, I collect different types of minerals in the form of rocks such as granite which I crush in a mortar and pestle until they are fine dust. 


Unprocessed wild fireclay from Terra Alta, Tarragona. Fired in a reducing atmosphere to 1300ºC.

Sieved fir wood ash mixed with water. This ash was obtained from a local carpentry bussiness that heat their working place with wood waste. 

Pink granite and fir wood ash lineblend. By mixing those two materials and firing them to 1300 ºC in a reducing atmosphere I obtain a pale green glaze.  

Pink granite collected from a Costa Brava cliff (Girona). Granite is a rock made of three minerals: quartz, feldspar and mica. 

Creating the piece 

I create functional and sculptural ceramics. The first is mainly based on tableware, teaware and other functional objects. Most of the pots are thrown by hand on the potter's wheel, but I also work with more manual techniques such as kuriuki, or coil building. Therefore, each piece is one of a kind; with slight differences that highlight the handcraft behind it. 


Sculpting process of a cormorant. After working on the shape and textures of the sculpture I did a plaster mold to make a few copies for a limited edition.


Terra Alta highfire wild clay. After adding water to the clay I sieved it to remove stones and roots. Once thrown on the potter's wheel I trimmed the walls and foot of the piece to obtain the final shape and texture. 

Glaze and firing 

Every piece is at least fired once, first to 1.000 ºC for 10 hours (bisque firing), and a second firing to 1300 ºC (glaze firing)  that lasts 10-11 hours. The bisque firing is an irreversible process by which clay becomes a ceramic material. On this stage clay still has some porosity which enables it to glaze its surface. All glazes are self-developed and made with local materials (wood ash, clay and rocks). 

Once the glaze is dry I fire the piece in a manual gas kiln for 11 hours. This last firing is performed in a reducing atmosphere up to 1300 ºC. By closing the damper and depriving the kiln form oxygen the carbon flames bond with the metal oxides present in the glaze. This type of firing enables to obtain certain colour changes and textures. I also started exploring the possibilities of wood firing  as a great way to decorate low-fire clays (terracota).


Modernist Malhivern wild terracota clay pieces. This collection is inspired on the modernist architechture from the early 1900s that can be found in La Garriga, Barcelona (where the clay comes from). As a low fire clay I fired this pieces twice. First in a manual gas kiln to 1050ºC  for 9 hours in an oxidizing atmosphere and later on a pine wood pitfiring to decorate the pieces with smoke effects.


Fireclay vase glazed with wild clay from the Congost river (La Garriga, Barcelona) and fir wood ash. Fired in a reducing atmosphere to 1300ºC for 11 hours in a manual gas kiln.


Cormorant sculpture glazed with fir wood ash. Fired in a reducing atmosphere to 1300ºC for 11 hours in a manual gas kiln.

If you want to learn more about the process involved behind each piece, you can see my ceramics diary on Instagram, where I share images and thoughts.

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