River Clay Walkshop

Foraging clay from the Grand River

Foraging clay from the Grand River

Foraging clay from the Grand River

Foraging clay from the Grand River

Processing foraged clay to remove stones

Processing foraged clay to remove stones

Mapping in the studio at the start of the Walkshop

Mapping in the studio at the start of the Walkshop

Mixing foraged clay from the Grand River with commercial clay

Mixing foraged clay from the Grand River with commercial clay

Balls of clay ready for impressions

Balls of clay ready for impressions

Walking in the snow to find impressions and discuss historical context for infrastructure

Walking in the snow to find impressions and discuss historical context for infrastructure

Studio member making clay impression of abandoned shopping cart

Studio member making clay impression of abandoned shopping cart

Foraging clay from the Grand River thumbnail
Foraging clay from the Grand River thumbnail
Processing foraged clay to remove stones thumbnail
Mapping in the studio at the start of the Walkshop thumbnail
Mixing foraged clay from the Grand River with commercial clay thumbnail
Balls of clay ready for impressions thumbnail
Walking in the snow to find impressions and discuss historical context for infrastructure thumbnail
Studio member making clay impression of abandoned shopping cart thumbnail

I was invited to conduct a Walkshop with Civic Studio in Grand Rapids, MI. I collaborated with studio members to design a Walkshop that was based off of previous Walkshops I had conducted and have a site specificity. Studio members decided to work off of a clay impressions format I had developed. They were dissatisfied with the source of clay being obscured and decided they could forage clay from the Grand River to use during the event. They also worked with a local power plant and obtained permission to have the clay brought to a low fire temperature after the impressions were made. This ‘firing’ would take place in the the city boilers when they flushed during their by-yearly cleaning. The public Walkshop started at Civic Studio and participants read a few short articles including sections of Perec’s Species of Spaces. Participants made maps that highlighted a particular sensory experience of the city. We then set out in the snow to find infrastructure to take clay impressions of. Studio members shared various historical research about the space as we walked.