A Mining Trip

Today, in spite of the typhoon passing by us, 3 of us potters decided to go out to a construction site that we previously scouted, and collect some great feldspathic sand. The whole mountainside is sandstone and the construction process has done a good job of crushing great amounts of the stuff, with trucks, back hoes, tractors, and the like. Then, when it rains, the fines travel down the hill and collect in the gutters and sumps making it easy to collect lots of fine sand which does  not need to be processed further in the stamp mill.

Today everything was damp, so pretty heavy, but having cloud cover was great and we hardly broke a sweat. Sunny days here in the summer can be quite unbearable.  We got at total of 38 bags of sand, and I brought home about 600kg.

Now that the mountain has been worked over pretty good by the construction company, places to collect sand have decreased, and the whitest sand (less iron contamination) is no longer available. We did get about 7 bags of the white stuff, with the rest more reddish/brown. I also found one nodule of iron (called ‘oni-ita’) in a sandstone boulder and dug it out to make underglaze pigment with.

This sand is great for adding to your clay, really gives it some character and helps it to mature at a lower temp, while preventing slumping. You can mix in up to 50% or more sand into the clay depending on what you are making, and the finest of the sand can be wedged up all by itself and made into smaller guinomi and chawan sized items.