This Mud Is Special: Clay As Commodity From Ancient To Present

Sunday 21st April 11:00 am

This talk is the second in our special collaboration with the British School at Athens.

Clay manufacturers, potters and archaeologists look at the qualities of different clays. What makes some clays better and more valuable than others? What can be added to clay and for what effect?

In a time where the provenance and ecological impact of our materials are increasingly scrutinised, the significance of clay as a raw material cannot be overstated. This panel discussion unites experts across diverse disciplines, all bound by their connection to clay, to explore the spectrum of approaches—from ancient to contemporary—in utilising this fundamental substance. Exploring its materiality, scientific properties, and inherent agency, we will navigate the intricate intersections of tradition, innovation, and sustainability in the world of clay.

Carlotta Gardner
Carlotta is an archaeological scientist who specialises in the study of ancient crafts through the scientific analysis of archaeological materials, with a specific focus on ceramics. She is particularly interested in exploring cross-craft interactions. Carlotta is the Fitch 2024 Research and Outreach Officer at the British School at Athens.

Jonathan Noake
After university, Jonathan was set to work on radar design in Saudi Arabia, but his plans changed when his father’s illness threatened the family business, Potclays Ltd, a manufacturer of clays, glazes and kilns. He postponed his move to assist with the challenges at Potclays, where he has stayed for over 55 years, nurturing the business with his daughter Becky, and her husband James Otter.

Matthew Blakely
Matthew makes pots from rocks and clays that he has collected from various locations around the UK. Using materials in this way, his pieces have an intimate connection to the physicality of the place they come from, being ceramic representations of that geology. He studied in Australia and has been a professional potter for over 30 years.

He is also exhibiting at CAL 2024 so be sure to visit his stand.