abandoned earth
︎︎︎ tableware made from industrial waste

From 100% discarded clay, glazed with the saw dust of natural stones.
Available at The Home of Sustainable Things or directly via the studio shop.  

Any production of any product always generates by-products. This starts with packaging and transport material, continues with seemingly unusable by-products such as sawdust and ends with scrap of any kind. In most cases, these materials are collected on site and transported away as waste. Once in the container, these things usually end up in the incinerator or landfill. But what if all these wastes were not considered as such from the beginning?

This tableware is made from industrial waste from two companies. Materials that are produced in large quantities and yet have no value so far.

Waste source 01
Discarded Clays
In order to source clay from the region, the studio looked for a durable and meaningful solution. In doing so, it came across a source of waste from a nearby retailer: dried-out clay from damaged packaging. The thin foils tear very quickly, making the goods unusable for the time being. Any damage in the packaging, no matter how small, leads to the goods being sorted out. In a few weeks, several hundred kilos can accumulate, which exceeds the needs of the studio. With a little water, time and preparation, the material is like new.

Waste source 02
Natural stone saw dust for glazes
The processing of natural stone always leads to the fact that a large part is ground into dust and fragments. From blasting on the mountain to milling the final products, fragments and stone dust are produced at every step. Even the most valuable rocks are often worthless in powder form. Even the most valuable rocks are often worthless in powder form, although much of it ends up as such.

The studio was granted access to a large stone processing company in Spain. Valuable stones of all kinds are processed there, and tons of sawdust accumulate in a short time. It is transported away every week and, according to local knowledge, deposited in landfills. For the stonemasons this dust is not applicable, their craft requires their full attention.

There is potential in every by-product that other industries can use.

For glazes, all of the ingredients must be extremely finely ground, and common ingredients are quartz or lime. The sawdust of the natural stone can already meet all these requirements as if it were specially made for it.

Since most stone dust is collected by an extraction system and is therefore randomly mixed, it is difficult to determine certain properties. Therefore, the sawdust was first collected directly from the machines. It turned out that each type reacts very differently to the firing, producing a wide variety of glazes.
Nevertheless, not all types of stone are useful for glazes. The application of a mixture must therefore be preceded by a detailed study of the individual varieties.

A glaze usually consists of several components whose composition must be finely balanced. In addition to the main ingredient quartz, fluxes, hardeners, binders and colourants are used. It is not unusual for five to ten ingredients to be needed. They always have a mineral or metallic origin and can no longer be separated from each other after glaze firing. This makes glazes a disposable product.

Stone dust can fulfil several tasks at once and thus also replaces
more than one component.

Marble, for example, is a metamorphic rock with calcite as its main component. Its melting point is 825 °C, much lower than that of quartz (1710 °C), which is otherwise often the main ingredient in any glaze. But the demand for quartz is extremely high in many areas and needs to be reduced. By dispensing with it, the fluxes that would otherwise be needed are also unnecessary. And colouring agents are also not used, the stones produce their own colours. Marble, like most other types of stone that have been researched, needs only one tool to glaze perfectly. 

A white Marble is the first stone to be used here and reacts very differently to the various ceramics. White-glossy to transparent-matt glazes are produced. Furthermore, varieties such as granite, travertine, porphyry, sandstone, onyx and many more were tested.

These glazes consists of only two ingredients, quartz sand is not needed.

© Benedikt Peirotén 2021