The Globe: Claywork 2nd June 2014
Each continent began its life as a single, smoothed, sheet of clay. An outline of each continent was marked on the surface of the gypsum plaster and then clay was laid across it to form one huge sheet. Throughout production, longitude and latitude lines have been used as reference – the only consistent and accurate means to transfer information reliably from former to globe.
Once smooth, the wet clay surface needed to be marked out with the outline of each continent before adding the detail within – valleys, rivers, mountain ranges, deserts, forests, lakes – all in three dimension, modelled to the surface. Each significant geographic and topographic feature appearing in the finished work.
A team of people were required to complete the work – over 400 square metres in total. Logistics, planning, team work and supervision were all important. Here you see the landmass of Australia begin to take shape, team members working on the mountain ranges up the east side of the country, with the northern tip of Queensland visible, top right.
The sheet of clay had to be cut in to tile shapes to, in effect, create one of the world’s largest jigsaw puzzles. In this project all cutting was to take into account the ‘lie-of-the-land’, the strata – there needed to be a character and a rhythm to the cutting that would reflect the contours of the earth. On completion there will be over 33,000 pieces to this jigsaw, each and every one numbered and logged.
Firing to 1240℃ ensures full vitrification of the clay and with this comes strength and longevity. The rigours of the Arabian climate will have no effect on these ceramics – the colours are permanent, the tiles inert and the adhesive tried and tested!