Mt Nyiragongo 2 | By Nina Salsotto Cassina
Volcanic glaze made with nephelinite collected on Mt. Nyiragongo
Oxidation fired to 1250°C
H. 21 x w . 19 cm
The glaze for this vase is made with crushed lava rocks collected on Mt Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mt Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano in the Virunga mountains and the biggest lava lake in the world. Its lava, made of nephelinite, is unusually fluid because of the high contents of iron and magnesium and under saturation of silica. It flows downhill at speeds of up to 100 km/h.
About the Maker
Unurgent argilla is about clays and rocks foraged in the wild, by hand and in small quantities, worked into “site-specific” spherical vessels at the pottery wheel.
The aim is to convey a spatial and geological narrative with vessels made of a specific place earth and rocks, abstracting as little as possible from their origins.
Nina Salsotto Cassina started the Unurgent Argilla project in 2019 in London. Self-taught, she is also currently a politics doctoral student at SOAS and applies her training in academia to ceramics and material research. Recently she has moved back to Italy, where she is working mainly with wild clays found around Milano and rocks from Italian volcanic islands.
The volcanic collection is a visual and physical study of volcanoes. The rocks were foraged while Nina was living in Italy, Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The vessels are made of stoneware on which crushed volcanic rocks are melted in the kiln at high temperatures, in a process similar to the geological one that formed them in the Earth’s crust. The liquid appearance of the rock glaze is an immediate reminder of the fire and heat that made both the lava rocks and the vessels.
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