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Crickets and Clay

Beginner to Advanced Students

You will need harvested clay, tools to dig and prepare clay, a pound of edible crickets, and basic ceramic tools.

We harvest clay and catch crickets from a local suitable area. Edible insects may also be purchased.
Students build vessels for edible insects.
Together we share a community meal of roasted crickets in sculptured containers.

Students explore the dynamics of food insecurity and inequity, sustainable practices, and literal and figurative nourishment.
We discuss the journey from seed to belly in food production, and from mud to pot in clay production.

What are the origins and travels of our food and our clay?
How have vessels changed historically, across cultures as a result of migrations, colonialism, and industrialization?
How do technologies and methods of food cultivation, preservation and storage influence vessels?
Do we select a vessel for aesthetic, functional, cultural, political, economic, and/or personal reasons?
How are vessels intersections of multiple ideas and actions?
What is the position of the artist in the modern mechanization and corporatizing of food and clay?

Students research vessels made for particular foods across histories and cultures.
Students share images and sketches of their vessel ideas.
Examples include fondue pots, tagines, bento boxes, mitad, and mortar and pestles.
Students discuss the experience of eating crickets, and the cultural, political, economic, health, and environmental impact.

From nutrient-rich soil with insects that thrive, to vessels that store and serve, to a community that sustains, we explore the multifaceted ways clay provides nourishment.
Through this process students consider our environments as sources of food and clay.
We learn to prepare workable material and understand the characteristics needed to formulate clay bodies appropriate to our vessels.
This project illustrates the clay cycle, and makes transparent our contemporary food chain, from earth to mouth, and earth to ceramic piece.
The inquisitive nature of the experience calls for a willingness to consider unforeseen possibilities.

Resource information:
Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects.
Eighty percent of the world eats insects.

My Article: Crickets and ClayIn Book: Social ObjectsFor: Socially Engaged Craft Collectiveas part of NCECA exhibition"Social Objects" at c3:initiative in Portland, OR