Within the Oer project Kirstie van Noort and Lotte de Raadt investigate different possibilities for the application of iron sludge in ceramics. The iron sludge is locally sourced from water production plants in Brabant. In the future the Oer project will use iron sludge from water production plants in other locations. Each location will give a different shade of iron oxide to ceramic products of the Oer project.
Iron sludge is a natural residual material resulting from the filtration of groundwater. Iron in the groundwater oxidizes when it comes in contact with air creating a sludge with deep dark redbrown color.
The project started in 2016 in Vessem, a small village in Brabant in the Netherlands. Near Vessem one of the protected groundwater production areas of Brabant Water is located. Brabant Water is responsible for providing clean drinking water to the province. The water is pumped up from hundreds of meters below the surface which has been there already for thousands of years. The oxygen in the water has disappeared and metals like manganese and iron have been dissolved in this body of water. In order to make this water potable it undergoes an intensive filter process where these metals are taken out and iron sludge as a residual material remains.
In the Oer project the iron sludge is processed in the clay, engobes and different glazes of the different products.
from sludge to tile
The Oer tile is an earthenware tile colored with iron sludge. Iron sludge is a natural residual material of the production process of our tap water, which we obtain directly from the water production company in Eindhoven.
From sludge to tableware
In this tableware collection primal, refined and functional forms and materials relate to one of the most important resources of this planet; water. The iron sludge that is used in the clay, engobes and glazes represent the production process of potable water. Thereby this tableware brings us closer to something we often take for granted.