rocks as rocks

Julia Chang



an index of geological specimens formed through thermal and mechanical processes, revealing new potentials for ground-based materials to be applied in ceramic practice

rocks as rocks, partial installation view

rocks as rocks examines personal connections between people to people and people to the earth specifically through geological materials. It is a body of work rooted in ceramic practice that identifies various modes of exchange crucial to our individual and collective world-building. By exploring the potentials of a selection of earth artifacts as both traditional and non-traditional ceramic ingredients, my project emphasizes, through acts of gathering and gifting, the role of our host planet as an active force, labourer, and maker.

Nearly all materials used in ceramics are derived from rocks. The refining process of rocks to purify and isolate compounds, includes the use of heat and pressure to decompose geological materials. Similar forces, at a much greater scale, were exerted by the earth in the formation of the raw materials.

25 types of raw materials are refined at a personal scale to form 50 specimens, half of which are fired to cone 6 (1000°C) oxidation and the other half to cone 10 (1280°C) reduction. A number of the materials were gifted to me by generous friends and mentors, and underscore an accumulation of human connections through tangible symbols. It is a moment of reflection on the connections between my homeland, Taiwan, the various lands I’ve lived on, and the land on which I conduct my studies: belonging to Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and other Coast Salish peoples.

The collection of geological materials from different lands expressed as ceramic objects delivers an organized table of experiments seeking to make sense of a gradient of material properties. Through this research, the boundaries between standardized classifications of clay bodies and glaze materials are blurred.

It is also a moment to reflect on the multitude of connections I’ve made throughout my life, as well as showing gratitude to all the people, places, and things.

rock as rocks was installed by Olivia, with materials given to me by D’Arcy, Julie, Rene, and Kome.
Writing edited by Martina.

Julia Chang

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Julia Chang is an interdisciplinary artist and architect currently investigating the spatial relationships between people and places through ground-based materials. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, She has lived in seven cities across four continents and is, at the moment, based on the unceded traditional territory of the Semiahmoo, Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations (also known as Surrey, BC).
Besides a succinct ceramic practice, Julia also uses photography to understand, sometimes in combination with ceramics, the present activation of personal familiarity and future anticipation of objects and moments.
Julia holds a Master of Architecture from McGill University and receives her Bachelor of Fine Arts in May 2023.

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