Finding Local Clay – Not so Easy

Salida is a lovely natural setting with several converging mountain ranges that boast 15 peaks that reach over 14,000 feet in elevation. The Arkansas River winds its way through the valley and along the downtown of Salida.  The terrain around the river is very rocky.  When talking to locals about my project I heard several times “Oh you don’t want this clay.  It doesn’t last!  All of our brick from this area crumbles.”  Perfect I say.  After a couple conversations, even one a local potter, I have had no success.  This is day three of my halfhearted search.  A morning and early afternoon of hiking today.  Going up the “S” hill to consider volcanic ash as a packing substance with my assigned art buddies, one of whom is a geologist (poet, photographer, woodworker, and local food advocate).  Getting my lay of the area and just plain chilling with local beer from Amicas, have all been priorities.

I found a geologic map of Chaffee County which is a good lead.   This came from a variety of links following the  suggestion of husband Paul Bouzide to Google “clay deposits Salida.”  I also have the amazing fortune of being housed for this residency with a scientist Wendy J. Pabich PhD and Water Diva.  She and I spent some time Googling for Soil Conservation and Geologic Society plates.

More to come tomorrow after I meet with the Chaffee County Soil Conservation Service.  I am reminded of my other amazing housemate and artist Michael Frels’ sentiment.  “It is all art.”