Connecting with Clay

Making meaning with the more than human world

Clay is a naturally sustainable resource as it is part of the earth and can be found in most backyards and bush trails. Sourcing clay from Country allows us to learn alongside nature, connects us with clay’s stories, and helps us understand its entanglement. Finding clay in Country promotes questions and enables our learning to be deepened. We can find clay, soak clay, mould clay, pinch clay, connect with clay relationally, and start to make meaning of the world around us. We begin to understand clay and how it makes up part of our earth, part of our Country and part of us. Water allows the clay to be soft, smooth, and silky, clay can travel on clothes and under boots, and clay can be thin, thick, hard, sticky and moulded into all shapes. Clay changes due to the seasons, ages, weathers, remembers and is entangled with other elements such as sand, rock, shell, and other organisms. This entanglement of ecology allows our minds to question, wonder, and connect to clay. Learning is extended, and inquiries are endless. When clay is used in a classroom, it generally comes pre-packaged in plastic. It is clean, smooth, and pliable. Stripping us of understanding and knowing clay, stopping us from asking questions relating to Country and cutting our thought process short, leaving us with a fabricated material with no history and no story. A relational learning experience is cut short and reduced for the product’s sake (Pacini-Ketchabaw and Bowcher, 2019).