Mineral alchemy

I got back to the lab today, after quite a long break, spending a very pleasant hour with my friend John Tannacci, who  helped me to begin heating the ground up sandstone from the Red Rock Canyon in an electric heater that quickly got the material red hot. Following the advice of an alchemist friend we dumped the stone into distilled water, rapidly cooling it. We saw blackness within the material, then it returned to a slightly darker shade of its original brick red colour. 

In the photo, shot by John moments after I began pouring the stone into the water – it’s the second shot he took because his first one was completely wobbly, as it was such a total surprise to us that the material would be glowing red hot at the bottom of the heating unit. Awesome!

After the material has dried we will repeat this heating and cooling process until it has blackened completely- the alchemical nigredo.


About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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