The Collector’s Box

— Soil Projects

Atelier NL was asked by geologist Richard Fortey to visualize the material transformation of one square meter of earth from Grym’s Dyke Wood. In the hands of Atelier NL, the native earth and stone yeilded a unique array of pigments, ceramics, and glass. The flint sparked as it was crushed and ground into a fine powder. When exposed to high temperatures, the flint powder melted into white, green, and bluish glass. The tough earth, kneaded, cleaned, and dried, was then exposed to a gradation of extreme temperatures. A bold array of pigments and ceramic tiles resulted, ranging from warm creamy brown to rich peat. In one small patch of ground in Grym’s Dyke Wood, Atelier NL found all of the resources to make a variety of paints, pigments, ceramic tiles, and glass.

Atelier NL was invited to explore the riches of Grimm's Dyke Wood for Richard Fortey’s new book, The Wood for the Trees. Fortey is a career palaeontologist for the Natural History Museum in London, television presenter on the BBC, and has served as president of the Geological Society of London. Based on explorations of his land, Atelier NL made glass from flint, ceramic from clay, and created a specialized collector’s box that was featured in the book. Fortey's approach to geology and botany is closely related to Atelier NL's design methodology. He explores the stories of land - and Atelier NL visualizes them by design. Since their original meeting in London in 2009, Atelier NL and Richard Fortey have been collaborators through a shared passion for nature and the stories it has to tell.