Monday, September 26, 2011


Though I'm a resident of Pennsylvania, it wasn't until I started working on a project in the Catskills that the practice of fracking became a common topic.  The part of the Catskills where we are working is full of shale. It wasn't clear what type it was, leaving me to wonder: is that the Marcellus? What is this stuff? Is it safe? What makes Marcellus so different from other rock formations?

Dusty red and pink shale-bed roads and driveways are common in that part of Sullivan County. Outcroppings line the highways.  After one particularly wet week, I recognized that the fine creamy silt settling in puddles and along the roadside was clay. Shale, I learned, makes excellent clay. 

Questions resurfaced and I still had no answers. What is this stuff? Is it Marcellus? Is it safe to use? How do you made into a usable ceramic clay? Would the final product be foodsafe? What could I make with it? 

This site documents the experiments, information, stories and lessons I've learned through this ongoing investigation into the use of Marcellus Shale as a material.