What does Fracking Mean? -
In the Marcellus shale region in Pennsylvania, it means more uses for the arts. There have been plenty of blog posts, letters to editors and newspaper articles that cover the opportunities offered by pumping what is in fracking fluid into the Marcellus Formation to release natural gas. However, one artist is trying to put the shale to another use: making ceramic clay.
Artist Jennie Shanker, a Pennsylvania resident, has created a blog to document her efforts to turn the shale into a workable clay. She notes that the experiment carried some concerns – specifically whether the rock and clay she extracted would be radioactive.
To soothe her worries, she brought some samples to geologists at Temple University, who tested the rock and clay. They told her that although “there is a level of radioactivity in the Marcellus, as there is in many other rocks …the level was of little concern as far as they were concerned.”
In a note to New York Times blogger Andrew Revkin, Shanker explained more about her project:
“I’m actually a sculptor who’s learning about ceramics through this project, but there are many ceramicists apparently who are committed to working with materials they’ve made themselves … I’ve come to realize that through an understanding of what existed in their surroundings, artists in the past had a much closer relationship to their medium, and much greater control of their materials.”
Sources: The Marcellus Clay Experiment