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"gemstone" Tag


Fordite: the post-industrial agate


Friday, May 19, 2017

Skærmbillede 2017-05-27 kl. 19.20.22

Fordite is a material left over from when car manufactures used to paint by hand. It is an incidental leftover material. Fordite comes from layers of paint being sprayed on top of each other on the bed the car chassis would sit on when its was painted.
 

Fordite_Carplant Skærmbillede 2017-05-19 kl. 15.06.23

It can be found mostly in America, especially in Detroit were all the old great car-factories were. The layers were hardened repeatedly in the ovens that the car bodies went into to cure the paint. Eventually the paint would layer up so much that it had to be chipped off. The practice of spray-painting by hand started in the 1920s and stopped in the 1970s when the process was automated. Because of this fordite has gotten a nostalgic appeal, with people also remembering their old cars. Also it means that its finite with people looking around the ruins of old factories to find it. All the layers of different coloured paint end up making a unique looking product, striped, almost psychedelic to look at. Its hardness makes it possible to cut up and polish, making it ideal for things such as jewellery.

The name Fordite is of course made up, nobody is sure where it originates from. Maybe Ford-ite. Its also called other names like motor-agate, Detroit-agate. Agate is a gemstone, where the slow accumulation of sedimentary layers creates beautiful patterns and colours.

In the ‘Designing the Surface‘ exhibition, Fordite is in the second act of the “lustre” section. Part of the”pearly entourage” playing the character of the ‘The Derivative’. Lustre is a type of metallic glaze, that’s originates from the middles east and has been around for almost a thousand years. It is the first enamel if you will, while the car paint might be the last.

unnamed (1) DSC0475

raw fordite v.s cut and polished fordite.[x]

A new material is rare, and what peaked my interest, is that fordite is a new material born out of chance. An accidental waste product. Alas it had to take some time before it was perceived as something much more precious, and beautiful.

I’m fascinated by idea that something like a massive industrial operation, such as the ford factories can leave something as complex and beautiful behind. I hope in the future that our current wasteland of factories might leave small nuggets of beauty like this behind in the rubble.

raw Fordite v.s cut and polished fordite.

 


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