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Ellie Birkhead's essay can be found in the extract, Humble beginnings: earth, clay and minerals.
Building the Local, Thesis by Ellie Birkhead
Local production leads to diversity. It seems contradictory to say that by sticking to our roots we expand the diversity of our world. But I will explain why: when we focus specifically on what is around us and when each manufacturer uses the materials in their very own space we create variety. Taking the UK as an example of a small country with somewhat limited resources it is known that around every 25 miles you travel across the country the geology of the earth changes, from chalk to clay to granite to slate. And even if you take only one material, such as clay, the colour and the properties vary between each deposit across the country, which forces new production methods to be born. So as shown in the work of Atelier NL, and explained in the writings of Alessandro Baricco, “every clod contains the whole field, if you know how to read it”, if we all try to deeply understand our own piece of earth, yet share with others but not allow our own to be diluted maybe we can create a world revived from the standardisation and dulling of goods across our planet.
This is an extract from Ellie Birkhead's MA Social Design thesis, in association with the project Building the Local.