Gayle Singer - 2011
Water Filter Exhibition - 2008
Water Filter Exhibition
Purifying Water Through Pottery
by Kenny Ryan
The University of Dallas hosted a traveling art exhibit Potable Art in 2008. The exhibit
consisted of a collection of pottery from students, professors and artists around
the county and serves as a work of art and a source of clean water.
The idea behind the show is that a group of ceramic artists developed a very simple
point-of-use ceramic water purification system. The pottery goes to areas around the
nation and the world where potable water isn't in supply.
The number one killer of children world-wide is diarrhea caused by unsanitary drinking
water. An organization known as "Potters for Peace" is working to spread this ceramic technology around the globe to save lives.
"Manny Hernandes at Northern Illinois University is the technical mastermind behind
creating the kilns, which we use to fire the filters, and the press used to create
the pottery," said Steven Carpenter, associate professor of art and education and
visual culture at Texas A & M. "[He also helped] with some of the technology in the
application of silver to make it work."
The water-filtering pottery is created by mixing together clay, sawdust and colloidal
silver. When the pottery is fired in the kiln the sawdust burns out. This leaves microscopic
holes which are too small for bacteria to fit through without being killed by the
"Silver is a natural bactericide which has been used for years to clean water," Catherine
Hastedt said. " It can still be found purifying water on airplanes today."
"They teach the local potters and attempt to create a filter press," Hastedt said.
"As long as you have clay, you can press six an hour, the whole thing costs $8 to
$15 per filter. Each filter is capable of producing a liter of clean water every one
or two hours, water which is over 99 percent pure."
Some of the art from the traveling exhibit is up for sale. The money will be used
to spread the pottery technology to communities who need it.
Gruene Texas Clay Festival - 2002