© 2012 barbara.obata@gmail.com Chalk manufactured in France, Korea and Indonesia!

Drawing Experiment #15: Chalk: A Celebration of the Coccolith

Chalk! A celebration of this ancient substance, produced by the potent and ever so simple single-cell plankton, the coccolithophore. Also a response to Mike Daisey’s dark ode to Apple: come into the light and embrace this modest, charming tool.  Talk about unibody, a stick of chalk is not only smooth as silk, it is truly solid to the core.  Breakage?  Not to worry, .79 gets you 12 uniform and flawless sticks.

The view from Studio 106: The Legend of Chalk diagram.

About the reference to Mr. Daisey’s episode…   It’s  how Daisey talks about his intimacy with his Apple devices, that unibody, the magically seamless construction and then finding how this artful object gets pieced together in a very particular  environment: “No matter how complex your electronics are, they are assembled by thousands and thousands of tiny little fingers working in concert. And in those vast spaces, the only sound is the sound of bodies in constant, unending motion…”

So, in answer, I ask you to consider chalk. Calcium Carbonate, aka shells, and so benign it’s used in toothpaste. As for packaged chalk, mine say made in Korea, France, and Indonesia.  .79 per package.  Cool, slick, and available at every office supply store.  I can’t talk about the working conditions at the chalk factories, but I’m hoping they’re as no-impact as the substance itself, and I’m really hoping those workers are allowed to talk on the line.  And unlike an iPhone or iPad, you can make it yourself!


Chalk Recipe:

pick up old bits of plaster.  pick up old bits of clay.  voila — chalk.


mix up plaster and mold into sticks.  or mold clay into sticks and dry for 1 day.  voila, chalk again!

Pretty much any way you mix up plaster, clay, or both will make chalk.  Mix in colored paint to make colored chalk.  Voila, chalk again!



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