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Clay and Clay Prep

Updated on June 23, 2012

Welcome

Welcome to the Kiln Goddess' Clay Pit of Clay ;) Clay is really what it is all about. This moist, slimey, muddy ball of clay is the beginning of journey. So where will your journey take you? Go grab yourself a lump of clay and find out.

Still a work in progress, suggestions and feedback appreciated.

Clay on Amazon

Clay: The History and Evolution of Humankind's Relationship with Earth's MostPrimal Element
Clay: The History and Evolution of Humankind's Relationship with Earth's MostPrimal Element

This is a fabulous book. It explores the history of mankind's relationship with clay from the time man first discovered clay and its many uses. From early mans first use in his fire pits to cook with, to modern high tech uses clay is used today, this book tells the history of man from an interesting perspective.

 

Why Wedge?

Wedging is important for two reasons. Firstly, it removes hidden air pockets out of your clay that might if not removed blow up in the kiln. Secondly, it mixes your clay making it homogenous, no drier, stiffer spots and softer, moister spots. Making your clay homogenous makes it easier to work with and lessens the chance of it cracking while drying.

The Portable Wedging Board

Necessity is the mother of invention they say and so I have always found.

My first semester teaching I found myself in need of a wedging surface. The classroom I teach in is a mixed use room and many different arts and crafts are taught in such room. The tables sadly are 8 foot folding table with slick but scarred table tops which I cover with plastic sheeting for class. Wedging and rolling out coils is impossible on such a surface. I needed a portable wedging board of some type.

I decided on canvas wrapped plywood. This will be light, portable and clay won't stick easily to it.

Needed materials:

2'x 2' piece of plywood

3'x 3' piece of canvas(12 oz duck or thicker)

heavy duty staple Gun

staples

paint or wood sealer

Directions:

Seal or paint both sides of your plywood. Let it dry completely. Now place plywood on smoothed canvas and center the wood so there is even amount of canvas on all sides. Now put a one inch fold one side of canvas. Now making sure your one inch fold stays folded, bring the side of canvas up and around the plywood. Staple thru the fold the entire length of the canvas wrapped side. Now do the same steps to the opposite side but pulling the canvas taunt before stapling. Do the same with the 2 remaining sides. Be generous with the staples. As an optional step you could add a rope handle by taking a short length of rope and knotting both ends and stapling it to the back side of your new wedging board.

Clay Never Goes Bad

Reclaim and Recycle

As long as your clay has not been fired or had contaminants introduced to it you can reuse your clay scraps and clay slurry to make more clay.

Reclaiming is low tech and you do not need anything more than a bucket and an old pillowcase to recycle on a small scale. Larger scale recycling can be done with a clay mixer and/or pugger but for the hobbiest or the clay artist just getting established, they are quite expensive items.

Great Clay Books on Amazon

Clay and Glazes for the Potter
Clay and Glazes for the Potter

Great book. Lots of info. More than you need know.

 

I welcome your feedback. Would you like something added? Know a good link or book? Did I manage to misspell something? Did you find a dead link? Let me know, afterall this Kiln Goddess isn't all knowing ;-)

Suggestions and Feedback

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      KilnGoddess 6 years ago

      @anonymous: As long as you haven't contaminated the clay with glaze, plaster, cement, or other things you rinse. I use a bucket beside my wheel to rinse off my tools and pour my slurry and when it gets full enough to make a batch of clay I'll pour off the excess water and pour it into a pillow case and dry the clay to a wedging consistency.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi! I'm new to throwing and I have a question about recycling clay. It is possible to reuse the clay that gathers in the bottom of my rinsing bucket that lives in my sink, where I clean my tools and trays? Thank you for your help!