Where does clay come from?
For today, and a little while moving forward, clay is coming from my re-purposed kitty litter buckets.
Kitty litter buckets? Wha?
Before we dive in, let’s talk about clay stages really quick…
SLIP – liquefied clay used for joining pieces or decorating
PLASTIC – clay that is easily molded and bendable; used for hand building and throwing
LEATHERHARD – Clay that has lost some moisture; when you bend, it will be a little flexible, but will crack and or break
BONE DRY – this clay has been sitting for a while and has lost all physical moisture; very fragile
BISQUE – Clay that has had one firing
GLAZEWARE – Finished clay that has been fired to make it vitreous by a layer of glaze or other decoration
Back to our kitty litter buckets…
When you’re working with clay it is very commonplace to recycle the slop and broken pieces of greenware in a bucket or other container with water. Over a period of time, the water breaks the pieces down into a thick mess of clay, about the consistency of a thick pancake batter. To ensure a consistent mixture, we use (usually Michael) a paddle with an electric drill to mix up the particles. And then… we wait a couple of days until some water starts to pool on the surface. The water gets skimmed off and then we’re ready to start the drying process.
Here’s one of my kitty litter buckets!
I use a screened frame made from two by fours (Thank you love!). A piece of canvas goes on the top to prevent any clay from seeping through, but still allows air circulation below. (Right now it’s sitting on top of a crate.)
And here’s the frame with the clay and canvas. The clay is about 1 to 1.5 inches thick.
It will take almost a week for the moisture in the clay to evaporate enough for the clay to be usable. It will start to pull away from the canvas when it’s getting close.
Here’s the first recent batch I recycled.
This is about a pound of clay. Very suitable size for throwing a mug, a bowl.. or anything really! So now I’ve got some fantastically usable, efficiently recycled clay to play with. Once we have a wee bit more space in the garage… I’ll be able to start storing items to be bisque fired! Oh the excitement!
Have a beautiful evening!