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Tone9Solar

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  1. Digging Up Raw Clay!

    Well, so far I have cleaned the clay I found. At the moment it is settling in a bucket. I'll come back to it in a few days. Because I couldn't wait, I took a piece of clay and cleaned it by hand before leaving the rest to settle. I've mixed it with some fine sand and made a few things to see how it would react. So far it isn't cracking but I think it does have a tad too much sand. I do not have my own kiln yet, but I do have access to one so I won't be able to test fire it yet. Perhaps in a few weeks. Also, I do not have a chance to test it with cones. I hand my pieces over to someone to be fired and only get them back once they're done. (Which is why I cant wait to get my own kiln!) I am extremely curious what will happen with my piece once it's been fired. I am not entirely satisfied with the viscosity at the moment but I strongly suspect this is due to too much sand. As I have mentioned before, I cannot buy any clay or clay additives here so adding fire-clay would mean me grinding bricks myself by hand which is something I rather not do. I've added coal to my clay once and it was a very time consuming process to get it grinded. The work turned out wonderful b.t.w., as light as a feather! So for now I have to wait to fire my piece and for the rest of the clay to settle. Once that is done I have to be careful about the amount of sand I add. Anyone know the relation of sand to clay by any chance?Here are a few development pics!
  2. Digging Up Raw Clay!

    Hi all, I live in South America, Suriname. Unlike in the States, there is no possibility to buy clay here. In fact I cannot buy any clay or clay accessories anywhere. There is a small sculpting community and the only clay we can get is that dug up from old mines. It comes to us extremely raw after which we must prepare it for work which is a long process that takes up to a month. Our clay chamber is first filled with large clay deposits which are mixed with all sorts of rocks, stones etc. We are talking large quantities here! Imagine a room of 5m by 6m filled with large rocky chunks of clay. We than take a portion we can handle a put it in a large vat filled with water. We then wait for the clay to dissolve and separate from all the other materials e.g. rocks and stones. After a week or two we are ready for the next step. The separated raw clay is placed in yet another tray in order to dry. At this point the clay is far from being clean mind you. It it still filled with millions of tiny stones. Once it has dried enough we pack it in manageable packages we can take home and individually clean further before we start using it. There are always stones left in the clay, as it is virtually impossible to completely clean it by hand, so once you have began working on a project you continually run into stones. Smooth surfaces and sharp straight line for instance are therefore very difficult to maintain as you always run into a stone that ruins it. All this aside it is good quality clay, the problem is we are still forced to process it by hand rather than machinery. I see all this beautiful clay used by everyone visiting the site and i truly envy you!I often read someone wrote how important it is to choose the right clay and I laugh to myself. Hehe.....I wish I had that choice!Anyway....the reason I am posting is the following. I live next to the river and we are currently building a house. While we were building a dam, we stumbled upon a large deposit of clay. This clay however is not the orange clay I am used to, it is entirely gray almost black. It is almost completely smooth with no stones whatsoever. Of course, as you can imagine after my long story, I am ecstatic!This saves me so much time in cleaning!However, as I do not really know that much about types of clay etc., I do not know if it is really good clay and if I can use it for my sculpting or what I should do with it before I try to do so. I've never come across such clean clay so I am a bit baffled and honestly can't believe my luck. It's just too good to be true!I would really appreciate it if tips and advice on what I should or could do, and advice on what sort of clay I am dealing with here. I it's any help, I can always post some more pics as well. I hope you can help! Ira
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