I'm now onto Mark II of a press mould (I broke Mark I three times), but I'm having a problem with the clay.
It's terracotta, and I have no idea of it's make or where it came from or anything about it, other than it was given to me last summer, rock solid, in a small dustbin. When I got it home I topped the bin up with water and left it. It's now very wet, so I've dug some out and left it on a load of wooden throwing bats to dry out.
If I let it dry too much, I can't work it. If it's anything less dry it's the stickiest stuff I've ever come across. It sticks to everything except my press-mould. It sticks to me so much I have trouble squishing it into the mould. I don't want to let it dry too much as the mould is casting plaster and I don't want to break another one, although this is three times thicker than the original.
I'd be grateful for any tips as to what I can do with this clay to stop it sticking to me. It's so bad I've had to knead/wedge it wrapped in a cloth.
For info, here is a picture of the mould, I spent a whole day carving it, which is something I'd never done before, so feeling quite pleased with the result. The deepest surfaces are not very level, but the end result can be flatten with a bit of wet'n'dry, and the results are good.