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Clay Storage For The Summer Suggestions?

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#1 longmountainart

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:01 AM

Hi all!  I am a high school art teacher with a very productive ceramics class.  I have been reclaiming and reclaiming and will need to store the reclaimed moist clay over the summer.  Currently I am double bagging in the clay bags from ordered clay I had previously.  I am wondering is this enough to keep all my hard work from drying out?  The room I have is currently air conditioned and will be over the summer as well.  I won't be able to check on it either as the school is pretty much closed to me for the most part.  What ways do you store your moist clay long term, like about 2-2 1/2 mos?



#2 PSC

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:49 AM

5 gallon bucket and lid, inch of water in the bottom of bucket, place your double bagged bags of clay in bucket, seal lid tightly. It will smell a bit when you open after summer so do it when the students aren't around to say 'ew'.

Funny story about classroom clay storage. A teacher i had in college also taught the pottery section of the high school art classes so would be away for the high school classroom a couple of months at a time each 18 weeks til the art class would get to the pottery part of the semester. He'd carefully pack away his clay slurry in a bucket in a unused corner of the room til he would return to teach. One year the school got a new teacher, he came back to teach his section on pottery to find his stored clay gone. The new teacher proudly told him about finding the stinky 'spoiled' clay and saved him the bother of dealing with it and threw it away.

So lesson here is label that clay bucket and maybe write 'do not throw away' on it too.

#3 Pres

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 11:33 AM

I recycled clay every year, and stored it in 55 gal rubbermaid trash cans with lids. I put very damp towels over top of the unwrapped clay and put the lid on tightly. The clay was excellent by the time we got back from the Summer, and I always started classes with the recycle as clay is made in the Summer to match your order, and not aged very much. I did not leave any slop buckets over the Summer as with the Walker pugmill, anything would go through it and come out well after a run or two. As my classes ended construction two weeks before class out, we had plenty of time to recycle and store the clay.


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#4 TJR

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:09 PM

Hey, there. I just wedged a bunch of clay this morning.

I have a square plastic basin that I put all clay scraps in at the end of each class. I place an inch of water in the basin, slosh it around and pour it out. Usually I pour the water into cottage cheese containers for slip for the next class.

Note, you don't want to leave the clay sitting in water as it breaks down. You only want to wet the surface and decant the water.

You put all of this clay into a clay bag and twist the neck.Let sit for a couple of days and then you can cut wedge it. I only use this reclaim clay for handbuilding. Works great.

If its the end of term, you can double bag it with twist ties.I moved away from the big buckets of clay scraps long ago in 1975 when I left art school.

TJR



#5 williamt

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 04:45 PM

You didn't say if your reclaimed was pugged or wedged together or just placed loosely in the bags. The less surface area,the better. If it's pretty moist, and wedged or pugged, and you've gotten most of the air out of the bags, it will probably stay moist for the 2 or so months you are away. I've got a bag of local, dug, hand processed clay that has been sitting in a bag with no attention for several years and it is still quite moist. Also have scrapes in a bucket, with a tight lid, that I can dig into and throw "marbled" clay from - it's about 6 months old.
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#6 TJR

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 12:58 PM

You didn't say if your reclaimed was pugged or wedged together or just placed loosely in the bags. The less surface area,the better. If it's pretty moist, and wedged or pugged, and you've gotten most of the air out of the bags, it will probably stay moist for the 2 or so months you are away. I've got a bag of local, dug, hand processed clay that has been sitting in a bag with no attention for several years and it is still quite moist. Also have scrapes in a bucket, with a tight lid, that I can dig into and throw "marbled" clay from - it's about 6 months old.

You want a lot of surface area. So, when the students put their clay in the plastic basin, you want it in small pieces. They like to squeeze it all together. You want to separate the big lumps. Then you slosh water around[about an inch in the bottom to get everything wet.

You bag it, wait a couple of days and then cut slap wedge it. If you don't want to wedge, just double bag it over the summer, and the clay will even itself out as to hard and soft bits.

TJR.



#7 Benzine

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:14 PM

Too bad all art materials aren't as recyclable as clay...

I also have students put all the reclaim scraps into a large bin, like Pres. Anyone have an idea approximately how much one of those weighs, filled to capacity? Students always ask.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#8 TJR

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 07:41 AM

Too bad all art materials aren't as recyclable as clay...

I also have students put all the reclaim scraps into a large bin, like Pres. Anyone have an idea approximately how much one of those weighs, filled to capacity? Students always ask.

500 lbs? Just guessing. It might be male answer syndrome. At this point you could make something up. You're the teacher, and besides, who is going to weigh it?

I am just being facetious here.

TJR.



#9 Stellaria

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 08:08 AM

Figure out the cubic dimensions of a 25lb block of clay, then figure out the cubic volume of the container. Extrapolate from there.
Or tell your students to figure it out :) They're supposed to be able to do stuff like that, right?

#10 Benzine

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 02:31 PM

500 lbs? Just guessing. It might be male answer syndrome. At this point you could make something up. You're the teacher, and besides, who is going to weigh it?
I am just being facetious here.
TJR.

  

"Make something up", the core of my teaching philosophy.

Figure out the cubic dimensions of a 25lb block of clay, then figure out the cubic volume of the container. Extrapolate from there.
Or tell your students to figure it out :) They're supposed to be able to do stuff like that, right?


The students SHOULD be able to figure that out, because we are supposed to be making them problem solvers. However, when I have my Drawing class, use simple proportions, to enlarge things, they get confused and freak out. Heck, having them use a ruler for measurements, is a chore for some of them.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#11 Stellaria

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 02:38 PM

Oh jeez. Figuring out stuff like that was EXCITING to me at that age. Actually discovering what math was used for in art? So much fun! I spent an entire year basing nearly everything I did on geometric constructions learned in geometry class. I learned how to use algebra to write plug-in-the-formula knitting patterns, too.

Kids these days. *shakes my head*

#12 Pres

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 03:42 PM

As far as my way of guesstimation I would use the clay bag aproach. I can visualize the size of a bag, and I can figure out how many bags will go into a bin if I saw your bin.

 

Rulers-one of the first lessons I taught to Art 1 was a guided lesson on the construction of a portfolio. I used this lesson for several things: assess their ability to follow precise oral and written directions correctly, their ability to correctly measure inch, 1/2 inch, and 1/4 inch, their ability to use simple tools like scissors, rulers, and a pencil to mark straight lines on a 30" by 40" sheet of kraft paper. Interesting how some could have the entire thing done in a period, and others would take 3!

 

Proportions! Oh don't get me started. I taught a series of slab lessons over the years where the first step was an approved sketch. With this sketch, I taught them how to use one short section in the sketch as an "x" length. Measure the height and width of the project idea, lets say spirit house, then determine how large they wanted it to be. Use x and the number of X's to enlarge their sketch and make their slab sizes.  Took a while, but in the end they were able to do it. They would also use this in their final projects.


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#13 Benzine

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 07:13 PM

I think I need to work my reclaim a bit before, I let it "stew" for the summer. I may portion it out, weigh each chunk, and add it up.

Pres, I like the intro to the ruler idea. In my beginning class, we don't get to rulers until linear perspective. That's where I go over the use of them. I am still surprised they don't know more, by the time they get to me. They would have had ten years of Math, Science and Middle School Industrial Tech, yes Pres we still offer it.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#14 Pres

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 11:48 PM

When I left they did the same in JHS. I believe it a shame that kids going to college or other school supposedly in search of the American Dream to buy a house, don't/won't know how to take care of it. MMM maybe homes are going the way of the cars!


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#15 Benzine

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:35 AM

I agree Pres. We aren't really teaching these kids "To fish", anymore. Not enough application of skills. Sure, they know how to look something up, but not how to use it. I've heard students, and even some educators, say that we shouldn't worry so much about recall anymore, because of the easy access to information, at our finger tips. My response has, and continues to be, what's faster, looking something up, or just knowing it? Sure, on some things, like with Math and Science equations, knowing how to use them, is more important than remembering all of them. But with many things, recall is necessary.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#16 ashraf elhamy

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 11:04 AM

I think if you have a plastic container well sealed will be enough

#17 PSC

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 11:23 AM

Sure, they know how to look something up, but not how to use it. I've heard students, and even some educators, say that we shouldn't worry so much about recall anymore, because of the easy access to information, at our finger tips. My response has, and continues to be, what's faster, looking something up, or just knowing it? Sure, on some things, like with Math and Science equations, knowing how to use them, is more important than remembering all of them. But with many things, recall is necessary.


When the zombie apocalypse comes information will be a lot harder to come by...i'm pretty sure the internet will fail and a trip to the library will involve someone getting their brains eaten. ;)




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