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Some More Noob Questions


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#1 joff

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:14 AM

Okay so maybe you read my other thread about a kiln. Now I'm actually messing around with some clay.

And the thing is I'm in rural Costa Rica and I can't take a class or access any kind of local resources, I've watched a lot of videos and I think I have a good grasp of what I need to accomplish. I think I'm actually doing pretty well. I'm working on centering it and opening it. Then it gets lopsided when I try to work it further.

But I think that's just practice, I've worked with my hands all my life and I know how that works.

 

But a couple questions nobody talks about in the videos.

So how much should I work the same piece of clay? The first time it was really stiff, but as I kept starting over it's gotten more and more gooey as more water has been worked in. In one sense it seems easier to work, but in another it's getting worse. What do you think? Maybe just give me a number: 3 times? 5? 10? and then should I start with a brand new piece or should I try to mix in some fresh stuff?

And then, so one video I was watching was on choosing clay

 

 

and the guy is talking about avoiding gritty clay. I only have one choice but it seems pretty gritty. Is that normal for my soft noob hands or do you think my clay is just gritty? (I'm just curious, I'll grow calluses... I can feel exactly where.)



#2 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:18 AM

Have you dug the clay out of the ground? 



#3 joff

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:25 AM

No I bought it but it's not like from a pottery supply. It's just the clay that I could get.

Does anybody know what exactly is the size of 'grit'? Like in mesh size?



#4 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:11 AM

Can you upload a picture of the bag/clay?

 

Back to the question of how many times to use it, I would say once, maybe twice if it was a little stiff and you wedge it back together to get a consistent clay. Using the clay then forming it back into a ball will make it harder to use without mixing it properly.

 

http://pottery.about...p/3wedgmeth.htm

 

To start with softer clay is easier to centre and move but as you have probably found out you can only do so much with it before it gives up.

 

To remove grit from clay you could put it though an 80 mesh sieve. There is no reason to use a grit free clay when throwing. It is personal preference, I am not sure what clay you have though and what use it is intended for.



#5 John Hertzfeld

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:11 AM

Best approach is to utilize local knowledge of local supplies if "regular" supplies are not available.

Learn what you can from the forums, and buy some books online, there are a good number of used texts out there that many of the guru here could suggest.

When you are ready to fire try the locals first again, become part of the community, help them and they will help you. Then as you get familiar with the medium, explore other firing options, buy pyrometric cones, and learn more.

This will be a slow and laborious journey, and preperation is the key to surviving any journey.

Read, read, read, fail repeatedly, do it again, read some more...

#6 Wyndham

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 07:48 AM

Your local library may have ,or access to, books and videos on pottery. It can be a tremendous help

Wyndham 



#7 joff

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 02:45 AM

thanks, everyone. 

 

Yeah I figured out that the softer clay is easier to start but falls apart pretty quick.

 

My hand is a little sore today but no big deal.
 

I don't have a camera to take a picture of the clay.

 

The local pottery village is some distance away, but I will go there soon.



#8 JBaymore

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 09:07 AM

The local pottery village is some distance away, but I will go there soon.

 

That is probably the most important thing you can do.  Build relationships there.  You'll learn scads.

 

best,

 

....................john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#9 schmism

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 09:52 AM

If i start with stiff clay that will allow me to throw larger taller items, And it fails or I am unhappy with the results, i can generally wedge up the clay a second time and throw smaller items with it. 1-2 lb bowls or mugs. If i wanted to rethrow large items with it, I have to let it set out and dry out slightly then cut/slam wedge with fresh clay to get an even consistency.

 

As to how many times you can recycle clay? if you let it dry out or going to reuse trimmings etc. After processing it correctly there is no set number of times you can reprocess clay. You can keep useing the same 50 lbs over and over indefinitely if you never fire any of it.






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