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Bone Dry Clay Quandry


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#1 Sylvia Caplan Rawley

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:46 PM

Posted ImageA year and a half ago I became ill and was no longer able to work in my studio. I've been a clay artist for over 25 years and have missed my "mud" terribly. Fortunately, at the moment, I am reestablishing my studio and am very excited about getting back into the part of my life that is creative. During this last year and a half, many boxes of clay (low fire, red, white, some raku, etc.) have been drying up almost as quickly as I have been. Presently, I can no longer do very strenuous work or lift heavy weights. So, I will do anything and everything possible for as long as possible. In the meantime, these boxes are staring at me and I don't know what to do. There is too much to work by hand and I don't have a pugger. Is it possible to use these bone hard 25 lb. blocks of clay in sculpture, carving, fragments, etc.? Any ideas you may have would be most appreciated. Thanks, and thank you Ceramic Arts Daily for this wonderful forum.
Sylvia Rawley


#2 Chris Campbell

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 05:12 PM

Get those boxes of clay out of range of your eyes!!
Why don't you just use the blocks to build a cool, multi-colored clay wall in your yard?
Plant some ivy in the cracks and water it some. Might be interesting.

Clay is cheap.
Your back, your wrists, your health and your mind are worth more than it is.
After all the work you have done getting your studio ready, you deserve a gift of fresh, soft clay.
Lovely, friendly clay to make your life easier ...

Enjoy!
Chris

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#3 Sylvia Caplan Rawley

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 06:45 PM

Get those boxes of clay out of range of your eyes!!
Why don't you just use the blocks to build a cool, multi-colored clay wall in your yard?
Plant some ivy in the cracks and water it some. Might be interesting.

Clay is cheap.
Your back, your wrists, your health and your mind are worth more than it is.
After all the work you have done getting your studio ready, you deserve a gift of fresh, soft clay.
Lovely, friendly clay to make your life easier ...

Enjoy!
Chris



Chris, Thank you so much....for taking the time to respond and for your insight into my situation. While I have rearranged my priority list in the last 18 months, I seem to have left the common sense that relates to my studio outside the door. Of course, you are right. For the first time in years, I have no idea what sculptures, mixed media or weird art I will be doing....and this is both liberating and exciting. I am looking forward to new discoveries about my work and myself. Please know that you "touched home base" with this one.
Thanks again,
Sylvia

#4 Chris Campbell

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:33 PM

Good to hear!
I hope you enjoy every minute of your journey of re-discovery ...

chris

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http://www.ccpottery.com/

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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#5 Jacqui

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:45 AM

I don't agree that recycling clay has to be messy or hurt one too much. I will always have a little pain wedging clay due to a bad wrist breakage.
What I do with hard clay is make sure I have two or even three bags around the clay, a hard cement surface and a hammer. I then hammer away at the clay bag while kneeling on a cushion, toss the contents of the bag in an ice-cream container / whatever and cover with water and leave it till it has totally soaked up all the water( mine usually sits for days), if there is excess pour it off then I have a plank covered in canvas material( nailed and taught over plank) ready and waiting, I slop the wet lumpy clay on the plank, it shouldn't stand higher than 2/3 cm while drying a bit, I also loosen any lumps by pressing my fingers in all ten at a time, like piano playing. If there is sun you can speed the process along by moving the plank outside.
From there you just wedge as much as you can at a time, and store in bags again. Clay in South Africa is rather costly, especially porcelain. If this is going to hurt then I suggest doing it with someone or building that dissolving wall ;)

#6 Brenda Neall

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:50 AM

I live in a small town that is a ferry ride and a one hour drive from the closest pottery supply outlet, so I buy several boxes of clay at a time. This means my clay is often too hard by the time I get down to the last 3 or 4 boxes. If your clay is not yet rock hard, my method of reclaiming and softening clay might work for you. You will need a cutoff wire, old cotton t-shirts cut open so they will lie flat, an old cookie sheet (larger the better) and plastic wrap. Using a cutoff wire, cut the clay into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices. Line the cookie sheet with a large piece of plastic wrap followed by a layer of soaking wet t-shirt. Lay the first layer of clay slices on the fabric, spray with water and then put another layer of water soaked fabric over the clay layer. Repeat the process until you have a total of 3 layers of clay slices (equivalent to 1 bag of clay). Cover the final layer of clay with soaked fabric and then wrap the whole works up in the underlying plastic and let it sit for a couple of days - and then wedge 'er up. I slam wedge as I find it is easier on my wrists and hands.




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