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  1. Thanks for all the replies, right now I'm looking at "Amaco No. 25 white art clay" and "Amaco No. 20 versa clay". Both are low firing. It's $25-30 shipped for 50 pounds (2x25 blocks) on Amazon depending on the formula. I kind of like the description of #20 versa clay "Can be used to hand-form delicate flowers paper-thin without cracking" "Versa Clay can be reworked and shaped much longer than other clays and can be pressed into molds" But only #25 white art clay specifies "Always mix dry clay in a closed polyethylene bag. Combine one pound of dry clay with four to five ounces of water or 28% water by weight. Expel air in the bag and tie opening securely with string. Knead until clay and water are mixed thoroughly. Aging 24 hours or longer improves plasticity." Is there any reason to assume that #20 can't be rehydrated to pliability like #25? Or is it likely that they both can be reconstituted, but only #25 is sold in a dry state, and therefore has instructions on reconstitution? 50 pounds is a lot of clay... but the dollar per pound cost makes it the most reasonable purchase I guess. I'm just not sure what I would do with all of it if I found I didn't like working in 3d, or didn't like the properties of the clay itself.
  2. As long as it can be rehydrated to 100% pliability almost like dough based clay I guess I wouldn't mind starting with a small 4-5 pound block of real clay. Unfortunately, being so new, I'm not even sure what I should be searching for in regards to terms. If I were to shop around on Amazon for example, what should I look for? "Pottery Clay" or "Stoneware Clay"? Does it have to be a water-based clay like WED in order to be rehydrated back to out-of-the-box pliability? Do you have any recommendations? Thanks.
  3. Not sure if this is the proper forum to be asking, but I'm a newbie looking for recommendations on reusable or non hardening clay (always pliable) that I can practice making multiple forms with before I even worry about firing any finalized pieces. I don't wanna waste any material (and consequently money) so I'm hoping to start with maybe 5 pounds of modeling/sculpting clay that I can just break down whatever figure/form I've made and start over on something new. Like a step up from play doh I suppose, but hopefully something that mimics the handling characteristics of ceramic/pottery clay that will be fired into a finished product. I've always been more into drawing/sketching and other flat forms of art, and recently have been thinking about trying sculpting/modeling, but I've never handled any type of clay, and I'm not sure where to start with there being so many choices. I also just wanna get a feel for whether I'm even capable of working in 3d without ordering a 50 pound block of something that's gonna dry up on me or be the wrong material entirely. My ultimate goal is to make my own bonsai pots that also combine elements of figurine making and sculpture. For example, maybe a four legged animal form that has the potted area for the bonsai tree built into its back, or a wooden ship, a car, maybe even small landscape scenes. Anything that has the necessary space for a bonsai tree to sit in with drainage holes at the bottom that isn't just a traditional round or rectangular pot, if that makes sense. I don't know the first thing about sculpting or figurine making, though, let alone the differences between all the materials such as stoneware, earthenware, ceramic, porcelain, china, terra cotta, etc. In the past few days I've been researching I've found there are polymer clays, oil based clays, water based clays; WED clay, plastilina, plasticine. Not to mention so many different brands; Sculpey, Van Aken, Amaco, Laguna, Sargent Art, Monster Clay, PRANG, Apoxy. It's a little overwhelming. From what little I've read, plastilina seems like a good reusable modeling clay to practice with. Does it really never dry out/harden like they claim? Does that depend on how it's stored? I'd also be satisfied with something that can be brought back to pliability with a little work, like heating/cooling or dampening. The best value I've found so far seems to be 5 pound bars of Sargent Art plastilina for $16.60 on Amazon. I've also seen 4.5 pound pound bars of Van Aken plastilina for just over $18 on Amazon. Is it worth the premium for the slightly more well known Van Aken brand? Does anyone know of any online retailers that can beat the above prices including shipping? And for anyone that has experience working with plastilina, can I expect it to handle similarly to clay that's meant to be fired for a finished piece? Or will it be like working with a whole new material? When I feel ready to start working on a final ceramic product, what type of clay should I be looking for? Some type of earthenware or stoneware clay? What's the most commonly used material for finished figurines etc. like those seen in the member gallery here? I think there may even be hybrid clays that stay pliable until baked that might suit all of my needs? On Amazon I see "Original Sculpey" which claims to stay soft until baked. It's a bit pricey at $22 for 3 pounds, though. I also see "Magic Mud" which is much cheaper, $30 for 25 pounds and claims to be air-drying, but reusable by adding water, and also can be kiln fired. Anyone have experience with these sort of general purpose clays? Are there disadvantages to them when firing, like maybe more shrinkage/warping, or not as durable when fired as traditional pottery or stoneware clay? Sorry to have so many questions in one post, but hoping to draw from the expertise of people that have worked with all these various clays so I can make better purchasing decisions. Thanks.
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