Processing Clay: Dug up

After collecting my clay, I broke it into very small pieces and left it to dry. After a few days, I added water to the clay, enough just to cover it. The clay must be bone dry as this is easier for the particles to break down into a slurry.

Next step  on the process, after my clay had the right consistency I placed a 40 mesh sieve on a container and plopped some of my clay mixture into the mesh and began to rub it in with a brush (Health & Safety: as the mesh is quite rough and can provoke abrasion on the skin and where other unknown material can get into your body). This was a bit of a tedious job as my clay had a bit of organic matter, like rocks and twigs. But after I went through the mixture I ended up with a nice, smooth substance. I was actually surprised with the colour, It came up with a greenish colouration. Cant wait to fire it.

On a clean, dry plaster bat, add a coil or clay so no clay with leak from the plaster. Dry plaster as a material is great to absorb water and when the consistent substance of clay in placed onto the bat it will absorb all of that moisture, how ever if left for a long period of time it will just dry the clay out and breaking the clay and adding water will be required, so no need to worry. After 2 hours i turned my clay around and place a plastic bag overnight. On the next day it had the perfect texture of clay and I just wedged it up into a lump of clay, ready to use. 
One of our projects will be testing our dug up clay. We will look into different firing temperatures (Oxidation, Reduction), water content, shrinkage and properties of the clay (Iron content). Im intrigued to see the different colours it will fire to or perhaps turning it into a glaze. Isn’t clay just fascinating. The endless possibilities and results a piece of clay from a geological place be transformed dependent from a range of factors. Perhaps a bit too daunting.


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BA (Hons) Final Year Ceramics student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Love experimenting with material and techniques and work on a range of medium.

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