Thursday, November 21, 2013
Reclaiming Clay; like a slow, soupy pheonix
Tucked behind the 1970's reminiscent partitions lies a cornucopia of loaned chemicals, our own stock of chemicals, a slew of recycled Tidy Cats buckets given a new purpose, and the plaster table: a place of rejuvenation, and rebirth.
We have one large plastic waste bin in the studio for reclaim. All clay that is too wet for throwing, too hard for reworking, or that lousy-looking pot you threw last week that just isn't worth firing will go into the bucket.
It's usually partially filled with water. This will let the clay absorb the water and become a liquid slurry of clay particles.
Once it's all nearly the same consistency, we take the water off the top with a sponge or small bucket and wheel the bin behind the partitions. It then dries to a slip-like consistency.
Next, we scoop the clay onto the plaster into sort of a slab of goo. The plaster will absorb moisture from the clay. Once it stiffens, it can be kneaded into large blocks of clay, bagged, put in the reclaimed clay pile.