Thursday, 5 September 2013

My week with clay...

This week I have photographed my work in steps to see the processes that I take to create my work...

Glazing on the left and on the right my little kiln loaded and ready to heat up...    

        Below are the results of the glaze firing above... ( these are the
         pieces I also showed you in last weeks blog.)


Next project for the week was to reclaim my scraps of clay...I don't have a pug mill #SIGH....
So I am left to reclaim the only way I know how.... with blood sweat and tears ! ( Not really) :)
Left to right-
A bucket of scraps that have soaked until all the clay has softened, this is over a couple 
of weeks with a plastic bag over the top and then a towel to soak the excess 
moisture up... 
The hammer drill then gets a work out with a paint stirring attachment to
Bring all lumps and bumps back together. Then I cover with a towel again and 
leave for a day or two or longer depending on the moisture level before the next step...

 Now to start with the bucket of clay, I have fibre cement boards that I use, which
I find helps absorb the moisture out of the clay..
I lay the clay out on the boards and then level it. And leave it to start drying.
Sometimes I lay another sheet of fibre cement board on top this helps to speed
The process a little but really it is something that just takes time...
After a day in the sun I divide it up as you can see and start to turn it 
and sandwich it in between boards, and basically just keep rotating them...
I just go by touch and if it seems to be dry enough and not to tacky to
Touch. I begin putting pieces together getting ready for wedging....
Wedging again on fibre cement board as it it helps again with the excess moisture.
If it sticks to the board as it can, I just use a palette knife/ paint scrapper to lift and continue
Wedging until I can form a rams head with a smooth surface. Then I splice
With a a cutting wire just to make sure there are no air bubbles... 
When I'm happy with its consistency I start to layer it into plastic containers,
Lined with plastic. Laying a piece of plastic in between layers.... I leave it to sit for 
another few days to a week and then wedge again before I get ready to throw
On the wheel with it again... It takes time but is a great feeling knowing that
You are cutting down on waste, and it is lovely to use not as hard as some of the 
Bought bagged clay can be... 
Below are some new platters that I also worked on, freshly thrown and just sitting out
Slowly drying. I cover with plastic overnight and then I get ready to trim feet on them...
The vase in the. Background I will. Be incising to make into one of. My candle
     Below are the steps that I take to trim... Firstly I check the thickness of the base so 
I have an idea of where I want to trim to. Setting the platter on the wheel centred, 
Then I trim the sides and angle in the top edge for the start of the foot, remembering 
The visual I took of the excess to be trimmed before I started. Marking
The bottom surface with the outside foot and the centre footing. I use the width of
My trimming tool as a guide as to how deep I want to set my foot. It allows for approximately
1millimetre glaze layer and maybe 2 millimetre clearance so that I can glaze the bottoms
Of my platters. For my pieces I feel it is the finishing touch... The bottoms are just as 
Important as the inside surface in look and function so that it is supported and doesn't 
Scratch the surface of bench tops.... And it doesn't hurt to look pretty! Lol 
      This part has to be done so carefully. Using two hands on the trimming tool and in a
Flowing motion I trim from outside to inside trimming a little at a time so that as not to
Accidentally go through the base. My bases are thrown and generally are taken off the wheel at
About 1.5 to 2 centimetres to allow for trimming of the feet. To thin and it can allow for warpage 
When firing, two thick and it is heavy. 
           This is another platter...
      Below is showing the trimming complete and just a final sponging with a damp 
          Sponge to compress and fill any slight open pores of the clay...
                                And here is the base of one of my platters glazed.....

So that has been my week in the studio, it was very productive and it feels
Great being able to see my work in photos... Makes me see how much work I really
Have done LOL.... I hope you have all had a great creative week, thanks for stopping by...
Mudcolony is open and other clay bloggers are showing what they have been up to
So I'm heading over there to see what everyone's been up too....


  1. Loved all these process photos Annie!
    Great to see an insight into how your reclaim and turn platters :)
    I have some reclaiming to do over the weekend too - its a long process but as you wrote, definitely worth it!!
    Cheers, Rachel

  2. What a great post Annie , thanks for all those images !! I know how much time goes into recycling clay AND putting together such a detailed post - very insightful !
    You have really hit your straps haven't you , full steam ahead !!!
    And here's to the warmer weather coming our way soon to make that recycling process even FASTER !!
    x AC