Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Now for the fun stuff...

Various clays ready for mixing
 All the clay potters use comes from our beautiful earth.  How it gets from the ground to the studio is more complicated, and potters from around the world deal with this part of the process in many different ways.  Many years ago I was a resident artist at the Baltimore Clayworks.  When I was there, I met a great Jamaican potter who used to go to Baltimore-Washington airport to dig his clay (among other places).  He would come back to the studio, and spend many hours cleaning and screening the clay to make it workable.  It was labor intensive, but he yielded beautiful results.  Many others (myself included) bought our clay from a supply company in 50 pound boxes- it was wonderfully de-aired, and ready to use.  These days, my husband and I buy our clay dry, in powdered form, and mix it together to achieve the character and properties we want.  Things we consider are temperature, color, plasticity, strength, shrinkage and coarseness.  We recently had over 5000 pounds of 50 pound bags delivered- it was then hauled down to our basement for storage- and slowly over the next 8-10 months we will use it all up!  Here are some photos to visually explain some of the process:
The dry stuff in the mixer

Clay and Water

Ready for the pugmill

Voila!

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