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The trouble with clay...

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The trouble with clay...

Postby wavelength » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:15 am

I'm having trouble with my clay. It won't do as it's told.

Seriously, when I opened the package, I was relieved to see, feel, and smell the moisture inside, but was soon disappointed afterwards. I tried to roll out my brick of clay, and it started to crumble into many pieces. So I added water and rubbed it down as I rolled it out, and that didn't really work out either.

So then I tried to kneed it like dough. This is what I ended up with:

Image

It broke apart even more.

What I'm trying to do it roll it out to an approximate A4 page size, probably about 3/4 a centimetre thick, so I can carve a relief out of it once it's dry.

Can anyone help me with this? I'm not sure how to properly handle this clay.
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Re: The trouble with clay...

Postby wavelength » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:40 pm

Anyone?
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Re: The trouble with clay...

Postby Singular » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:27 am

Well the first question I have is what type of clay are you using?
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Re: The trouble with clay...

Postby wavelength » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:15 am

I assume it's just generic air drying clay. I'm sorry, but I'm no expert. It wasn't expensive, and it didn't come from a specialist. Just the type of stuff you'd find next to colourful play-do in a shop. It's no where near the quality I used to get in art school, and it's been so many years, I can't remember how to treat it during production.

The stuff I used to get 15 years ago was mined locally in Colorado or Georgia, and I used to buy a massive 5lb. block instead of 1/2 a pound industrially vacuum packed.
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Re: The trouble with clay...

Postby Singular » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:27 am

That might be the problem. Because what you experienced should not happen with good clay, especially if you added moisture. I would always look into good products from reputable stores. Look online for user reviews about any product you buy.
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Re: The trouble with clay...

Postby wavelength » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:33 am

Thanks, that's good advice, but I'm on temporary assignment in Asia for a year and I can't really pick and choose. If I do get a lump of clay that seems dry, how can I "moisture" it?

I tried keeping a cup of water handy to douse it with, but that didn't really help. And submerging it in water will only dissolve it...
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Re: The trouble with clay...

Postby Singular » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:18 am

This is a tip I learned from an article.

Assuming the clay is in its plastic bag, add about 1/4 cup water, squeeze out excess air from the bag, and tie off the top. Put the clay/bag in a bucket and fill the bucket with water until the water level is just below the top of the bag. Let stand overnight. Next day, check the clay to see if it is more moist. If it is still dry, add another 1/4 cup and repeat. The water in the bucket will force the clay to absorb the water you poured into the bag more evenly. An easy way to rehydrate clay that has dried out.
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Re: The trouble with clay...

Postby wavelength » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:32 am

Fantastic! Thank you.

I just bought a bag of Das clay. That's about as good as it gets around here. If I have trouble, I'll try this procedure.
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