Posts made in May 18th, 2012


Posted by on May 18, 2012 in How-to | 4 comments

If you make pots, then you have clay to recycle.  It is just the nature of the beast.   I get asked a lot of questions about how I handle recycling.  There are a lot of methods – but the best one is the one that you will follow through with.  For me, I do a combination of things. In my multi-tiered system, there are 3 stages of clay that can be recycled: wet, dry, and slurry. Wet clay:  My first approach is to reduce the amount of clay that I must recycle.  This means that all wet clay accumulated during throwing is dealt with right away.  Wet clay includes any clay that comes from throwing the pot, collapsing a pot, cutting a rim, etc.  I put it in a bag or in a margarine tub.  (I prefer the margarine tub because the bags get messy.)  At the beginning of the next throwing session, this clay is wedged and used.  Whether you have your own studio or work in a community studio, anyone can recycle her throwing clay in this way.  You will be amazed how much clay you can reclaim. Dry Clay:  In my system, dry clay is any clay that is too hard to be re-wedged immediately.  This includes trimmings, hard clay, scrapings, extra mug handles, extra teapot spouts, extra lids, pots damaged prior to firing, etc.  There are 2 methods for dealing with dry clay. 1.  If the clay is ‘marginally’ dry, I cut it into small pieces, spray with water, store in a bag, and re-spray periodically until the clay is moist enough to re-wedge.  Marginally dry clay includes trimmings from a soft-leather hard pot, recently pulled handles, or bagged clay that is too stiff.  This is another way to reclaim clay that anyone can do. 2.  I collect dry clay in a shallow bin and in a kitty litter container.  Any pieces of clay that are larger than a few inches are broken into small pieces.  Clay in the shallow bin is allowed to dry until it is bone-dry then it is added to the kitty litter bin.  (I don’t worry about drying all the clay completely because it wedges well enough for me.  But if you want a very smooth clay, then dry all of the clay until it is bone-dry before re-hydrating because only clay that is completely dried out will dissolve in water.)  When the kitty litter bin is full, I add enough water to cover the clay and allow it to hydrate for several days.  I stir it occasionally and add additional water as it hydrates. After the clay is hydrated, I decant the excess water and lay they clay on hardibacker board.  Hardibacker board is what is used to install tiles.  You can purchase a piece at any home improvement store for under $20.  It stashes easily (standing on its side); therefore it is a better choice than plaster for my small studio.  It is also easy to cut so you can trim one piece into several manageable sizes. After the clay is laid on the hardibacker board, it is allowed to dry for a while.  It is flipped multiple times until it is dry enough to wedge and store.  During the drying process, I flip the clay onto a fresh hardibacker board which helps expedite the drying.  Do not allow the surface of the clay to become over-dry because it results in lumpy clay.  You can dry the clay to the stiffness of your preference. This method is the most time and space consuming.  If you have limited space,...

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