What is Clay?• Clay is a special kind of earth which is made by the decomposition (breakdown) of rocks through the action of weathering.
• Over time, bits of earth are carried from one place to another by water and deposited in areas where the water slows down to a trickle.• Have you ever gone digging by the waters edge only to grab a handful of muck? Well that muck is a form of clay.
• As the bits of earth travel with the water, they pick up all sorts of stuff.
• Natural clay that we find outside usually needs to be cleaned and refined before it can be used. Any tiny rocks and lumps are removed and some additional materials, like sand are sometimes added to create the perfect clay that we buy from the pottery supply house.
How do you know it can beused for clay building?• If you can take a piece of clay, roll it into a coil and bend it into a ring without cracking and falling apart, chances are it will make good pots and sculptures.
There are different ways of working with clay:• PINCH - Use your fingers to pinch and poke a single lump of clay into any shape.
• SLAB - Roll the clay into flat sheets (like a pie crust) to cut apart and assemble.
• COIL - Roll out long snakes of clay and twist them into coils and shapes.
• WHEEL - Spin clay on a potters wheel to form pots and vases.
Some Tools to Use When Working with Clay:• •Your fingers• •Rolling pins and canvas• •Popsicle sticks and toothpicks• •Cookie cutters• •Plastic bags• •A clay cutter (wire)• •Sponges• •Various carving tools, nuts and bolts, old toothbrushes and anything else you can get your hands on that will create texture in the clay
When you want two pieces ofclay to stick together, you haveto SCORE the clay, then slip it.
After you score the clay what isslip?This is liquid clay ... clay with a lotof water added to it. It is used as asort of glue to hold clay piecestogether. You need to use slip to"fasten" pieces of clay together sothat they dont fall apart in thekiln. You see, clay shrinks as itdries so if you havent made surethat your clay pieces are firmlyattached, they will separate in thekiln. It isnt enough to simply"pile" one piece of clay on the Use slip as yournext.glue!
After we build our clay pieces and theyare completely dry, I will fire it in a KILN.Clay usually takes about a week toairdry, and it is called greenware.Kiln: This is a large, hot oven thatis used to fire the clay. You needto fire your clay in a kiln in orderfor it to be permanent. A kiln canreach temperatures of 2500degrees F. and higher. Your ovenat home maybe reaches 500degrees F.
Important Information!• If a piece of clay is put into the kiln while it is still wet, it could explode. When water gets hot ... it boils right? Well, your pottery piece will literally "blow up" if it contains water or moisture that boils when it gets hot in the kiln.
After I fire it once, it is thencalled BISQUE WARE. We willpaint our clay with a specialclay paint called GLAZE.• It is essentially "liquid glass" or glass particles (mixed with colors or pigments) that have been ground down.
Next I will fire the glazed clay (alsocalled glazed ware).
After the second firing in thekiln, we will be finished and have our projects!
We are going to make clay facades ofcottages/gingerbread houses/Holiday themed
Think of creative ways to addand subtract from the clay.• However, instead of making the “whole house” we will be making the front wall only, and will add “triangle sides” to the edge of the front wall for support. This will allow you to set a candle behind it.
Let’s get started! We are firstgoing to draw a sketch so wecan think about the identifyingdetails.