Today’s entertainment was setting my kiln off for my fourth ever biscuit firing, and finishing my first batch of clay recycling… A week ago I slaked the dry scraps of waste clay I have been collecting in a bin full of water. Then, after soaking for a couple of days, I scraped the soggy mix into two old pillowcases and hung them up, so that the excess water could drain into buckets. (I don’t have room in my studio for a plaster slab so this was an alternative that had been suggested to me.) After a couple of days, in the incredible sunshine that we’ve been having, the clay was at a suitable consistency for wedging. So, for three hours today I’ve been building up my biceps and learning how to wedge properly – to make the clay an even stiffness throughout without any air bubbles – and ready for throwing again.
I found four techniques:
– the cut and slap (what we used to do at school, but I find it’s easy to add more air than remove)
– the cylinder or ram’s head (what I tried today)
– the cone
– the spiral or shell (a traditional Japanese method)
At the end of it I have stiff arms and 25kgs of clay ready for throwing again.