If you run a community studio or your personal studio is high production, you probably have a lot of clay scraps to deal with. This article will describe the clay reclaim process we use at the very busy pottery studio where I worked as technician for 6 years.
There’s a common belief in ceramics that leaving pockets of air in your clay, either due to insufficient wedging or by creating an enclosed form, leads to explosions in the kiln. The belief is often communicated in these ways: “Poorly wedged clay containing air bubbles will explode…”
As clay artists, we’re so lucky that we can reduce the amount of waste we produce by reclaiming or recycling our unfired clay. When we make something that cracks, warps or doesn’t look how we wanted it to, we can reclaim our clay, bringing it back to its original state so…
Most of our glaze materials come to us in their very basic, unprocessed form. They are dug out of the ground, impurities may or may not be removed, they are ground into a fine powder, bagged and shipped to our suppliers. Working with these minerals in their raw state poses some health risks.
Clay is an exceptional teacher. While I was learning how to make forms on the potter’s wheel, or how to fire my kiln to a perfectly hot cone 6, I was also simultaneously learning some valuable virtues of living a balanced and harmonious life.