Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: clay, process

Today in the studio I spent couple hours with a pile of gooey clay. My pile of reclaim clay has been drying out on a large plaster bat for a few days. The top layer and edges were getting pretty dry. So I started by shaving them off and wedging them back in with some wetter clay.

At my wedging table I pounded the mess of clay into blocks. Then I took those blocks and shaved off thin slices, layering them into new piles. Mixing the clay a bit more in the process.

But when I got to the “center” of my reclaim pile, it was still a LOT wetter & gooier than the rest. But of course I was impatient… and not ready to stop in the middle of the project. Instead, I cut the clay into thinner slices and stood them up with a fan on them. Hoping the breeze would speed up the process a bit… I’m not sure that it did?! But it felt like the right thing…

While I was slicing & layering, mixing & homogenizing the clay, I sliced into something hard. What?

Oh… so THAT’s where my yellow rib had disappeared to.
Inside my reclaim bucket with lots of clay scraps!!!
Good thing the “slicing into thin layers” trick found it before I tried to wedge it back in.

More pounding. More stacking. More layering. More pounding again. Block after block.

Soon enough, I had pounded up all of my reclaim clay.
Still a little gooey in some places, but layered & blocked up just the same.

I put all of the blocks into thick plastic bags where it will stay for a few weeks. Then I’ll start using the new reclaim clay… doing a “real” wedging as I go. Until then… it’s just free clay!!! And you know how I LOVE FREE CLAY!!!

And now

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