How to Recycle Dry Clay

How to Recycle Dry Clay

hi I’m Jim and this has make do learn
we’re in the ceramic studio today and we’re going to learn how to reuse old bone dry
clay the process we’re about to go through does make some unhealthy dust
so it’s a good idea to wear a respirator any pieces that are thicker than one
inch in any spot should be broken down you can put thick pieces in a different
container and break them up with a hammer
next we submerge all of the bone dry clay with water and this starts to break
down all of the clay just a few minutes later the clay is already starting to
break down but there’s still some big chunks after about 20 minutes there’s
only a few chunks left and those will soften up in the next part of the
process “so the clay is softened to a slipped like consistency and we’re going
to take a plaster bat, this big block made of plaster and we’re gonna lay it
across this plaster so it can dry out slowly” I scoop the clay onto the
plaster bats by hand instead of pouring out of the bucket it gives me more
control it allows me to make an even layer of slip poking holes will increase the surface
area of the slip allowing it to dry faster on top because the plaster is
drying it out below after 20 minutes the thin spots are already dry to the
touch they could be usable but the middle is
still much too soft to use now normally you would leave the clay uncovered but I
wasn’t able to stick around so I covered it in plastic and came back a day later
you can see the clay is dry in the thin spots and in thick spots as well those
cracks you’re seeing are just from the clay shrinking and pulling away from
itself this is how it looked before it dried “the clay is dry enough now where
it’s not too sticky and so we’re gonna peel it off of the plaster and start to
wedge it together” now this can be a tedious process if that’s the case I use a
plastic scraper just be careful not to gouge the plaster if you do just make
sure you throw it away and don’t put it back into the clay batch and now it’s time to wedge the clay we
wedge clay to remove air bubbles and to even out clay that’s too soft or too
hard this is called the Rams head wedging method basically you’re folding the clayover itself multiple times like you’re kneading dough for
making bread now if you look carefully you can actually see the air bubbles
being pushed out of the clay there’s one right there there’s a lot of them but
the more you wedge the goal is to get rid of as many of those as you can now
it is possible to wedge big pieces of clay like this one here but there’s no
problem with cutting it into two or three pieces to more easily manage the size of
the clay now once all the clay is wedged up get a plastic garbage bag and you can
roll up the clay for later storage we call this the Alfred roll it’s better
than just putting it in the bag because it gives you multiple layers of plastic
and plastic keeps all the moisture locked in keeping your clay plastic and
workable versus bone-dry and unworkable the clay will keep for a long time with
this storage method if it’s ever too wide pat it from the sides as you roll
it a small hole like that one there won’t bother the clay too much because
there’s multiple layers of plastic keeping all the moisture locked in well
“there you have it we just took clay from bone-dry to
plastic stage moldable flexible usable I feel free to comment or subscribe if you
liked the video and look forward to more make-do learned videos in the future”

9 thoughts on “How to Recycle Dry Clay

  1. New ceramics teacher here, thanks for the video! Could you wrap the plaster in canvas to avoid getting chunks of plaster in the clay? Or would that cause its own set of problems?

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