Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CLAY.....Can You Dig It?

Here is part one of what will be three videos explaining how I prospect, prepare and test found clays.
This part is about digging and preparing. The next video will be about testing and the third will be firing. I haven't finished the second and third videos yet but should have them in the next two weeks.

A couple of things I did not mention in the video: 1..Finding a cut or trench in the surface allows you to examine the strata and more easily identify veins of clay. This site has about 18" of sand on top of the clay and the clay layer, being buried that deep, had very little organic material to deal with.
2....Drying the dug clay completely before mixing with water makes mixing a lot easier. Dry clay "slakes"  (absorbs water and breaks down to a slip almost effortlessly). Damp or wet clay won't readily absorb water and is harder to make into slip without more work on your part.. WORK is a four letter word, let natural forces do it for you.



Teri Goode said...

Love your site! Thanks!!

Wildmud said...

Thank You Teri

Gary said...

Your native clay looks much like the greasy yellow clay I dig. Does it fire out to a pinkish color in electric? I've used it in my groundhog kiln for years. It fires out a nice chocolate brown to purple at cone 11. I cover with white slip and use it in raku, too. I've enjoyed your videos! Thanks for posting them.

Wildmud said...

Hi Gary. Good to hear from you. This clay fires to a salmon/tan color at cone 6 at about 12% shrinkage usually. I dig a purpleish earthenware and mix the two for a nice dark rusty color. I also dig a slip clay that fires a bit like Albany Slip when mixed with wood ash. I dig it from a shallow pond that's JUST FULL OF COTTONMOUTH WATER MOCCASINS so I only wade out in there in the winter.

T. Walton said...

What is that piece of fabric? It's not leather. What is it?