I’ve been reclaiming some scrap clay. It’s a little bit like getting free clay! I let all the clay dry out really well then let it sit in some water for a couple days. Then I used my cordless drill and mixer to mix it up into a nice smooth creamy chocolate pudding. I want to just dip my whole arm in there! I’ve got myself a 5 gallon bucket that was nearly full when I started. Now I’m slowly drying it and adding it to the new clay that I bought as I prepare it for throwing.
I don’t have a plaster table to dry it on so I just scoop it onto some platters that cracked during the bisque firing. I put these bisque trays up on little stilts so air can circulate underneath. The bisque really sucks out the water and speeds the drying time. When I put them out in the sun I can have clay almost ready to use in a couple hours. One thing I learned is that the edges dry a lot faster so I pile on extra around the edges and make the clay thinner in the middle.
It Could Have Been Worse
What’s the second worst thing that could happen when loading the kiln? The worst I can think of (other than natural disasters/the world ending/etc.) would be all the shelves falling over and all the pots breaking into tiny pieces. The 2nd worst happened the last time I was loading the kiln:
Yep, that’s a little kiln post that has fallen half way down the inside of the kiln. Miraculously, it is lodged between another kiln post on a shelf below and the side of the kiln instead of falling all the way to the bottom. So, do I unload the entire shelf that I just loaded to get down where I can reach it? Not if there’s an easier way! So I channeled all the MacGyver energy that I could and came up with this:
I used some duct tape to make sure I didn’t drop the hook all the way down into the kiln. The whole contraption was thin enough to get in between the shelves and kiln wall and hook that stray post. Now, how to I go about getting a patent on a Stray Post Wrangler?
New Items for the Clay Studio
New stamps just arrived Saturday. Soon they will be cut apart and stamping images into clay. I had a couple requests for some drinking vessels with some sports logos. There are also a bunch of words and other interesting symbols.
If you haven’t heard, I love going to garage sales. Especially garage sales that have stuff that I can use in my clay studio. Our neighbors had a garage sale a few weeks ago and said we could bring some of our stuff down. We got rid of some of it and made a few bucks. They also had a tall chair. It is similar to the chair I had in my studio, except padded, adjustable, and better looking. Basically, a deluxe version of what I had. So I swapped them. Total cost: $0.00!
Speaking of free, I also found some foam seat cushions in the free box at one garage sale. The kind that you might take with you to a sports event where you’ll be sitting on bleachers. They were made of nice thick blue foam.
I decided to round them off with my scissors. I’ve already used one to trim a pie plate. I set the foam on a small bucket and then put the pie plate upside down on the foam. That way, I didn’t stretch the bottom as I was pushing down on it with my trimming tools. Perhaps this will help prevent the dreaded cracks from forming.
I made a quick trip to Michigan on Saturday for my cousin’s open house. It was good to see the family and a lot of other friends. But another bonus was that I got to take home a box of new clay. Rusty and Denise had gotten a bunch of clay from Scott Weaver so they sent me home with a box to try. It is called Lite Stoneware by Rovin Ceramics. The firing range is from cone 2 to cone 10. I look forward to trying it!