Clay Kit: START HERE
Now that you've snagged a DIY clay kit, I'm sure you're wondering how to take this box and make it into something special you can use and keep forever.
Your DIY Clay Kit includes
- an instruction pamphlet
- mid-fire clay
- 2 paintbrushes
- 2 underglaze paints (pink and blue)
- 8 piece clay tool set, including: sponge, two carving tools, wire, needle tool, a wooden potters knife, a wooden rib, and a metal rib. these tools can be used for years as long as you care for them.
- a solid, non-stick work surface. a piece of plywood works great, or an old cutting board. you want a firm and moisture absorbing surface so that the clay does not stick or smear.
- water. definitely a bowl of water, and a small spray bottle may also be nice.
- old rags for cleanup
Step One: prepare your slip for your projects and plan what you'll make
Step Two: get creative, have fun.
Step Three: try to be patient as you wait for your work to dry. keep it somewhere safe - clay is delicate in this state. if anything happens to the clay and your project breaks, you can always "recycle" your clay and try again.
I suggest covering your project with a plastic bag and letting it dry out slowly over 1-2 weeks time!
Step Four: once dry, paint your project
Step Five: you're ready to drop your work off at the studio for firing.
What happens at the studio?
Your work goes through the kiln TWICE. The first time it reaches a lower temperature, this is called "bisque" firing or "biscuit" firing. This takes between 16-18 hours. Once that is complete, I will coat your project in a clear glaze and fire it a second time, to a higher temperature (which takes, you guessed it, even longer!) and then, finally. you'll have a finished project ready to cherish forever!
Important to note:
Since you're using a mid-fire clay with a stable clear glaze, your projects are totally safe to use for dinnerware, mugs, etc. you can microwave them and put them in the dishwasher and they will hold up. It is important that we fire the clay to a temperature that eliminates the ability for moisture or germs to be absorbed into the clay. This is why you cannot fire stoneware clay in your oven at home - it doesn't get nearly hot enough!
On this blog post, you'll find links to teach you different methods of hand building, some youtube videos from other potters, and instructions for firing your work.
Pinterest is also an amazing source of inspiration for different hand building and clay projects.
- Slab Building
Do I Need To Fire It?
YES! Without firing your work to proper temperatures, the clay will not mature, and you will not be able to do anything with your work - if it gets wet it will turn to mush. You DO need to fully fire your clay to cone 6 with a glaze for it to become vitrified and be suitable for functional use for food or drink. Having a clear coat of glaze will also help keep your project clean and free of dust!