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Intro to Clay
Transcript of Intro to Clay
Where does clay come from?
Clay is a soft, damp, earthy material containing tiny particles. It forms as a result of the weathering and erosion of rocks containing the mineral group feldspar over vast spans of time.
During weathering, the feldspar is altered by hydrolysis (reaction with water) to form clay minerals.
Where is clay found?
How was it used?
In the past, early cultures used clay for many purposes. Native American tribes made pots to store seeds for planting. Africans made jugs for water. Spanish adobe bricks are clay with straw mixed in. Other cultures, like the Sumerians and Chinese, used clay to made religious statues.
Tips for Using Clay
Clay is dirt and water. Your skin absorbs water. The more you handle the clay, the drier it gets. Keep it moist with a "2 finger dab" in your water bowl or a light spray with the bottle.
Putting pieces together requires scoring and slip. Scoring is scratching the clay surface, and slip is like the glue. Your pieces will fall off if you don't "glue" them together.
As clay dries, it becomes "leather hard." At this point, it is not completely dry, but too hard to shape any longer. This is a good point to add decorative lines and textures by scratching into the clay.
Create a pinch pot to turn into a bell.
Covering the Basics
Intro to Clay
Your pinch pot should have even walls all the way around. If you're not sure, ask a friend to check behind you. The lip of the bowl should be flat and all cracks smoothed with water.
Sketch a design based on a theme:
Attach a handle and make a clapper. Don't forget to add holes to hang the clapper later! They cannot be added after the clay is fired.
Don't forget you have all steps written on the handout if you get lost!
REMEMBER: subject vs. theme
Clay is squishy when it is wet, so you can make it any shape you like, and then it dries (leatherhard then
bone dry) as the water evaporates out. You can make it soft again just by throwing it in a bucket of water.
But if you put your clay pot or sculpture in a fire or kiln (an oven for clay is called a kiln), the clay becomes permanent & will never go back to being soft
(bisque ware). This is called firing. People first began to fire clay about 6000 BC.
You generally find clay along the banks of a river or stream, wherever the river is pulling dirt down off the mountains or hills and dropping it in a quiet part of the river lower down.
People who live in river valleys, like the Egyptians, Sumerians, or even in modern western North Carolina, generally can find a lot of clay.
In Your Sketchbook...
Label your page "Stages of Clay."
Number from 1 - 8.
Review the stages of clay with Ms. F.
Be sure to make a note or drawing to help you remember vocabulary words!
Greenware, Bisqueware, and Glazeware
Clay that is shaped but not yet permanent is called GREENWARE.
Once it's fired & in it's permanent state, clay is called BISQUEWARE.
Once bisqueware is painted with a colorful glaze and fired again, it's called GLAZEWARE.
1. Clay in the Earth
2. Plastic Clay
4. Bone Dry = "Greenware"
5. Firing #1
6. Permanent state = "Bisqueware"
7. Glaze & Firing #2