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clay

  • Ceramics Without Firing?

    Alternative 'Clays' That Don't Need a Kiln

    Like sculpting but not a fan of the hassle that comes with ceramics, especially firing? There are many other options for you that are similar to the properties of clay, some you can even make yourself in the kitchen!

     

    Polymer Clay

    Polymer Clay is a versatile material that works like clay and becomes hardened by baking in a regular kitchen oven. When it’s baked it can be cut, sawn or glued, as well as painted, varnished, and re-baked with additional fresh clay. 

    Polymer clay comes in many different colours that are also mixable. There are unique clay variations that glow in the dark, pearlescent, metallic or fluorescent.

    Polymer clay is not a natural clay, it’s made up of resins and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

    Note that once the package is open you need to keep it in an airtight container or paper, away from direct sunlight and heat.

    Polymer clay should be baked in the oven on a baking sheet cover with foil or parchment according to the package’s instructions. The clay will be completely hardened after it cools down. Always bake according to the instructions as the overheated/ burnt clay can let out toxic fumes. It’s recommended to bake it in a ventilated area.

    Polymer clay can be painted with acrylic paints and varnished with acrylic or alcohol based varnishes. Baked clay doesn’t need varnish but if you want a glossy finish you can use gloss varnish.

    Air dry clay

    Air dry clay has a quite telling name: it’s a natural clay that doesn’t need firing or baking, as it dries solid when it’s exposed to air. It’s a good alternative to regular clay when you need to make something quickly, something small or inexpensive. It’s great for sculpting, decorative items, jewellery or other craft projects.

    Air dry clay works just like regular clays – it has the same texture, can be formed the same way and will dry to similar consistency. You can use water to soften the clay and to create slip (the mixture of clay and water).

    The difference that’s good to keep in mind is that air drying clay starts the drying process as soon as it’s out of the packaging. Therefore it requires relatively quick work time and you need to keep the items in air tight packaging if you want to continue working later.

    Once it’s dry you can paint it or spray paint it.

    Cold Porcelain

    The name is misleading: cold porcelain isn’t actually a porcelain. It’s an an inexpensive, non-toxic and easily made material. It’s a mixture of cornstarch and glue and to enhance its smooth texture you can also add oils and glycerol. It’s advised to add lemon juice and sodium benzonite to the mixture to prevent the growth of mold.

    Cold porcelain doesn’t require firing, it simply dries on air. However, due to its contents, it’s possible to soften it by heat or water even after it dried, so it’s not suitable for some projects.

     

    DO IT YOURSELF:

    Tools --> https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/set-of-3-clay-modelling-tools.html
    White Clay -->https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/das-white-clay-500g-pack.html
    Terracotta Clay --> https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/das-terracotta-clay-500g-pack.html
    Modelling Clay --> https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/white-modelling-clay-150g-block.html

    References:

    • http://kilnarts.org/education/ceramic-pottery/the-basics-of-clay/types-of-clay/
    • http://www.lakesidepottery.com/Pages/Pottery-tips/choosing-the-right-clay-type.htm
    • https://thebluebottletree.com/polymer-clay-tips-beginners/
    • http://www.things-to-make-and-do.co.uk/sculpting-and-modelling/cold-porcelain-clay/cold-porcelain-clay.html
    • https://www.clay-it-now.com/coldporcelainrecipe.html
    • https://www.delineateyourdwelling.com/best-tips-for-using-air-dry-clay/
  • Ceramics: Pinch Pots

    Possibly the most ancient and also the most accessible and simple method of making a clay pot is the Pinch technique. People have been making pinch pots for thousands of years, as it requires only a ball of clay and your own two hands.

    Getting Started Pinching your Clay

    To begin making your pinch pot, simply take your ball of clay and roll it around in your hands,  kneading it like dough on your worktop. This will warm up your clay allowing it to me moulded easily.

    Push your thumb into the centre and begin to pinch the clay, opening out the mouth of your pot. This is a very tactile technique and only requires you to keep shaping your pot with your thumb and fingers until you are happy with your shape. You can also add handles, or faces or whatever you like to personalise your pot.

    Here's a great tutorial demonstrating the ease of this technique.

    You can now decorate your pot with various under glazes, or you could allow it to sit overnight until it is 'leather dry' (a term describing partially dried clay that will allow you to work into the surface without altering the shape or structure of your creation). Once 'leather dry' you have the option to smooth the interior and exterior, trim the lip of your pot or carve a design into the clay.

    You don't have to stop at pinch pots, however, you can used this technique to make anything you can imagine from cups to strange creatures. Here are some different examples of the results you can achieve!

     

     

    www.galatiak12art.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/art-i-pinch-pots.html
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CQAdMxjBik
    www.kathyjeffersstudio.com/pottery/pinch-pot/
    www.juliannakunstler.com/ceram1_pinchpot.html#.WUumiOvyu00
    www.jennygulchpottery.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/

  • Ceramics: Coiling

    Ceramics Coiling...Explained

    Coiling is a very straightforward ceramic technique that can produce fantastic results, from simple pots to intricate vessels. Evidence of this technique has been discovered all over the world showing many ancient civilisations having used clay in this way, from China and Japan to Africa, Greece and Mexico.

      

    The Process of Coiling Clay

    Using the coiling process you start with just the base of your vessel and you build up layer upon layer of clay using long sausage-like shapes around the circumference of your base. This technique allows you to control the thickness of the clay walls and also means that the design and shape can be planned and developed from the very start. The interior and exterior of your clay creation can be smoothed over or you can keep the the coils depending on your desired aesthetic.

    You want to start off by kneading your ball of clay with a decent amount of pressure to try and force out any trapped air, then the clay can be rolled out flat and evenly with a rolling pin. Using a template you can cut out a shape to become the base of your pot. From here you simply roll out sausage shaped coils of clay and begin building up your layers; merging, cutting and shaping them as you go. Slip should be used as well as scoring the clay in between each coil layer to act as a glue to hold the coils together

    Cutting coils - Click this image for a full step by step tutorial

    This is repeated to the desired height and shape of your vase, bowl or pot. You may wish to smooth the the interior and exterior depending on your desired result.

    You do not have to stick to this design; coiling can be a very versatile technique, check out some of these examples of more intricate designs!

      

    Also check out this time-lapse of the process!

  • Get Creative With Clay

    Have you thought about trying Das Modeling Clay?

    Das, modelling material is lovely to work with and no need to mess with oven baking – it is air drying! Das clay contains tiny wee fibres, that give it added strength and rigidity.

    family-portrate

    Stuck for new ideas?

    Instead of model making, how about making a picture instead? Don’t paint that vase of flowers, make your vase out of a layer of the modelling clay. Make your flattened flowers and leaves. Maybe decorate your vase with flat spots or stripes. Then how about putting the vase on a flat table? Wall paper? Flying ducks? Let your picture dry and then start painting.

    Of course you’re not limited to vases of flowers, anything that you like to paint – your cat, a face, a landscape, can be made just as easily. Or how about a family portrait?

    the-cardowsYou can find all you need here to get started!

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