RECYCLING CLAY

Hi Everybody,

Clay is perhaps one of the most abundant materials on the planet. It is a natural material and is continually being formed by the weathering of rocks and plant materials and as such it is completely recyclable.

Recycling clay is an essential task for studio/home based potters to do and the simplest way of doing this is to put all the clay into a plastic storage tub (gorilla buckets are ideal), once your clay is starting to go hard or has completely dried out. Cover the clay in water, then leave it to soak for a week until it turns to a clay slurry. This part of the process is best done undercover, so as not to get any leaves, twigs or other bits in the clay.

Drain off the water, then scoop the slurry clay out and place it onto a table. If you have access to large slabs of plaster board or slate and place it on those surfaces, as it will dry out quicker.

Create your own plaster slap, by adding a (wooden) border around an old wooden table, filling this with plaster and letting it dry out completely.

Once you have covered your table and have a nice pile of gooey clay covering the surface, poke holes in it, as this helps the air circulate and accelerates the drying process.

The weather or outside temperature will dictate how quickly the clay dries out, which could take a few hours in hot weather and a few days in winter. Once the clay feels like plastic again, scoop it up into large balls and start wedging/kneading it and you’ll find the consistency of the clay is better than when you bought it in the first place.

Recycling clay is worth doing as it will save you lots of money, but you have to be organised and have some space to do it. I do most of my recycling of clay in a shed down my allotment and that works really well for me. So, until next time, happy potting.

Barry