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TheIT
12-05-2006, 07:26 AM
Any potters out there? And no, I'm not asking about wizards. ;)

I'm looking for information on how earth clay is used to make pottery and sculpture. I'm an amateur polymer clay artist and have very little experience with earth clay.

lmcguire
12-05-2006, 09:04 AM
TheIT,

Try visiting WetCanvas.com - they have a clay forum (not looked at it specifically, but their oil/landscape forums are very busy):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=342

I'm sure they'll be glad to help you out - esp. if you let them know it's for something you're writing and what experience you have with clay so they know where to begin...

FWIW,

Liz

TheIT
12-05-2006, 11:10 PM
Cool! Thanks for the link, Liz. Looks like a neat site.

Puma
12-11-2006, 06:43 AM
Hi TheIt - Hope I'm not too late to respond to your question. I'm in Ohio and the northern half of Ohio is covered with multiple feet of yellow, glacial clay. We used to dig down below the topsoil to retrieve buckets of the clay which we mixed with enough water to make a soupy mess and then strained it through cheesecloth to get out the minute fibers and rock granules (we actually did this part a couple times). After the clay was strained, we let it sit in a vat until the clay sank to the bottom and the water came to the top. Then we siphoned off the water. Eventually the clay dried enough to be working consistency and it was a matter of making something (but being very careful to get rid of all air bubbles that might make the pot or whatever explode in the kiln.) The Ohio clay fires to a beautiful earthy red color. Puma

TheIT
12-11-2006, 10:05 AM
Hi, Puma, not too late at all. Thanks for the reply.

I was hoping to find someone who actually digs up their own clay. In my fantasy novel, my MC harvests her clay but the clay is magical in nature. I'm combining what I've read in books with my own experience with polymer clay to define what my MC will need to do, but I also wanted to get details I might not find in a how-to book.

When you're digging up the clay, how do you know where to dig? Any surface signs? Can you see the clay on the surface of the ground?

For cleaning, I also read about a technique where the artist would pinch bits of clay between their fingers to pick out the larger pebbles, etc. Would that be sufficient, or is the sieve method better?

Unique
12-11-2006, 04:36 PM
Hi, TheIt :hi:

This website: http://www.discoverseagrove.com (http://www.discoverseagrove.com/) has one of those changing picture links that says, If you have a question, need more information, or would like a free map - click here. There's an email at the bottom.

http://www.seagrovepotteries.com (http://www.seagrovepotteries.com/) is another link. I've gotten responses from the potters at seagrove when I had questions. I remember reading some information about working with clay like you describe - I don't remember exactly where - I was researching the place for a field trip.

The whole community revolves around the potteries there and many have been in the families for generations. I've read novels from NC authors that revolve around Seagrove. They're probably used to questions. (I'll check my bookmarks to see if I saved it.)