I have found that pieces of Tyvec House Wrap made for the building trade by DuPont work well as table covers while working with clay.
Tyvec also works well for slab making (put the clay between two layers and dance on it in your socks). Peel off the top Tyvec, turn it over, peel off the other side, put it on the floor and dance again until the slab is ready. It works great as a hanging sling in which to allow bent slabs to become leatherhard in preparation for larger, more creative slab assemblages and fabrications. Hang them from wires attached to the classroom ceiling grid.
Tyvec can be sponged clean or hand washed and laid out or hung to dry. I have not put peices in a washing machine, but I think they would withstand a gentle cold water cycle. Clay does not seem to be a problem for washing machines. A similar material is sold as mailing envelops, but it is not as thick and is too small for clay work.
WHERE TO GET IT
Tyvek House Wrap is sold in huge roles by building supply firms, but I get it free at construction sites. After a house is wrapped they cut out and discard the pieces where the windows and doors are placed.
Dr. Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Emeritus Professor of Art
Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
studio phone: 574-533-0171