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Lesson Plans

Re: trick for drying clay without splitting

From: Numo Jaeger & Michael Miller (jaegmil)
Date: Mon May 29 2000 - 13:10:13 PDT

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    To prevent clay from sticking to the table surface you can cover the
    surface of the table (or use plywood boards )with a heavy cotton duck
    canvas. You can purchase old white cotton bed sheets from a Goodwill or
    Thiftshop which will basically do the same thing.

    Newspaper sticks to the clay unless you change it regularly. Thick paper
    garbage bags are handy for this task or a heavy duty Kraft paper which
    comes in rolls.

    When you use a clay body that is very dense slab work is often tricky.
    Dense clay bodies require a slower drying time. Cover the clay with plastic
    and/or with damp paper towels. If you are transferring the slab clay onto a
    surface that does not absorb any water after you have finished the piece
    this can present a drying problem. Newspaper, Kraft paper, butcher paper or
    a thin absorbent cloth will alleviate this problem.

    Slabs sometimes crack because of the stress of creating the slab. A way to
    correct some slab stress is to roll the slab out first in one direction and
    then roll it out again in the opposite direction.

    Try mixing a little vinegar into the slip mixture. This may help the seams
    from cracking.


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