>I have four bags of powder clay that I am not sure what to do with. They came to me from another teacher but I need to know what sort of precautions I should take before using them. Also is it acceptable to mix different kinds of clay. Two bags are labeled Albany Slip clay and the other two are Kent Ball Clay. Can I just add water or do I have to do something else to it?
I would not try to make things from either of these clays.
Albany Slip is a high temperature brown slip glaze (used as a glaze ingredient).
Ball clay is used in a blended clay body. It is added to make clay more plastic, but is not used by itself. It would be too sticky by itself and it would have too much shrinkage and cracking problems when drying.
Regarding the dust, these are not toxic, but we try to avoid regular exposure to any and all clay dust to avoid silicosis - a fatal lung decease caused by microscopic silica particles that are too heavy and small. They cannot be coughed up if inhaled. As a potter and ceramics teacher, I have worked with dry clay for 45 years, mixing all my own clay, but I have been careful. I use a high quality dust mask and exhaust fans, etc. My lung function remains better than normal for my age.
I use Albany Slip and ball clay in my work and I will be happy to purchase these two clays from you or trade them for some packaged premixed clay that ready to use. Email me directly, telling me how many pounds of each you have. If it is enough to bother with, I will make you an offer.