Modelling

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Learn Everything You Need To Know About Working With Clay!

Clay is a popular crafting material. Children often work with clay during their primary school years, but even adults like to make some unique clay sculptures and even home decor items from clay.

When you start crafting with clay, there are certain things and terminology you must understand before you get started. To help you on your way, we have created a convenient guide for you below.

What Techniques Are Used When Working With Clay?

There are four basic techniques you must master when you start working with clay. Fortunately, these techniques are relatively simple, and you probably encountered most of them as a child.

Pinching is the first technique you can use to make a model out of clay. During the pinching technique, you will use your fingers to mould a single piece of clay into the desired shape.

Another technique is the slabbing technique. During this technique, you will roll the clay and turn it into a flat sheet, much like when you make a pizza or a pie crust. Once the clay is flat, you will cut the slab and use the different parts to assemble your construction.

Clay can also be worked with through the coil technique, this is where you roll out long strings of clay and twist them into a specific shape, this can be a coil or another shape you have in mind.

Finally, more advanced crafters can attempt the pottery wheel technique, this is where the clay will spin on the wheel, enabling you to create items such as a vase or a port.

Do I Need A Lot Of Tools To Work With Clay?

You do not need many tools to work with clay, as most of it is done manually. Of course, if you want to make more advanced shapes, you will require a pottery wheel.

Some small accessories and tools are usually enough to create your first clay model, these can be things that are present in your home already, e.g. plastic bags, sponges, and popsicle sticks.

What Basic Terminology Do I Need To Know About Working With Clay?

There are some terms you may come across when you start working with clay. Below, we have listed some common terms and their meanings.

One of the terms you can encounter is "wedging". Wedging is a process where you will attempt to remove all the air bubbles from the clay. To remove air bubbles, you will often roll the clay on a hard surface. However, if you have purchased clay and open it for the first time, it is unlikely you will encounter any air bubbles.

When you start working with clay, it is likely that you will find various types of clay too. Common types of clay you can come across is earthenware, which is the type of clay commonly used in primary schools. There is also a type of clay called slip, which is liquid clay often used for projects such as ceramic mugs and plates.

If you go to a pottery class, you may hear your teacher mention the word "bisque". Bisque is the first firing of your clay project. Most clay projects will require to be placed in the kiln twice.

During a pottery class, you will likely encounter the glazing process as well. When you apply a glaze to the clay, you add a layer of protection for liquids, this means that all clay that has been glazed can be used to hold liquid. Naturally, clay must be fired before it can be glazed.

Finally, another term you can encounter is "cone". When you hear this term, the person in question is referring to the temperature of the kiln. As you may expect, the temperature of the kiln will vary depending on the type of clay you are working with.

Can I Get Clay From Spotlight?

Spotlight provides an extensive range of clay as well as some useful tools for all your clay-related projects. We also provide additional supplies for modelling in general, so it is envelops more than just working with clay alone. Check out our extensive catalogue today and benefit from our great prices.

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