Reclaiming The Earth One Bucket At A Time!

As a potter, not everything I make comes out how I planned. 😱

Sometimes my pieces crack or warp.

Other times, my pieces never make it off my pottery wheel . . .

. . . or a cat decides to sit in or on one of my pieces.

And those unfortunate pieces end up in a five gallon bucket as scraps.

What do I do with the scraps of clay?

Well, I reclaim the clay! (reclaim = recycle)

Reclaiming clay is a process of preparing scrap clay for reuse.

When the bucket is full of scrap clay I add water and let it soak.

I use a drill with a paint mixer attachment to mix the scrap clay with the water until the clay become a nice even slurry.

Slurry is thick liquified clay . . . MUD!

This bucket of slurry/mud/clay is ready to be placed into canvas bags or old cotton pillow cases.  I hang the bags of clay outside to allow excess water to drip out of the clay.

After a few days of the clay slurry drip drying from the bags, I place the clay onto a plaster bat (block or slab).  The plaster bat will absorb even more water.

Eventually, more water evaporates from the clay and the clay becomes firm enough to pull it away from the plaster bat . . .

ready to wedge into balls of clay

. . . and wedge into balls of clay.

Wedging is kneading the clay much like kneading bread dough. 

Wedging clay forces out air bubbles and distributes moisture evenly creating a smooth pliable texture. 😍

The clay is ready to be used again.

Though reclaiming clay is one of my least favorite jobs, it is very advantageous and thrifty to recycle and reuse the clay scraps that tend to pile up in my back porch studio.

Twenty pounds reclaimed! 💪🏻

Thirty more to go! 💪🏻

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