An easy source of fiber for the potter can be found in any man made paper.
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What Paper Clay Does Or Doesn't Do
It is impossible for large cracks to develop in paper clay as it dries.
Layering on dry slabs will not warp.
Excellent for layering in plaster molds.
Works well for the coiling technique.
Joining pieces can be done at any stage, dry to wet to leather hard all join well.
As the material dries it develops unbelievable tensile strength.
Fired and bisque pieces can be embedded into the soft slip.
Ceramic pieces can be bigger and stronger and up to 50% lighter in weight.
Behaves exactly like clay in the firing process, because it IS clay!
Can readily be poured in a mold.
Don't need a slab roller any more.
Procedures for making paper clay.
Hot water, tissue paper or copier paper is soaked and beaten with an electric drill mixer blade.
The pulp is poured into a sieve and then squeezed by hand to remove most of the water.
Drop pulp into clay slip.
Mix well by hand using a stick or mixer blade, the clay now looks like oatmeal porridge.
Paddle and plaster with a knife or flat stick to any thickness.
When poured into a frame or mold the material lends itself to any shaping method. Sometimes will dry overnight.
Wet paper clay slip can be added to dry without any problems, and can be smoothed or textured to preference.
Thin and thick can be combined in one slab.
Hard dry slabs can be scored with a sharp knife and snapped over the edge of a table.
Special considerations are recommended if bisque firing is done in an electric kiln. The paper fiber starts to burn away at 300 degrees and can fill the studio or kiln shed with unpleasant fumes.
This smoking can continue up to 500 degrees.
It's important to fire slowly during this period, between 5OO degrees and 75O degrees per hour and to fire with vents and door open if possible.
The room needs to also be well ventilated, other than just doors.
There is not the same problem when firing with wood, oil or gas, as the fumes go up the flue.
Once the paper is burnt away the firing can continue as normal.
After bisque firing the appearance and texture are normal in everyway.
The fired clay looks and acts as clay always does.
The minute spaces formerly occupied by the cellulose fibers cannot be seen by the naked eye and the only noticeable difference will be a lightness in weight, especially when the mix is 50/50 paper to clay.
Glazing can proceed as it always does because the fibers are gone and play no part in the ceramic process.
Any glaze can be used and the results will be as brilliant or depressing as they always are.
Salt glaze, and raku reduction or pit firing can proceed as normal.
You will enjoy working with this material.
Your hands will be covered in sludge, and you can be so adventurous, joining and building with little or no technical skill.
None of the ordinary clay rules apply at the construction stage.
Lifting and moving work is less of a problem and breakages seldom occur.
This can open up the mind to structures and forms that flow in a natural way, especially in the sculptural area.
A bold, adventurous approach with seemingly impossible assemblages can be tried.
Fragility is a thing of the past with structures remaining strong though its pieces may be arranged and rearranged many times.
Paper clay offers endless possibilities.
Information and knowledge on this topic is only at the beginning stage, with new methods and discoveries emerging weekly.
Top: Paper clay can be stored as bone hard rolls, tubes, slabs and also crushed waste ready for recycling.
Above: The working of wet and hard, dry pieces together.
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All About Clay
Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.
Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.
The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.
With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.
When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.
Stash It, Smash It, Crush It,
Tye Dye It, Fly Tye It, Simplify It,
Buy It, the OutBack Hat.
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