International studio — 32.1907

Page: LXVI
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1 cm
Possibilities of Clay

cheese. The embryo potter should search for a
bed of clay, and, when found, should secure a
goodly supply, to be stored under cover. For
large, rough work the clay can be used, if moist
enough, as found; but clay always contains sticks,
stones, roots and leaves, with, oftentimes, fine sand,
so that a method of purifying it must be found.

The necessary appliances for this are: (i) an
oil barrel which has been burned out or otherwise
well cleansed; (2) a couple of large tin buckets or
pails; (3) a garden sieve of about a quarter-inch
mesh; (4) a wire cook-sieve of about one-twelfth
inch mesh.

The barrel should have one head removed and
is to be used standing on end. Near the bottom
a faucet is inserted, and this should be of the kind
known as a “molasses gate,” which can be pro-
cured at any hardware store.

The method of procedure is as follows: The clay
is thoroughly dried and is then spread out on a
clean floor and broken small. As the breaking pro-
ceeds the heap is gathered, from time to time, and
sifted through the large sieve onto a spare spot.
This removes the sticks and larger stones. A good
quantity of the clay should be thus sifted. It will
keep indefinitely. One of the buckets is now half-

filled with clean water,
and the dry clay is taken
up either with the hands
or a common flour scoop
and sprinkled over the
water until the bucket is
nearly full. After the
lapse of half an hour the
bare arm is thrust into
the fluid mass and a vig-
orous stirring is given.
This breaks up the
lumps, sets free the
small stones and allows
the clay to be cleansed.

If much sand be found
a system of washing
must be adopted. The
clay and water are well
stirred and allowed to
settle three minutes by
the watch. The liquid
is then poured into the
second bucket, and a
quantity of sand will be
left behind; this is
thrown away and the

clay working building the form operation is repeated.


Pottery as-a-craft is in the public
eye at the moment. Many are seeking
to solve its mysteries, and some will succeed. Let
none undertake the work, however, who is not pre-
pared for patient experiment and devoted toil. In
this the craft of the potter differs from others.
True, in all of them skill is demanded, but the
potter must be not only an artist and something of
a mechanic, but a chemist as well. There is no
need to be scared at this idea, for the greater the
difficulty the more pronounced the success. It
will not be attempted, moreover, in this paper, to
plunge deep into the mysteries of science.

The first requirement is clay, and so abundant
is this that every creek and spring, almost every
dooryard will furnish it. Common clay is gener-
ally of either a slaty blue or a yellow color. It will
burn to a brick red, but is rarely of this color
when found. A good clay may be known by the
smooth, unctuous feel and by the tenacity with
which it holds together. In dry weather it becomes
very hard, and the surface can be polished with the
finger. When wet it is slippery and cuts like new

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