One way to make a pot using self-hardening clay, also called air-hardening clay. The drawback to using this type of clay is that the pot can only be used for decorative purposes---it cannot hold water like a kiln-fired pot. Self-hardening clay may be purchased in an arts and crafts store. This clay is dense and tough, and it takes some time to work enough to make it pliable.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Large bowl
- Self-hardening clay
- Clay modelling tool set
- Rolling pin
- Clay wire cutter
- Scrap of fabric
Clean out an existing plastic pot, one slightly larger than the pot you want to make. This will be the form on which you make the pot.
Cut off a piece of clay with the wire cutter. Hold one wooden dowel in each hand, tighten the wire and slice a slab off the top of the clay block. Work the clay with your hands until it softens.
Roll the clay into a ball and place it on a piece of fabric. (The fabric will protect your work surface.) Use the rolling pin to roll out the clay. Make a piece big enough to fit into the bottom of the existing pot, approximately half an inch thick. Use a clay tool with a pointed edge to cut off excess clay. Place the bottom into the pot. Fold the extra up to create the vertical edge of the pot. Trim off any excess if the excess is creating folds.
Roll out a small ball of clay. Place it on the table and roll it under your palm, to make a snakelike strip of clay, called a coil. The coil can be any thickness you like, as long as the thickness is consistent. Score the edges of the top of the piece of clay already in the pot mould. Also score one edge of the coil. Gently fuse the coil in place, creating a vertical layer on the pot. Smooth the edges together from the inside, using your fingers and a damp sponge. Continue adding coils until the pot is built. Let it dry.
Remove the pot from the mould. Keep the coiled pot look or use a damp sponge to smooth out the coils, after the pot is dry. Because the clay is self-hardening, it can also be reworked with water, through a damp sponge. A self-hardened or air-dried pot can be manipulated with water and dried multiple times. Let it dry, then paint it if desired.
Tips and warnings
- Try making a pot without the mould, using the same slab bottom and coil technique.
- Only put liquids in a pot made with self-hardening clay if the inside has been sealed properly with an epoxy primer.
- Use a damp---soaking---sponge when working with the clay.
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