An ounce of prevention: Tips to preventing dry

OK, OK, I know I spoke about clay drying last week but. Dry clay is something I feel strongly about helping people prevent and deal with so…here I go again. I am going to give you a long list of tips that I find handy in handling your clay.

Preventing dry clay:

  • Plan out your design before you open your clay.
  • If you are like me and like to work out your design with you hands. Try out a different type of clay to test out textures and designs. When I teach I have students use playdoh or polymer clay. I actually prefer the “playdoh” as it is easy to find, cheap and it will burn out safely if you accidently get it in your clay.
  • Have all your tools and textures on hand and ready to go before you open your clay
  • Use a moisture barrier on you hands. Otherwise the clay will stick and your hands will suck the moiture out of the clay. I use olive oil, but there are many products people use. (I use a product called “Gloves in a Bottle” as well especially when I work with copper or bronze.)
  • Put oil on your textures and tools. A very light coat is all you need. Too much oil will get into your clay changing its texture (Art Clay Copper – especially reacts to too much oil by becoming crummy.) I find an old toothbrush works well to get oil into textures and having a paper towel on hand if to wipe away excess oil
  • Have an airtight container for your clay and use it!!! My favorite containers are “Buddy Cups”; they can be purchased at Micheals or at www.ShadesofClay.com
  • Work quickly while your clay is exposed to the air. Any bits from rolling out clay should be gathered up and put in away immediatly.
  • Have a damp paper towel and piece of plastic wrap on hand they can be used to cover your work if you need to stop briefly.
  • Minimize overhandling of your clay. Everytime you handle your clay it dries a bit. (you can rehydrate as I showed in last weeks post but the less overworking the better).

Hopefully these tips will help. Have fun!!!

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