If you've never worked with clay before take the time to read the information below, it's important that you understand how to safely work with clay at home.
There are 4 rules when working with clay:
1) Do not trap air, hollow areas will need a small hole for air to escape (air expands when heated and trapped-air causes explosions in the kiln).
To avoid you trapping air we will exchange your scrap clay for reclaim (see notes below on how this works)
2) When joining clay ensure the pieces have the same moisture content, so that they continue to dry and shrink at the same rate (clay shrinks by up to 30% as it looses its water) and use lots of scoring and slip.
3) Decorating slip can only be applied to damp work, underglaze can be applied when clay is dry.
4) Keep your work area and tools clean, clay dust is very bad for you (see notes below)
As with all rules these can be broken once you know how, but if you follow them as you start out you shouldn't go to wrong.
If you re-use clay you need to be very very careful not to trap any air.
Alternatively you can return to us to recycle. If you are doing this please break it up into small-ish pieces so you can let it dry first.
It's really important that you ensure there is no paper, coloured slips and any other foreign material in your scrap clay, if there is we won't be able to recycle it.
We wil swap your dry clay for the same weight of wet clay.
CLEANING; HEALTH & SAFETY
Clay-dust is very bad for you, so make sure you clean your work station thoroughly with water.
Don’t wash clay down the sink, you’ll eventually block your pipes. Wash everything into a tub and then throw into a flower bed or flush down the toilet.
Oxides and glazes are toxic to marine life, so wash these in a jar and when it's settled out after 3days you can pour off the water and scoop the sludge into the bin (or reuse it).
You don’t need to store clay anywhere special, room temperature is fine, just keep it wrapped up or in a plastic box and away from direct sunlight.
Clay contains 20-30% water, so as it dries it shrinks by up to 30%. Shrinkage is the main thing you need to control in pottery, ensuring that pieces joined together dry and shrink at the same rate, otherwise you'll get cracks.
To achieve this it helps to ensure work is roughly the same thickness all over, if this isn't possible you can wrap thinner areas in plastic as the piece dries, to even out drying. When you join parts together they need to have the same water content.
If you are worried about any of this ensure your work dries slowly by wrapping it loosely in plastic.