Stiff Clay is NOT my Friend

brickI was all set to make the last of the plates for the salt kiln yesterday.  I had bought 50 lbs of stoneware from the clay supply house earlier in the week.  I was hoping that I'd be able to use it straight out of the box.  Of course once I opened it up I discovered it was about twice as hard as I like.  Still I wedged it up as best I could and sat down to make the plates.  Impossible.  I couldn't center the hard lump of clay and I just got aggravated the more I tried.  Plus I was thinking, "Man I just went to the acupuncturist yesterday for my elbow and now I'm gonna just make it worse".

So I sliced up the clay, dipped it in water and returned it to the bags.  Maybe on Monday I'll wedge it up and try again.  Usually I would have been able to soak the clay for a few minutes and run it through my pug mill.  However my pugmill is full of earthenware and I'm not cleaning it for 50 lbs of stoneware.

It has always irritated me that the clay company can't mix the clay to come out of the box in a usable, friendly, throwable state.  I know some potters like stiff clay, that's fine.  But I remember from the beginning years of potting that it was soooooo difficult to get anything made from stiff clay.  I see many students struggling also just because the clay is too stiff.   And of course no amount of wedging makes it better.  It has to have water added.

This is just a long time gripe of mine and one reason I mix my own clay.  Of course I could order clay from the company softer, but why pay them for water weight??

Okay that's my complaint for the week.  I'll be glad to get these plates made and get back to my nice, soft earthenware.