Let’s Talk Clay! Part 1

Well hello there, y’all! It’s been a minute…and, if you haven’t heard, a lot has happened around here. Like, for instance, me stepping away from teaching art in a classroom setting after doing so for 25 years! I KNOW. CRAZY. All the details on THAT very soon but first…a little something that I’ve been promising on Instagram for quite some time: a big ole post on all things CLAY. 

Let’s first cover my supply list of Must-Have’s for working with clay:

* TOOTHBRUSHES! I’m so sorry to shout…actually, I’m not. You will thank me later but THIS is what your kids should be using when they slip and score. Buy this set and use them year after year!

* WATER DISHES! This is where we keep our slip. In fact, I use the same set of no-spill cups each year, just add more clay to it. When clay time is over, I let the water evaporate and just leave the dried clay inside. When the new year begins, I just add water and we have insta-slip! Kids dip their brushes here. We also have a set of these just for painting…so I don’t have to worry about cleaning them out when we switch from clay to painting!

* DOGGIE DISHES! Okay, so this is an alternative to the no-spill cups. I love these! We use these also when painting. So if the other cups are too much for your budget, try these!

* DOILIES! Since I started shouting, now I just can’t stop. I LOVE doilies…in fact, just scroll below and you’ll see a ton of my projects features a texture…it’s from theses bad boys! You can also find them at your local thrift store and yard sale so be on the look out!

*SKEWERS! I think we all know about using skewers with clay but one thing that really always bothered me was how long they were. I was always thinking someone was gonna lose an eye! Not a happy thought. I discovered these shorter skewers a couple years ago and now…this is all we use. 

*TRAYS! Contain all of that dusty mess with trays. I didn’t start using trays until recently and I was like WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE?! 
* REUSEABLE TOWELS! Oh man…I cannot tell you how much this saved the MESS in my room this year. Hear me out: I placed a bin of water on each table with a splash of soap and 2 towels. At the end of each art class, the kids used a towel to both clean their hands and the table. This kept the dust mess down! My custodian friend was so happy. 

The other items you’ll find on my list are the air dry clays I’ve used in the past. I’m also sharing glaze (which is only used on kiln fire clay). I purchase my clay locally from The Clay Lady. She also sells the clay mats I strongly recommend. If you purchase your clay locally, you’ll be supporting local businesses. 
And now…on with the show!

Isn’t it crazy to think that we are expected to know about all things clay…just cuz we have an art teacherin’ degree?! Well, I created a video sharing everything I know about clay. You can catch even more details in this blog post. 

Of course, there are plenty of ways to add beautiful color to ceramics without the hassle of a second fire and of the expense of glaze. I’ll share a TON of projects in the second installment of this blog post that do not require glaze…and still look amazing. BUT FIRST…

What is Clay is a video I created several years ago to share with my students on the very first day of working with clay. With my 30 minute classes, we watch the videos and then we spend the rest of class just rolling up our sleeves and getting a little messy. It’s a great introduction to clay, no matter what the project. Here’s a peak at the video:

And now…a moment from our sponsor. 

Me. I’m the sponsor. 

Many of my projects can also be done with air dry clays, either homemade or store-bought. And if you are kiln-less and would like a little more guidance, I wrote a whole book about it! You can find it here

Okay, y’all. I really thought I could also add all my favorite clay projects also in this blog post BUT…I think I’ll save that for the second installment of this series, so stay tuned. Until then, have a good one!

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