Lily Pearmain Ceramics

Process : Preparing Clay

ProcessLily Pearmain

This series aims to bring you closer to the making process, offering insights into the studio and glimpses of processes that aren't always evident in the the final piece. 

The first process in making anything is to mix the clay. Here, some is recycled, and some is fresh out of the bag. This process is called 'wedging' - cutting layers and slapping them on top of each other repeatedly. It's very effective at mixing the clay quickly, and gives these beautiful striations. The lighter clay here is wetter than the darker clay, shown by the way the lighter clay buckles more than the dark clay. For the clay to be suitable for throwing it needs to be fully combined so that it all responds equally to my touch on the wheel.  


The next stage is to knead the clay. This is very commonly misnamed as 'wedging', as it's part of the same process of mixing the clay and making sure that there are no air bubbles. This type of kneading is called spiral kneading, perfect for mixing larger amounts of clay. 

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I then cut the larger chunk of clay down, measuring out the required weight of clay needed for each item I plan on throwing. Normally I sit down and throw a whole batch of the same item, so I will weigh out the same weight of clay to make the making as consistent as possible.

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Once I've thrown the clay, any waste is recycled, dried out and then re-wedged, back to the beginning again.