March 30, 2012
clay is so fresh.
A couple years ago I learned how to dig up and process wild clay from Christopher Nyerges, who teaches things like how to identify plants and make fire out of sticks, string, batteries, etc. I hope to always classify these skills as recreational novelties, because I never want to be in a situation where I have to make a figure-four deadfall to trap a squirrel so I can eat its tiny flesh.
On the other hand, I want to use clay every day. I love every step of this process, which begins with a walk in the foothills of Sierra Madre, Ca:
I locate some red clay, dig up some chunks, and carry it home.
After that, I lined a colander with some cotton rags and put it over a bucket. The wet, sifted clay was poured into the colander and took about a week to drain to the the consistency I wanted to work with.
The wild clay can be mixed with commercial clays. I have been mixing it with Laguna brand B-mix (cone 10) at a percentage of 50/50. At 100% the natural clay is beautiful, but cannot be fired at cone 10. It’s lovely in pit fires though, for folks with gumption and firewood.