March 30, 2012

I made this thing:

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.

Then I dump the chunks of clay in a bucket, breaking them up with my hands and sifting the rocks and plant debris out of the mix. I used a regular sifter from the market.

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.

Some finished work:


4 Responses to “Clay”

  1. Jeremiah said

    I’m really digging those Stegosaurus sculptures! And I can’t wait for your solo show at GR2! Hopefully I’ll be able to afford something~

    I really admire your watercolor paintings~ I didn’t even know you were a storyboard artist too! Oh man… so cool~

  2. inkyoats said

    i really dig this! what kind of glaze do you use?

    also those water colors are sweet! i wish you and rob sato would do a co-op!

    • ako said

      The first stegosaurus doesn’t have any glaze, just a sweep of slip from the wild clay. The second stegosaurus has matte white and the third is bray shino.
      Rob and I don’t like to collaborate on painting, we might break up if we try.

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