This afternoon I had some time to start playing with the clay I bought yesterday. It’s always exciting to open a fresh package of crafting supplies and start working. It had been a long time since I worked with clay. I only did that in elementary school, and it used to a bit of a chore (the clay would dry out and fall apart, I would not be able to make what I had in mind, etcetera). But so many things are different once you are grown up, have better coordination, have access to techniques nobody told you about back then, so I’m very willing to give these “childhood crafts” another try.
The first thing I wanted to try was making a bowl. I figured the easiest way would be to use an existing bowl and mold around it. So I found a small glass bowl and started working with the lighter shade of grey. I have all these ideas in my head of using other materials together with the clay, and of making imprints in it, so I found my small stamp collection and decided to use it and see what happened. And I still had some seashells. I used one of them in the base of the bowl (I was thinking spinning bowl, obviously), and then I stamped around the edge to make it a bit more interesting. Then I put it on the heater to see how well/fast it would dry.
That was not a great idea. The heating was too hot, and the clay dried too quickly, so some cracks started to appear. I quickly moved the bowl up and away, and gave it some more time. Meanwhile, I opened the package with the darker clay, and experimented a bit with combining both types. I made some layers, which actually looked quite good. Stoney.
I decided to just go ahead and try to add some higher shapes. The resulting figure was not very pretty and quite messy in my opinion, but I had learned a bit about how the clay behaves.
I wanted to make one more thing. I wanted to mold the clay into a simple cat figure. That was not as easy as it sounded, because I found out that I probably need a tool to shape the clay better. I made this completely with my fingers and nails, but I felt like my fingers are too big to do what I want. But it looks a bit like a cat, at least.
The next step in the process is drying, and then finishing. I have read that you can use acrylic paint to both colour it and make it waterproof. That sounds good! So I need to go out and buy some basic colours, and then I can start experimenting.
The bowl is ready now (the clay is quite thin and cracked, so I don’t trust it to really stay together for long) and of course a chip fell off when I took it off the other bowl. The seashell is also still loose (but I think I need to use more water anyway, so maybe that will help to keep it in). It does look rather pretty, though. I do need to practice a lot more, but that’s okay, I like learning this!