Saturday, November 30, 2019

Air Dry Clays

What are the best air dry clays to use?

You're in luck! I've worked with just about them all and here are my test results...

Terra-cotta Clay Bodies

Amaco- Excellent plasticity but a bit sticky. The surface quality is gritty and dries with an uneven skin layer. Its finished durability is brittle and breaks easily. Even though I was careful to score and slip my pieces properly, I still had pieces just fall off when they dried. So frustrating
- $ moderately priced

Activa - Great plasticity. The iron oxide in the clay body stains your hands a bit. Dries evenly to a beautiful terra-cotta rock color. It's very strong and durable. You could bang it on a table top and cause no damageBy far my favorite terra-cotta air dry clay! 
- $ moderately priced

Crayola - Good plasticity. The surface quality is smooth but dries unevenly in color. Strong but one drop and it breaks easily. Still comes in a close second to my favorite. 
- $ economically priced

White Air Dry Clay Bodies

Crayola - Good plasticity. Dries to a bright white. Can be easily painted with water color, tempera and acrylic paints. Strong, but one drop and it breaks easily. I really like to use this brand because it's easy for kids to use. 
$ economically priced

Laguna Dry Hard - Excellent plasticity. Dries with a gritty skin. Hard, but parts fall off easily even if you score and slip them on properly. 

Laguna Mexo - Too soft plasticity, very sticky. I didn't like working with it at all! Dries with a gritty skin. Hard, but breaks easily. Some pieces just fell off after they air dried.
$ moderately priced

Activa'  - Excellent plasticity. Dries very strong. Takes paint/stains well. My favorite!
$moderately priced

Here's a set of test tiles that I finished in a variety of ways:

Amaco - Great plasticity but sticky. Chemical smell. Dries hard, but has a chalky feel. 
$ moderately priced

Black Air Dry Clay Bodies

Crayola - good plasticity. Dries strong but to an uneven off black color.
$ expensively priced since it is only available in a multi-colored pack

Activa' - excellent plasticity. Dries evenly to a smooth finish and is very strong.
$ moderately priced 


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Clay Bodies

What are the different types of clay bodies?

Earthenware - is a low-fire clay body. Low-fire clays are fired between cones 06-04. Low-fire white and terra-cotta clays are examples of low fire clay bodies. Earthenware clay bodies remain porous after firing.


Stoneware - is a mid to high fire clay body. Mid-fire clays are fired between cones 5-7. High-fired stoneware is fired between cones 8-11. Stoneware clays are refractory, with means they can withstand high temperatures. Stoneware clays are fired to vitrification which means they are not porous after firing and will not absorb water in use. Stoneware clay bodies are used for dinnerwares and pottery. 

Porcelain - is a white high fire clay body. Porcelain is a primary clay that was first discovered in China, it is valued for its brightness and if fired high enough it can become translucent.

Air Dry Clay - is a clay body that is soft and moldable. It contains a drying agent and air drys to a hard state.  It requires no baking or firing in a kiln. It remains porous but can be painted.

Plasticine - is an oil based clay body. The oil prevents the clay from drying out. It is reusable and will not fully harden.

Play Doughs - are soft and pliable. They are made from various ingredients intended for sensory play.

Grog - is crushed unglazed pottery or brick used as an additive to add strength to clay.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Where does clay come from?

Where does clay come from?

The ground of course!

Clay comes from rocks that have been broken down by weather and turned into tiny particles. Clay can be found at the subsoil level of the ground which is between bedrock and topsoil. If you dig in your yard with a shovel and remove the top soil you can reach the clay layer. The clay will be either white, gray, tan or red in color and will have a sleek texture feel to it. 

Primary clay is clay that is found close to where it was formed in nature. Primary clays are often white or gray in color. 

Secondary clay is clay that is found far from where it was formed in nature, as the secondary clay traveled by wind and water often picks up other minerals on its journey. Secondary clays are often tan or terra cotta colored. Secondary clays are often more plastic than primary clays.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

About Ruth Post

Little Budding Artist Ruthie

Even though decades have passed since I created this picture in kindergarten, I remember the day like it was yesterday. The warm sun was shinning on me as I took a brush full of wet paint and used broad strokes to paint this giant red flower. I knew at that moment that art was my thing and that I was hooked on it! The painting above represents my earliest vivid memory of being an artist.

I have always felt that I was an artist. As a child I loved creating images from my imagination with the art supplies my mom had at home. I was happiest as a kid when I was mixing colors, using sparkly glitter and playing with play dough. 

Now as an adult I have my own art studio with lots of easels, brushes, paints and sparkly things to add to my art works. I paint whimsical pictures that feel as sweet, happy and innocent as my childhood memories.  I evolved from making sculptures out of play dough as a child into an artist and art teacher who creates sculptures from clay that are fired in a kiln. My studio in Arizona is a sunny oasis where I paint, sculpt and sew while watching bunnies, deer, coyotes, bobcats and lizards play on the mountains outside the window.

I LOVE being an artist and art teacher! 
 I have taught little budding artists for over 30 years. 
It is my mission as an art educator to help little artists grow into BIG artists.

I would love to help you grow as an artist!

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