Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Today I wedged clay for two hours. For those of you who have never wedged clay, this is the process where you work the clay to get out any air pockets (which cause the clay to literally explode in the kiln - but, since my three younger brothers all deliberately made clay bombs when they were in school, I don't tell my students this). Wedging is also the process when one mixes wet and drying out clay together, to make a smooth, malleable mass.
Imagine kneading bread, but trying to take air out, not incorporate air into the dough. A heavy, stiff dough. On a plaster surface, to help absorb the extra moisture. For two hours, pretty much nonstop. Wedge wedge wedge, mix some of the bucket of clay (sitting in water) with pieces of drying clay that the students have overworked. Wedge into a ball, put it in a plastic bag. Wedge some more.
I think the effort is similar to rowing or kayaking. When I'm finished, I'm tired and sore and sweaty. So I'm thinking I may be underrating my caloric expenditure - if it counts as rowing or kayaking, I'm burning close to 400 calories an hour - I've been calculating closer to 200 cals an hour (based on a fitness calculator, calling it "craft work while standing").
Anyhow - it's my cardio for today. Now all I need is some ice for my neck and shoulders.