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Wedging clay

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    At first I read wedding day, LOL
    3122 days ago
    My three brothers all made clay balls, and deliberately hollowed the inside and then closed off the outside - and they all exploded in the kiln. Really. They took it as a challenge. (I come from a family where my brothers put firecrackers down anthills. Threw GI Joe dolls out third story windows with a handkerchief parachute. We all experimented way too much.)
    3123 days ago
    Ah, the memories! I used to do a lot of ceramics...hand building and throwing, and yes, wedging endless masses of clay in necessary preparation for the fun stuff. I'd say 400 calories is more like it...congrats on fitting in a really intense workout while getting something done at the same time. Hope you're not *too* sore from it later emoticon
    3123 days ago
    I feel your pain!! I worked for a professional potter for years. One note: air pockets do not cause the clay to explode in the kiln--it's pockets of water that heat up, form gas, then expand. Improper drying time before firing can make clay objects explode.
    3123 days ago
  • SAPNA.
    Think how much weight you must have lost. Brilliant! I just hate the feel of clay in my hands. I find it just horrible. Play dough is ok, but clay Yuck!
    3123 days ago
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