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#AskClayman: Can I use clay straight from the bag?

You’ve just treated yourself to a new bag (or five) of clay, and now you want to get started on a new and exciting project. We know the feeling all too well. But we also know that whether you’re going to be handbuilding, sculpting or throwing, your clay needs to be soft, malleable, and free of air pockets if you’re going to achieve the best results.

The good news is that fresh bags of clay should contain the correct amount of moisture for that particular clay mixture. As commercial clays are prepared to a uniform consistency and de-aired during the final process of pugging, in theory it should be ready to use straight out of the bag – and that applies whether you’re handbuilding, sculpting, or throwing.

What you might like to consider, though, is that any clay you buy over the counter will have been sitting in a bag and, as a result, will feel slimy to the touch. It comes down to personal preference, but kneading the clay before you use it will work that sweaty moisture into the clay and make it a lot more pleasurable to work with.

Once the bag has been opened, you should store the clay appropriately. You can store it in the bag it came in, but before sealing it, check for splits and holes and try to exclude as much air as possible. The bag should then be stored away from direct sunlight and any other heat sources to ensure the clay retains moisture and keeps its consistency.

Glaze crackling? Struggling with throwing? Having problems when firing? If you have a ceramics related question, we’ll give you an answer and share it on our blog. Leave us a comment, tweet us @ClaymanSupplies or post a message on our Facebook – don’t forget to include the hashtag #AskClayman.