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Re: self-hardening clay...HELP!

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  • sueallen_art
    Hey Patricia, When you work with Marblex, you need to keep it moist at all times, (since it is self-hardening clay, it begins to dry as soon as it is
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2006
      Hey Patricia,

      When you work with Marblex, you need to keep it moist at all times,
      (since it is self-hardening clay, it begins to dry as soon as it is
      unwrapped) so have bowls of water or squirt bottles available
      (though I say good luck with that because the kids tend to over wet
      the clay). If they are unable to finish the project in one sitting,
      be sure to WET THE PIECES DOWN really well, then cover them with a
      very damp rag and plastic bag. You will have to check the pieces
      every day and squirt them with water if you notice they are drying
      out. It is not very easy to try to reconstitute self-hardening clay
      once they drying process has begun. I agree with the other post that
      acrylic paint is the better choice. I would add that a mixture of
      2:1 elmers glue and water mixed together and then painted on the
      projects after the paint has dried will also make it a little more
      durable and perhaps add a bit more shine. I work with self hardening
      clay as well as various clays that require firing. If there is a
      local clay supplier, it is not only cheaper to buy their self-
      hardening clay, but you will find that self-hardening clay handles
      more like earthenware. Another note is that most self-hardening
      clays can be fired at cone 04 (though some give off a stronger odor
      as they heat up). Good luck with your projects - remember Keep it
      moist!
      Sue

      --- In art_education@yahoogroups.com, "Patricia Jones Brigman"
      <pbrigman@...> wrote:
      >
      > Greetings to all,
      > This is my first year to teach art (and the first year for our
      district to
      > have art in elementary!) and I am gearing up to begin a clay unit
      with all
      > grades next week. I have 1st through 5th grade for 45 min/week.
      I am
      > introducing it this week with short videos (depending on grade),
      art history
      > transparencys and real pottery. I have a house full of it since
      my husband
      > has his masters in ceramics (MFA). However, neither of us has
      ever dealt
      > with this self-hardening stuff (Amaco Marblex). I have no access
      at school
      > to a kiln, wheel, wedging table, etc...so we are pretty primitive
      around
      > here as far as clay goes. This is clay that was purchased for
      every
      > elementary in our district and I want to make the best use of it.
      I think I
      > am going to have them work on clay slab reliefs, but am really not
      sure how
      > well it's going to work and am stressing about it. Have any of
      you done
      > anything decent with this stuff? I've been messing around with
      some at home
      > and notice how easily it breaks when dry and even can be slaked
      down to wet
      > clay again after drying (like greenware). I need some experienced
      advice on
      > using this clay. What have some of you done that has worked
      reasonably well
      > and what are the "secrets" to using this stuff? Please advise
      soon so I can
      > adjust any of my bad ideas! (as usual, I think I learn more than
      the kids
      > do with each new lesson...I am looking forward to next year!)
      > Thanks!
      > Patti
      >
      >
      > Patti Brigman
      > Art Teacher
      > Walker Elementary
      >
    • Kelli Wilke
      Hi Patty, I work with air dry clay too. I don t use the Marblex brand, (I m drawing a blank on the brand I use) but I have to say I ve been somewhat pleased
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 1, 2006
        Hi Patty,
        I work with air dry clay too. I don't use the Marblex brand, (I'm drawing a blank on the brand I use) but I have to say I've been somewhat pleased with it so far. Although I would prefer firing clay, of course, but it works for now..until I can get a kiln.
        I would agree with the post that suggests keeping it wet! My kids wrap with damp paper towels and then air tight in plastic bags every night. It does crumble a lot easier. I stress to the kids that the clay cannot sit out. If they are n't using any pieces they need to keep in the plastic. So far I"ve used this stuff for three years. We do ceramic whistles, coil pots and slab boxes. My 7th graders are doing coil pots right now and we've been working on them for almost two weeks now. We paint with acrylic. I also stress scoring. If pieces fall off after it's dry we just use elmers. I guess my outlook is "it's better than nothing". I think the biggest complaint my kids have is the smell.

        *smile*

        Kelli Wilke

        Patricia Jones Brigman <pbrigman@...> wrote:
        Greetings to all,
        This is my first year to teach art (and the first year for our district to
        have art in elementary!) and I am gearing up to begin a clay unit with all
        grades next week. I have 1st through 5th grade for 45 min/week. I am
        introducing it this week with short videos (depending on grade), art history
        transparencys and real pottery. I have a house full of it since my husband
        has his masters in ceramics (MFA). However, neither of us has ever dealt
        with this self-hardening stuff (Amaco Marblex). I have no access at school
        to a kiln, wheel, wedging table, etc...so we are pretty primitive around
        here as far as clay goes. This is clay that was purchased for every
        elementary in our district and I want to make the best use of it. I think I
        am going to have them work on clay slab reliefs, but am really not sure how
        well it's going to work and am stressing about it. Have any of you done
        anything decent with this stuff? I've been messing around with some at home
        and notice how easily it breaks when dry and even can be slaked down to wet
        clay again after drying (like greenware). I need some experienced advice on
        using this clay. What have some of you done that has worked reasonably well
        and what are the "secrets" to using this stuff? Please advise soon so I can
        adjust any of my bad ideas! (as usual, I think I learn more than the kids
        do with each new lesson...I am looking forward to next year!)
        Thanks!
        Patti


        Patti Brigman
        Art Teacher
        Walker Elementary




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