- What is clay?
- History of clay art
- Clay art modeling tools
- Tips for beginners
- Clay art ideas
- Benefits of clay art
With our busy lives, millennials have started indulging in stress-relieving hobbies. While meditation, yoga, and sports are the most popular among us, a new unconventional not so popular emerging hobby is clay art or clay modeling. In this article, we will talk about clay art.
What is Clay?
Clay is one of the most versatile and easy to handle materials for learning sculpting. A large block of clay is easy to mold and is used by beginners as well as professional sculptors to make beautiful models. Due to clay’s flexible nature, it is used by amateurs for sculpting and modeling.
The models formed by using clay are soft. They are heated in a furnace to get the final hard shape. Clay modeling is a type of stress reliever. Creating something on your own releases dopamine, which makes you happy. Also, clay modeling requires a lot of patience and hand coordination, which makes it a soothing and fun activity to pursue in your free time.
There are different types of clay used for modeling. Some sculptors prefer oil-based clays as they do not dry after the model is done. Some prefer water-based clays, but water-based clays are too soft to work with and needs firing for the shape to persist. The type of clay is selected by taking into account facts like, what the end material should look like, the experience of the sculptor, firing or nonfiring model, and cost.
Below are the types of clays used in modeling:
It is a wax and oil-based clay which is used for various purposes such as artistic modeling or prototype modeling. Plastilina is also known as Plasticine. Clay four is used as a binder for wax and oil to make plastilina clay. Plastilina clay can not be fired, which means that its consistency is the same forever. As oil does not evaporate, the clay always stays soft. Although high temperature can change the flexibility of the clay as the temperature changes the viscosity of the oil.
Plastilina is of three types, namely professional-grade, school grade, and industrial grade. The professional-grade plastilina is used by professional sculptors and contains more sulphur compared to other plastilinas for a smoother texture.
Buy Plastilina Clay on Amazon
Sargent Art Plastilina Modeling Clay, 5-Pound, Cream
2. Self Hardening clay
It is also known as air-dried clay, it is a non-firing clay and dried automatically if not kept damp with moisture. The clay does not need to be fired for a solid structure; instead, it is kept covered with a damp towel to stop it from drying. It has two types Boneware and Claystone. Boneware is used for direct modeling, and it supports its own structure, while Claystone needs the support of an armature.
Buy Self Hardening Clay on Amazon
Amaco Marblex Self-Hardening Pottery Clay 1Kg
3. Ceramic/pottery clay:
Water-based clays differ from other sand or earth material due to their ability to retain its shape when in semi-solid form. This is known as the plasticity of the clay. When clay is mixed with the right amount of water, it can be used for modeling. There are different types of water-based clays
Earthen Clays, Porcelain, Terra cotta, Mid fire Stoneware, and High Fire stoneware. Earthen clays are being used from ancient times and contain impurities like iron, which makes it reach the optimum shape even at low-temperature firing. Stoneware clays are light gray in color when in a moist form. The product color after firing ranges from grey to brown and majorly depends on the type of firing used.
Buy Ceramic Clay on Amazon
Sara Home Pottery Sculpting Ceramics Natural Earthenware Terracotta Clay 2 kg
4. Wax/Polymer based clay
Polymer clay is called clay although it does not contain any clay minerals. It is a firing clay and needs heating to reach an optimum form. Polymer clay is used by artists, kids, and in the animation industry. You can easily buy it from craft stores.
5. Paper-Based clay: Paper clay is clay in which a small amount of cellulose fiber is added to increase its strength. This fiber enables dry to dry and wet to dry joins of the paper clay. Paper clays are air-dry clays and do not need firing to stay firm.
History of Clay:
The use of clay to make firm shapes and objects did not start as an art. Clay was more of a necessity than a modeling material. In ancient times, clay was used to make utensils and daily use objects. The production of utensils using clay brought a revolution in our cooking methods. Clay utensils were used for cooking meals, meals were served in clay utensils, and the most important use of clay utensils was to hold water. With these revolutionary innovations during ancient times, humanity had an upgrade in the standard of living.
The method of shaping clay also changed; at first, clay was modeled by hand; there were some techniques where flat dried slabs of clay were joined together to form a container. Some ceramists then came up with the spinning wheel. The block of wet clay is placed at the center of the wheel, and it is rotated at high speed. The torque and hands help in modeling clay in its desired shape. Some ceramists used to pour liquid clay into molds to obtain the desired structure.
The use of clay expanded globally due to trade. The use of clay and style of models created using it differed regionally. As time passed, the clay structures were considered a part of the culture of that region. The utensils represented the culture of that region. Clay models, instead of being daily use items, slowly became artifacts as industrialization and use of metals grew. Now ceramics are one of the most popular artifacts uncovered by archeologists. The utensils are dated back to their time of use and are used to study the history of that region.
- Wire tipped tool: The wire is attached to a wooden stick. It is used to create wrinkles in the structure.
- Twisted wire rake: A pair of twisted wire is bent in a loop, and the loop is attached to a wooden holder.
- Guitar Loop: An old guitar string is used to make a loop, and the loop is attached to the wooden holder.
- Fine Lopp: A thin metal strip is bent to make a loop and attached to a wooden holder. It is used to bring out the fine details.
- Mini Wire brush: It’s a brush with metal bristles.
- Potter’s wheel for water-based clay: It is a wheel that spins fast to give the clay a nice shape.
Buy tools on Amazon
KiKi 11-Piece Set – Metal Tipped Sculpting Tools with Wood Handles, Pottery Tools Clay Sculpting Carving Tool Set Contains Most Essential Wooden Clay Tools for Potters
Buy potter’s wheel on Amazon
3dRose Square Pottery Wheel and Clay Merrill Quilt (12 x 12-inch)
Tips for clay art beginners:
1. Select your clay carefully
All the beginners need to keep in mind which type of structure they want to create. Thorough research is necessary for clay selection. The temperature of the atmosphere, the availability of firing, the expected durability of the finished product. All these things should be considered before getting into clay art.
2. Plan your model:
You need to have a clear vision of what you want to make. Without a clear picture of what you want, as a result, the sculpting part will be really difficult. Clay art is a process that needs a clear definition of the expected result all the time. A well-planned model defined a definite path that the sculptor should follow.
3. Moisture/wetness of water-based clay:
If you’re working with wet clay, then you need to take care of the density and consistency of the mixture. If the clay is too wet, then it will not be able to take any shape; if the water is not sufficient, the clay will crack. To check the clay consistency, take a small clay block and flatten it, try to roll it into a cylinder if it rolls smoothly then the clay is perfect if it cracks add more water.
4. Work on your hand movements:
Practice your hand movements while handling the clay. Clay needs to be treated gently to obtain beautiful shapes. On the spinning wheel, certain finger movements change the chape, thickness, and length of the model, thus use your fingers carefully. Oil-based clays should be treated properly as temperature affects their plasticity.
5. Avoid Protruding shapes:
Beginners should take care of not including protruding shapes in their beginning models. Protruding shapes are difficult and complex to male. Incorporating these shapes increases the rate of failure of stricture balance; thus, protruding shapes should be incorporated in the model if you have some experience in handling clay.
6. Get professional help:
Clay Art is not easy, and sometimes it is good to get professional help. There are many art studios that train people in clay modeling, and attending these can do wonders. So enroll in your nearest art studio, it might help you achieve your goal faster.
Some clay art ideas for beginners
The basic thing to start with clay is making plates. Plates are easy to make with air-dried clay. It needs no firing and is easy to handle. You can add stickers to your plates for fun.
2. Leaf art
If you love plants and trees, you can preserve them most beautifully. Choose a leaf that you like and press it on a thin sheet of air-dried clay. Cut corners and wait for the clay to dry. You will get beautiful results. If you like painting you can paint your clay leaf with acrylics.
3. Succulent plant pot
Give your succulent pots a twist of clay. Wrap your plastic pot around with clay and print cool clay impressions. You can use acrylics paints to paint the pot.
4. Cute biscuits
Use colorful air dried clay to make cute colorful biscuits. To add shine, add paints, and sparkles to your treat.
5. Pet paw print
Everyone loves their pet. To preserve their cute paw impression forever with you, take a block of clay, press your pets impression in it. To make it more memorable, you can mark the date by using clay tools.
6. Photo frame
You will require two thin sheets of clay and some acrylic paint. Take the two sheets and fill cotton in between them to create space for the photo. Dry the structure and paint it according to it.
7. Cute Fruits
Fruits come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no right or wrong even. So let out your inner child and make some cute fruits for your dinner table. You can also make a clay basket for it.
Benefits of clay art:
Clay art encourages creativity in a person. A creative person develops a different perspective about everything, which widens their vision. There is no bad clay art as a clay model can have multiple interpretations; thus, we see what we want to see in a clay model.
2. Hard work and patience
To achieve perfection in clay modeling, you need to have steady hands and patience. Clay modeling nourishes your patience and helps you indulge in a calm activity.
3. Aesthetic feel
Many times we can not find the perfect decoration piece for our house. We all want our home to represent our personality, with clay modeling, you can create art pieces that represent you.
Clay art is appreciated by many as it is close to nature. Clay is a part of the earth and reminds us of our environment. If you become good at clay art, you can create a market for yourself. In this digital age, commercializing art has become easier than ever.
- Knead the clay using your palms. Place the clay on a hard surface that is covered with newspaper. ...
- Try the pinch method for an easy first project. ...
- Roll lumps of clay to create coils. ...
- Stack clay coils to create a vessel. ...
- Roll and trim clay into slabs.
- Clay Flower Pot. Think small and an indoor plant. ...
- Clay Flower Vase. Get creative with shapes and sizes. ...
- Clay Coffee Mug. ...
- Clay Wall Art. ...
- Clay Pencil Holder. ...
- Clay Bowl / Clay Plate. ...
- Clay Soap Dish. ...
- Clay Paperweight.
Air dry clay is a type of clay that is perfect for those new to making pottery and is great for hand building and making pottery at home as it does not require a kiln.What are the three basic methods in creating clay sculpture? ›
Techniques: Carving, Casting, & More
Sculptors use additive and subtractive techniques to create sculptures. Additive means to bring materials together, while subtractive means to take away from the base material. Four main techniques exist in sculpting: carving, assembling, modeling, and casting.
There are 3 main categories of clay Earthenware, Stoneware and porcelain. They split clays into these three categories by what firing temperature the clay matures at and the qualities each clay body has.How do you mold clay for beginners? ›
Probably the most ancient and easy way to mold clay is by pinching it with your fingers. Once your clay has been wedged, press and pull at it with your fingers to form it into a desired shape. For instance, to shape a simple bowl using the pinch method: Take a lump of your clay and roll into a ball.How do you make clay with 3 ingredients? ›
- 2 cups of baking soda.
- 1 cup of cornstarch.
- 1 1/4 cups of water.
For beginner sculptures, clay is the best material to get started. Once you master sculpting with clay, it can be easier to progress to other materials like stone or wood. Clay for sculpting is available in different types, such as plastilina or oil-based clay, ceramic clay, or polymer clay.What are the basics of sculpture? ›
The two most important elements of sculpture—mass and space—are, of course, separable only in thought. All sculpture is made of a material substance that has mass and exists in three-dimensional space. The mass of sculpture is thus the solid, material, space-occupying bulk that is contained within its surfaces.How do you work with clay? ›
- no dry scraps are left lying around.
- adopt “clean as you go” method.
- avoid dry sweeping that will raise dust in the air.
- avoid using clay in carpeted spaces, as dust will be too difficult to remove.
- always mop the floor and wet sponge the surfaces after you are finished.
Adding all these costs, starting pottery as a hobby, could cost you around $1400. It's safe to say that if you buy a Kiln and Pottery Wheel getting started in pottery making can be an expensive hobby. Once you've spent money on quality products, restocking will be significantly cheaper, and you'll be spending less.What is the easiest clay to sculpt with? ›
Polymer Clay: Polymer clay is a type of oil-based clay and it is more suited for beginners since it can be baked by heating in an oven at home. You can work with this clay for as long as you want and heat it only after you're done.What are the 4 basic techniques for forming clay? ›
- Pinch Pots. Begin a pinch pot by forming a lump of clay into a smooth sphere that fits the size of the hand. ...
- Coil Method. Coils of clay can be used to build bowls, vases and other forms in various shapes and sizes. ...
- Slab Method.
- Dry Clay Stage.
- Slip Stage of Clay.
- Plastic (Workable) Stage of Clay.
- Leather Hard Stage of Clay.
- Bone Dry Stage of Clay.
- Bisqueware Stage of Clay.
- Glaze Firing Stage of Clay.
- The Secret 8th And Final Stage of Clay Is Enjoying Your Creation.
- Stage 1 – Drying Your Pottery.
- Stage 2 – Bisque Firing Pottery.
- Stage 3 – Glaze Firing Pottery.
- Final Thoughts on the Stages of Firing Clay.
The main groups of clays include kaolinite, montmorillonite-smectite, and illite. Chlorite, vermiculite, talc, and pyrophyllite are sometimes also classified as clay minerals.What are the 5 methods of working with clay? ›
After the clay has been thoroughly wedged, it may be formed by a variety of methods: slab, wheel, coil, pinch, and mold. These methods may be combined, or used singly.What are the two methods of preparing clay? ›
There are two basic methods for preparing clay, the wet and the dry method.What is the most rare clay? ›
Cambrian Blue Clay
This clay is the rarest and most ancient of all clays with deposits beginning in the earliest Paleozoic period of our history, about 542 million years ago. Cambrian Blue Clay is imported from the salt lakes of Siberia.
The three most commonly used clay bodies are earthenware, mid-fire stoneware, high-fire stoneware and porcelain.
Wedging your clay is an important step in preventing it from cracking while drying. This helps to compress and align the clay particles, which helps prevent cracking. It's important to wedge your clay correctly so that it has an even consistency throughout. You don't want hard lumps that are drier in your soft clay.How do you keep clay from sticking to mold? ›
Most molds will stick to clay and can distort the design when you pull the clay free. Avoid this problem by using a mold release: water: the simplest solution. talcum powder or cornstarch: brushes off the clay piece before or after firing.How do you air dry clay without cracking it? ›
In order to dry properly, air dry clay projects should be exposed to air on all sides at the same time. This will help prevent warping and cracking. We recommend drying pieces on a screen or cookie rack, for example, where air flow is the same on all sides.What is better salt dough or air dry clay? ›
The salt dough browns slightly when baked, while the air dry clay stays a bright pure white, and I think the clay also holds the shape of the cookie cutter much sharper and more defined without any shrinkage.How do you make clay with Elmer's glue? ›
- 1 cup cornstarch.
- 1 cup Elmers glue or any white craft glue.
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice as a preservative.
- 1 tablespoon mineral oil ( you can also use vegetable oil) which creates a smooth silky texture.
Drawing sculpture and sketching ideas is often the first step any sculptor will take before creating a piece. It is, in and of itself- somewhat of an art form. Drawing sculpture and sketching ideas is important for the artist to develop and understand what they want to create.What are the two basic sculpting methods? ›
The processes are either subtractive (material is removed or carved out) or additive (material is added).What are the 5 elements of sculpture? ›
The word symbolizes the elements of space and time. To make a sculpture, you need to use formal elements such as space, shape, form, tone, texture, and color.What is the best technique in sculpture? ›
Carving: Carving is the process of removing a shape from a mass of stone, wood, or other hard material by cutting or chipping away at it. Carving is one of the subtractive sculpting techniques that involves systematically removing material from the outside. It is one of the best ancient sculpting techniques.What are the 3 main types of sculpture? ›
Four basic types of sculptures include relief sculpture, additive and subtractive sculpture, and casting sculpture.
Ceramic art is art made from ceramic materials, including clay. It may take forms including artistic pottery, including tableware, tiles, figurines and other sculpture. As one of the plastic arts, ceramic art is one of the visual arts.Why is it hard to play on clay? ›
Due to their textured surfaces, clay courts feature the slowest surface for ball speed. High-bounce serves like topspin are easier to return on this surface due to the ball's reduced speed. This reduced speed makes points last longer, which is ideal for baseline players who have a more defensive style of play.Is clay a good hobby? ›
Clay play can be a very invigorating, yet soothing activity. Working the clay is a positive way to express emotions, a good stress-reliever and, since it's generally an unhurried activity, also a calming pastime for kids.
- Ear Defenders. Safety first, whatever discipline of shooting. ...
- Eye Protection. All clay shooters should wear eye protection, quite often a clay ground can provide this for you, but double check before you arrive. ...
- Shooting Vest. ...
- Shirt or Polo Shirt. ...
- Hat. ...
- Footwear. ...
- Waterproof Jacket. ...
One material that is especially messy is clay. But despite the mess, working with clay can be a fun and rewarding experience for kids. If you're thinking of letting your child work with clay, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, make sure your child washes their hands after working with clay.What the most expensive hobby in the world? ›
- Yachting. Yachting has long been a favorite hobby of the rich. ...
- Horseback riding. Canva. ...
- Golf. Another expensive hobby is golf. ...
- Flying. Flying is a popular hobby among those who love adventure and experiencing new things. ...
- Collecting cars. ...
- Collecting art. ...
- Traveling. ...
While air-dry epoxy clays harden the best (and fastest)—becoming tough enough to drill holes in it without creating cracks—other air-dry clays can be fragile and prone to cracking. There are a few ways to strengthen air-dry clay and prevent cracks: Use internal armatures when sculpting to help provide strength.What is the best clay that doesn't crack? ›
Our Verdict. If you are in need of a versatile air dry clay that is non-toxic and suitable for all ages, the DAS Air-Hardening clay is crack-resistant, dries in 24 hours, and comes in white and terra cotta.What clay does not break easily? ›
DAS air-hardening modeling clay is a versatile, fibrous, paper-based product. At first it is not too malleable, but with a little water and manipulation, the clay becomes more pliable. Because of the fibers in the clay, forms created with it are sturdy and less likely than other products to break once dry.Do you paint or bake clay first? ›
However you decide to paint your creations, it's best to apply the paint after baking the clay. The paint could change color or prevent your clay from setting in the oven. To avoid burning your fingers, allow your cured polymer clay to fully cool before you start painting.
You can do it! Many who wish to make pottery might be deterred by thinking they need a pottery wheel, kiln, or other equipment to start making pots. But the truth is all you need is a lump of clay and your imagination, and you can make your very first pottery projects.How do you seal clay before painting? ›
In a bowl, mix a ratio of 80% PVA glue to 20% water to create a creamy consistency, and then coat your fully dried clay piece, and allow the sealer mixture to dry. Once you have applied your PVA glue mixture or acrylic medium, you can then apply 3 coats of acrylic paint to seal your work.What do you put on clay before painting? ›
Applying gesso can provide a more even distribution of the paint. The gesso helps to create a barrier between the clay and paint, so it slightly seals the clay from moisture. This is especially helpful if you use watercolors or even oil colors, which may react with the clay.Can I bake clay after I paint it? ›
Oven-bake clay can be painted after curing. We recommend using water based acrylic paints. Before painting the piece – Test a hidden section of the project first. Apply paint and allow to dry completely.What are the 4 steps of joining clay? ›
Score, Slip, Stick, Smooth
The four S's are what holds things together. Missing any of these stages will lead to your pieces breaking off and not sticking together.
- Hand-building. Handbuilding is exactly what it sounds like; using your hands to form an object out of clay. ...
- Slab Building. ...
- Coiling. ...
- Throwing. ...
- Extruding. ...
- Slip Casting.
The size of your piece
If your pottery is half an inch thick or greater, then it is recommended to leave it to dry for up to three weeks. If you live in a humid climate and want to ensure that the clay is fully dried, then it is worth leaving pottery for an additional week to ensure it is completely dry.
Adding all these costs, starting pottery as a hobby, could cost you around $1400. It's safe to say that if you buy a Kiln and Pottery Wheel getting started in pottery making can be an expensive hobby. Once you've spent money on quality products, restocking will be significantly cheaper, and you'll be spending less.What happens if you don't fire clay? ›
If you don't fire clay it becomes dry clay in what ever form you made. It will be brittle so easily broken. If the object gets wet it will absorb water and if it absorbs enough it will collapse and become just a lump of clay.Is it OK to add water to air dry clay? ›
Water can be added to Air-Dry Clay to soften or join pieces. If too much water is added and clay is very soft, allow excess to evaporate before molding pieces; otherwise, cracking may result.
Cracking is normal in air dry clays: it's caused by shrinkage because of the loss of the water inside the clay body. Cracking in air dry clay is typically caused by sculpting over an armature or using a lot of water, either to mix the clay or to help it adhere onto a previous layer.How long before air dry clay hardens? ›
Air dry clay is a paper-based clay that can take anywhere from 24 - 72 hours to harden depending on the thickness of the clay and environmental conditions.