BASIC FORMING TECHNIQUES
- Rub a few drops of olive oil on your palms and tools before starting to keep them from sticking to the clay and to keep the clay moist.
- To make sheets, use a roller and stir sticks or two equal stacks of playing cards on each side of the lump to make a uniform thickness (thicknesses of 3-6 cards are typical
for jewelry items).
- A knife, blade or playing card edge can be used to lift the pieces off the sheet.
- To join parts, set them close together and apply a drop
of water and slip with a pointed brush. Let the water
penetrate for a few seconds, then firmly press the parts together and hold them in place for several seconds.
- To achieve textures, press the clay against a rough
surface or roll the surface over a sheet of clay. Even simple objects such as bottle caps create interesting trails, and leaves, bark and wood offer many possibilities.
- One way to make a pendant bail is to roll out a slender rod and form it into a loop. Cut off the ends to make
a solid attachment, moisten with water and press it
- To make rings, wrap enough wide tape around a dowel
to create a form of the correct size (remember to allow
roughly 20% for shrinkage). Cover the form with plastic wrap and create your ring. When it is finished (and
preferably before the clay dries), slide the ring off.
Note: If the clay becomes dry as you work, spray or brush on a little water (not too much!) and cover it with plastic wrap for a few minutes to allow it to rehydrate. If you add too much water, just set the clay aside, loosely wrapped, and allow it to dry out. You can also knead a small amount of olive oil into the clay to prevent stickiness and to keep it pliable.