First time recycling (slaking) clay!

I’ve been collecting all my little bits and pieces of clay off cuts in the hope of recycling them. Obviously as a home potter, the amount of clay I am recycling is significantly less than a studio potter. However, I work in small amounts and to a budget, so I am recycling the left over clay now that I have finished my bag.


There is an article on Ceramic Arts Daily which essentially tells you to leave the clay until it’s bone dry, allow it to soak in water and then lay out on a porous surface roughly 1.5-2 inches thick to dry out. Once the clay is back to a workable viscosity, bag it up or begin wedging!

Simon Leach has a great video on YouTube in which he also adds vinegar. He doesn’t say why exactly but someone in the comments says the following:

A Furness Red6 years ago

@juliafranz72 Hi Julia, vinegar is being used as a ‘deflocculant’ – i.e. the acid attacks the particles and reduces their ability to stick to each other thus making the clay ‘fluid’ more quickly than by just using water. Mix pulverised dry clay with vinegar to make a paste for repairing broken ‘greenware’ e.g. a broken handle. Apply vinegar to surfaces to be joined so that paste does not dry out on contact with the piece. The repair remains delicate until bisque fired. Hope this helps.

My only issue is how much water to add…? It says to cover the clay – but depending on the size of your clay pieces, that can vary a lot. But, I guess I’ll just add enough to cover the clay pieces and then add a tablespoon of vinegar (small amount for a small amount of clay!).

I also made my own wedging batt! I don’t have a permanent studio space, nor the space for a wedging table. Simon Leach has a video about making plaster boards with chicken wire in a large frame and I had read about some people using canvas. We are tight on space and I work on a budget, so I invented my own!  I bought some cheap plaster of paris on Amazon for £7.50 (I actually had an amazon voucher so it was free!) and then bought a cheap canvas at The Works  for £6 I think. I mixed up the plaster of paris in a bucket in the garden and added the appropriate amount of water, laid the canvas on a flat surface and poured it into the back of the canvas and left it to dry.

Now I have a portable and storable wedging board! Once the clay has slaked down and is ready to be formed I’ll add more photos

PG xx


2 thoughts on “First time recycling (slaking) clay!

  1. Hi from Japan, Pottergirl. Thank you for your potter-thoughts. Instead of the plaster bat (unless, as you say, you can use it for other things), try this: Put the dry clay bits into an old pillow case, or a T-shirt with the arms and neck tied up, making a sack. Put that into a bucket, fill it with water, and wait until the clay has absorbed the water. You can then remove the excess water by lifting out the sack and suspending it for a while until the water has drained. Or if there is no where to hang it (and take the heavy weight!), drop the sack onto concrete a few times to get the water out.

    Liked by 1 person

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