The Mission: to explore, create and inspire!

thePatientPotter is a blog that is designed to encourage and inspire fellow Potters and Entrepreneurs as it takes them through the challenges and triumphs of a 'potter on a mission'.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Red Prairie Dirt


Through my day job working for a General Contractor, I have met a very nice couple, Patrick & Kristy. Patrick is the owner of an Architectural firm and Kristy owns a geotechnical engineering company - a branch of civil engineering concerned with the engineering behavior of earth materials.

Straight out of the bucket
When Patrick found out that I use clay straight from the ground. He came up with the idea of having me create something for him to give a client using clay from the ground of his latest project; an upscale office building.

We came up with a preliminary design and he brought me 3, 5-gallon buckets of beautiful red clay. 

I waited for a couple sunny days to spread the clay out on my driveway so it could dry quickly and thoroughly.

I spent time crushing the clay to get a feel for it. You want to really get to know your clay because unlike clay that you purchase over and over again, your time with natural clay is very short. It's important that you bond with it quickly because you're going to ask it to do some pretty remarkable things.

After a couple days in the hot, Oklahoma sun, this clay was ready to hydrate again. I gathered up 5 buckets, filled them halfway with water and slowly added the crushed clay to them.

Make sure you pour the dry clay into the water; not the other way around.
Get all of that fine dust up off the driveway and put it in the water as well. This fine dust is the best of the best of the clay.
I will let these buckets sit, undisturbed, for at least 24 hours. It will be a week before I can get to it anyway.
The next step is my favorite part, washing the clay.