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paper clay/snail's answers

updated sat 26 jan 02


Marcia Selsor on fri 25 jan 02

Snail's answers below are right on the mark! I use paper clay a lot. I
mix it myself and use about 20-25% paper in my handbuilding clay. The
good point in addition to Snail's list it that it lightens pieces and
makes them easier to ship. Less mass, less breakage according to my
physicist husband.
Marcia in Montana

Snail Scott wrote:
> As for paperclay, I've used it a bit for sculpture. I've
> discovered that:
> 1) Don't use more than about 40% paper; it gets weird in
> several ways. (Though it does have its uses that way.)
> 2) Resist the temptation to work thin. Because the green
> strength of paperclay is so great, you may be inclined
> to make less-thick work. Don't do it! When the paper
> burns out, there will actually be less clay than in a
> normal clay body of the same thickness, and it will be
> more fragile.
> 3) Be aware that wood pulp forms wood ash when it burns
> out. Wood ash is a flux. High percentages of fiber can
> actually reduce the firing temperature of your clay.
> 4) It works fine for slab-building and pinched forms. It
> works not too well for coiling. It works very well for
> press-molding and assembly. It works poorly for incised
> decoration and carving.
> 5) Make your joints very strong, with proper score-and-
> slip techniques; the fibers must interlock across the
> joint for it to be strong, since there is less clay
> contacting other clay. This becomes more important with
> higher percentages of paper.
> 6) It will dry very slowly, since the paper will hold
> and retain moisture more than plain clay will. And, with
> high percentages of paper, shrinkage can increase quite
> a bit.
> I found that it didn't give me much advantage with the
> type of work I do, so I only use it occasionally now.
> It can be amazingly useful for some purposes, though.
> -Snail
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Marcia Selsor

Pam Pasko on fri 25 jan 02

I too have used paperclay quite abit for slab building and press tile. I
have found it to work a little bit different for me in a couple of ways than
Snail and Marcia's. I am working with a recipe I have made up at one of the
clay companies.
1.When using a slab roller it tends to come out some what bumpy, almost like
an orange peel, although in the end it does not alway matter depending what
you are doing with it.
2. When I have used it for press tile I tend to have much more warping than
with a clay without the paper.
I'm sure it depends on the body you are using and everything has its
advantages, I will always keep some handy in the studio for certain projects.

Pam Pasko