Where Does Clay Come From?

All year long, the children have been creating with clay that we find in our woods. It sometimes takes a bit to convince them that the clay is different than mud, but once they experiment with it, they usually see the difference in how the clay sticks together as compared to mud. We have some nice layers of clay that are accessible from the banks of the creek. Last year Rachel showed us how to "process" this clay so that it is even better, through a process of straining out the impurities. However, that clay that had been so nicely processed is long gone, and as the weather gets warmer, some children have been wanting to work with clay again. Luke and Bethany spent some time two weeks ago doing this (interspersed with some cold weather that kept freezing the clay) and last week Felix decided that she wanted to try doing this herself as well. She completed the process of collecting, straining and drying the clay, taking most of an afternoon. I asked her to tel me about the whole process.

Marcela: some people might say that real clay comes from a store. What would you say to that?

Felix: well where does the store get it from then? It comes from the creek bank. All clay comes from the earth. It has to be light brown and when you squish it, it sticks together. You collect it in a pot, put in lots of water and stir the clay. Then you strain it so you get the rocks out. Then you put it in fabric and you hang the fabric to let the water drip out. It goes over 2 days. You can look at it then and it is clay. If you don't do all this then there are rocks in the clay and stuff you make will crack.

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