Pottery was made and used by people of ancient civilizations, and pottery making is still one of the most interesting and satisfying of crafts. Some camps are fortunate enough to have natural deposits of clay for campers' use; others must import any material that is used for this activity. The making of camp symbols, utensils, and figures of animal neighbors, the use of designs from nature, and the making and using of a primitive kiln will all contribute to a good craft program in camps.
In camps which have a natural deposit of clay, the processing of the clay will be an interesting and profitable activity, especially for older campers, but since it is an activity that takes time and effort, it is not a beginner's project. Some clay should be processed before the camp begins, so there will be a supply on hand; and then, from time to time, the supply can be replenished by groups of campers for succeeding groups.
Articles that have lasting value will need to be fired to make them durable. Some campers, especially beginners, will be happy working with clay to get the feel of it, with no particular project in mind. Such articles need not be fired, and the clay may be used again and again. As the campers progress in skill and in interest, they will want to preserve their clay articles by the use of a kiln, either primitive or commercial.
These are some of the terms used in ceramics:
Clay-a type of soil material of putty consistency that may be molded into desired shapes, and that hardens when exposed to heat
Pottery-articles fashioned from clay and hardened by heat
Ceramics-another term for articles made of clay and fired; also the name of the craft of clay making Green ware-unfired clay articles To fire-to bake in a kiln to harden clay Kiln (pronounced kill) -a furnace or oven for firing clay articles (Fig. IV-1) Bisque or Biscuit ware-ware that has been fired once Glost-the second firing, after glazing Potter's wheel-a revolving surface used to spin clay mass as it is shaped by hand Bat-a flat slab of plaster used to absorb moisture from clay
Slab-a wooden form used for rolling out flat pieces of clay
To wedge-to make clay ready for use, free of air bubbles
To throw-to form ware on the potter's wheel
Coil-a rope of clay used in building forms
Slip-diluted clay, the consistency of heavy cream, used for casting, for smoothing, for painting, for attaching two pieces of clay together Glaze-a thin coating of glass which makes the clay surface nonporous and improves the appearance with color and finish Leather-hard-partly moist clay that has been exposed to air for several hours so that it is firm and stiff, but not dry Bone-dry-clay that has dried completely Plastic-impressionable, workable Mold-a plaster or wooden form in which clay is pressed or cast to achieve a specific shape
Tools and equipment used in ceramics
Methods used in ceramics and methods of decorating clay are presented later in this chapter.
A rolling pin can be made from a broom handle, or from a sturdy dry stick that is shaved and cut to desired size, then sanded. Guide sticks should be square cut and sanded. A number of sets of varying sizes will facilitate activity.
Small holes drilled in the sticks will make them readily usable as frames for tiles, etc.
Screen for sifting clay can be made from wooden frame nailed together, with window screening tacked on top.
Plaster bats are made by mixing plaster of paris with water to consistency to pour, then pouring into greased mold, such as cookie sheet or pie pan (Fig. IV-2).
Wire for wedging board is made by stretching wire from about one foot above table to front edge (Fig. IV-3). A turn buckle helps keep the wire taut.
A potter's wheel is not usually found in a camp for the simple projects described here. However, the making of a primitive wheel would be an excellent project for older boys. (See Pottery Made Easy, by John W. Dougherty.) Primitive kilns are described on following pages, Figures IV-17-19.