Wedging clay: simple guide
What is Wedging?
Wedging prepares the clay for optimal use. Wedging makes the clay more pliable, ensures a uniform consistency, and removes air pockets as well as small hard spots in the clay before you use or reuse the clay for a project. When reclaiming clay, wedging ensures all the clay is incorporates together. Wedging the clay before throwing makes the clay more supple. There are a few different ways to wedge clay.
Kneading- essential to even out the clay body and remove air bubbles which can cause bloating or explosions during firing
Spiral Kneading- useful for larger amounts of clay, a cut through the clay mass will show a developing spiral.
Ox-Head Kneading- easier of the two methods demonstrated, rocking and pushing it makes it become smooth and thoroughly mixed with no air bubbles.
How to wedge clay?
Place your hands on opposite sides of roughly rounded mass of clay. With your right hand, push down on the clay while rolling it forwards. Contain the clay with your left hand to prevent will sideways movement. Use your left hand to rotate the clay mass after each forwards movement.
A cut through the clay mass from time to time will show a developing spiral as the clay mixes. Continue to rotate the clay anti-clock wise, moving the right hand into position for each downwards push Try to develop a rhythm as you work.
Position the hands on opposite sides of the of the clay mass with the heels over the top and the fingers wrapped around the sides. Push the clay down and away from the body, digging the palms into the clay so that a raised mass remains in the centre. Roll the clay back towards the body and re-position the hands slightly towards. Repeat the rolling and pushing.
Continue to knead the clay by rocking and pushing until it is smooth and thoroughly mixed with no air pockets.
Wedging technique can be used to blend two or more clay types together or to combine hard and soft layers of clay. With this technique, we can get marble look of our piece.
Bending at the wedging table can cause physical strains on your neck as well as back.