Home » Clay » The 7 Stages of Clay Explained 2022

The 7 Stages of Clay Explained 2022

Clay has seven stages, which we shall go through in detail below.

If you want to start pottery and crafting, it is better to understand clay factors properly. Clay plays an essential part in pottery. It is well to know about all the details of clay. Its stages are also critical.

Clay has passed through certain stages. These stages provide it with a final complex shape for the design. These stages are crucial for all types of clay, including; Earthenware, stoneware, porcelain or fire clay, etc.

Moreover, It is important to have a basic understanding of the stages of clay dryness, both as an expert and as a beginner. Because correct understanding will assist you in achieving the greatest results. Clay must go through a number of transformations. All of these developments are significant in their own right.

For the reader’s convenience, here we are providing a detailed overview in which all the essential stages of the clay have been discussed!

Want to know more about the stages of clay. Have a look at the description below;

Stages of clay in detail

The potters need to know about all the details of the clay. The parties may include the nature of clay, its types, and the stages. The clay stages will help you know about all the ups and downs of the clay activity.

Clay has to go through versatile changes when firing. If potters have complete knowledge about these stages, they will quickly deal with the clay. It will make the pottery activity fascinating.

The properties of clay are different at every stage. So to know about the properties of clay, it is essential to have a good overview of the steps of clay in order. In general, there are seven stages of clay.

These stages have vital significance and prepare a lump of clay for the final and glazed result. After this, the final results will give confidence for making various decorations and pottery things.

The critical seven stages of clay have an elaboration provided next;

Stage 1: The Raw/Dry Clay

The Raw/Dry Clay
The Raw/Dry Clay

The clay comes in a raw form before any procession. It consists of a reddish powder form. It has a dry and lumpy texture. Because when the clay is not dry at first, it will be heavy and challenging to deliver.

Once the potter receives the clay package, he mixes it with water according to their need.

The clay gets from the mountain areas and areas around rivers. The dirt particles absorb the water and moisture. Then, it will convert into a pliable substance. This substance has another name for the raw form of clay.

It gets the procession activity to pack and deliver to the potters for preparing clay items. The bare stage of the cay is the first step. The potters can use the clay for a significantly longer time.

The raw clay is effective. The potters do not have to worry about their shelf life. Its structure and formation are impervious to water, temperature, and other climatic changes.

After this, the pliable substances get crushed into powder form. All the lumps are converted into a small piece and then a certain amount of water to get the required shape.

This action will prepare the clay for different pottery designs. Moreover, it is when other kinds of colorant and quartz compounds get added to it for the best results.

Stage 2: The Slip Stage

The Slip Stage
The Slip Stage

Slip is the stage when the water mixes with the raw clay, and it gets the shape of the liquid. At this stage, the clay converts into a watery paste. This type of texture is essential for various purposes;

  • The mixture joins the hard part of clay together.
  • When different colors mix the clay paste, we can use it for decorative purposes.
  • Most importantly, the slip clay is also compelling to the clay casting. For casting purposes, the slip mixes with various chemicals. The chemicals will make it extra runny, used with the plaster mold for casting. Thus they form the models and molds.

In addition to all this, water mixes with the clay according to the needs of the potters. They design the texture and make it worthy of providing the needed clay pottery.

Once the mixture gets ready, roll it around the mold pan. Cover all corners completely with the fluid of clay to slip easily. After this, wait for at least 24 hours to set it properly.

After this, please remove it from the mold, and tap it up and down to get the shape. Moreover, if you want to remove the clay easily from the mold, it is better to spray a thin layer of oil on the mold. The oil spray will prove very helpful.

Stage 3: The Plastic Stage

The Plastic Stage
The Plastic Stage

It is one of the most common stages of the clay, where the potters perform various experiments with the clay when potters play with the clay to make the pot design and other ceramic objects.

At this point, you can mold the clay into any required shape to get the wanted results, and if the sculpture gets wrong in making, you can even start it from the beginning and reshape it. Thus it is one of the essential stages for clay.

The pottery wheel belongs to this stage, and the rest of the shaping action can be handed over to the wheel for perfect and pleasing results.

Moreover, the plastic stage includes various perfect techniques. The clay is at the stage where it gains the desired shape, so different practical methods have been applied for the needed angles, such as; pinching, coiling, slab techniques, etc.

The clay at this stage is easy to manipulate and is highly malleable. Moreover, after the malleability, the work effectiveness of the cay has been increased. It becomes extra smooth, soft, and featured. Moreover, if there is a need for extra water to design a pot, the absorption of water would make it more simple and easy,

But in some cases, the plastic stage of the clay won’t hold the shape; it can be due to various reasons, sometimes the addition of water becomes extra, and many more. How to cope with this situation?

  • To make the texture of clay sustainable again, it is better to add some amount of ball clay because it will enhance the thickness of the clay.
  • If the clay ball is not available, it is better to leave it to get dry for some time.

Thus the activity goes vice versa. When the cake is too flowy, it is better to leave it to get dry, but when the clay is too dry, add some water to it to get the desired shape.

Stage 4: The Leather Hard Clay Stage

The Leather Hard Clay Stage
The Leather Hard Clay Stage

Once the clay is molded into the desired shape and dry, the stage will change and lead to the leather hard clay stage. In this stage, the clay feels like a complex chess piece. At this stage, the artist enhances the design with the help of his creativity.

The potters add various carve designs, bounties, leaf panels, and versatile colors. In addition to this, the potters can add multiple features to it. The main focus of this stage is to increase the beautification of the pottery design through various techniques and tools.

Moreover, it can withstand all kinds of carving action, as it is hard enough to bear it. But it is not the final hardening step. The plastic stage gets a leathery shape, which can be molded again into the plastic format by merely exposing it to the water.

The pottery gets shifted to the next level from the wheel at the leather hard clay stage. Be careful about dealing with it, hold it with proper attention, and maintain the design while beautifying.

Stage 5: The Bone Dry Stage

The Bone Dry Stage
The Bone Dry Stage

At this stage, all kinds of water moisture have been evaporated from the clay, and it gets a dehydrated form. A simple jerk or quark with the call handling can result in the breakdown of the structure.

So beware in handling the design to sustain its action. This stage has another name as greenware because the clay turns into a greenish shade at this drying stage. Because it dries out to a great extent, the reddish hue fades due to the elongation.

If the potters want to regain the moisture or find some uncertainty, it is better to soak it in water for a considerable period. The period varies according to the structure of the car. It can range from 8 to 14 days. 

The clay is placed in an area where there is a lot of direct sunlight. The rays will help evaporation moisture, turning it into a challenging alignment. Apart from the natural drying of the clay, ovens are the second option available.

The temperature of the ovens is well maintained and reliable to hold the shape in its place.

While dealing with the pottery in ovens, the pottery drying time might lessen. This ends up drying for almost an 8-hours consistent period. At this point, ten gazing of the pottery is possible. But some of the potters wait for the next stage to get more satisfactory results.

If the glazing layers are applied to the clay, it will surely provide a sophisticated appearance.

Stage 6: The Bisqueware Stage

The Bisqueware Stage
The Bisqueware Stage

It is the almost final stage, in which the clay can not get back into the mild form. It is porous enough to withstand the structure and is highly featured in all the terms. This clay stage won’t accept any addition and removal from its interface.

The pottery clay is fired sufficiently at a high temperature, and here it is referred to as bisque. After proper drying and firing, it is best to apply a glaze layer over it to provide the most beautiful appearance to the final look.

The glazing and request require a great deal of care so that it won’t get ruptured and damaged in any case.

Stage 7: The Firing Stage

The Firing Stage
The Firing Stage

It is the final firing sage that refers to the glazing layer. In the last step, the glaze paints over the clay, requiring a proper drying action. It is the stage where clay gets kiln exposure for the last time.

The glaze adds more shine to the clay. After this final exposure to the temperature, the clay gets dry entirely and gives a final running result. It removes all the chances to recycle back to the plastic stage.

Our Verdict

All the steps are an essential part of the ceramic formation. Even the slightest change in the clay acidity is worth noting because it will lead to more comprehensive results.

Handling clay is a very prudent activity. It can either be significantly challenging or a very versatile task; it depends on the potters’ skill. Here we tried to present all the commonly known stages of the clay.

Whether you are a beginner or a professional in pottery, you need to go through crucial knowledge about these stages. All the steps have fundamental importance, which can not be denied. For users’ interest, all the information has a highly comprehensive explanation to clear your mind of queries about stages of clay. Hope we helped and answered you all about the stages of clay. Thanks for visiting Potterycrafthub. You can bookmark our website for future posts.

Photo of author

Jennie Deckow

Jennie Deckow is a renowned Professional in making Pottery and Ceramics. She has Followed her Childhood passion for making Potteries. Nowadays, she is a creative part of the potterycrafthub Team.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

[wp_show_posts id="3853"]