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This two-part series from Eddie Starnater of Practical Primitive shows you how to extract the clay from raw soil and process it into a material that can be used for pottery. In the first part, Eddie teaches a simple water extraction process that uses a series of mixing and decanting steps to remove sand and silt, followed by pouch filtration to remove excess water. The handling properties of this material will naturally vary from batch to batch, and part two describes an easy testing protocol for determining how much grog to add to correctly “temper” your clay so that it will best stand up to shrinkage and thermal shock.

Processing Clay the Easy Way: Water Extraction
Primitive Pottery: Adding Temper to Clay

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Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.