These bodies have all the inherent benefits of paper clays, they are strong, flexible, lightweight and have low shrinkage. However, unlike other Paperclays, Scarva FLAXpaperCLAYs have, as an additional benefit, virtually no mould growth.
The addition of flax fibre to clay results in the distribution of extremely fine fibres throughout the body and this serves two basic functions:
1 It creates a strong but flexible internal structure in the clay.
2 It creates a "capillary system" which transfers moisture easily and evenly throughout the clay.
Scarva FLAXpaperCLAY alows the potter to be more of an artist and less of a technician:
• Incredibly strong slabs - even extra thin slabs will fold, bend and drape without tearing.
• Extra large or thick forms hold up under their own weight.
• Greenware re-wets easily and evenly allowing you to re-work, alter or add new clay at any stage of dryness. It is possible with this clay body to build an armature and allow it to dry as a support sculpture that need not be removed for firing.
• Moisture evaporates so evenly from this clay body that it can be force dried with excellent results.
• Exaggerated forms hold their shape. Be careful not to get too extreme: once bisqued, the fibre structure burns out and slumping may occur if the base-clay is over fired.
• Greenware - even bone dry - is unbelievably strong and easy to handle or transport if necessary.
• Make Scarva FLAXpaperCLAY into a putty to repair cracks in greenware or to construct forms out of previously made modules. You may even repair or add to already bisqued Scarva FLAXpaperCLAY. For best results you should re-bisqueware after making alterations.
• In addition, the burn out of the flax fibres results in a noticeably lower fired weight, especially in large-scale works and the resulting openness gives improved thermal shock properties to most clay bodies. Firings can be Oxidised, Reduced, Raku or Salt and Soda.
Tips for using Flaxpaper Clays
You may have already tried modifying your existing clay bodies by adding fibres or paper pulp. This is our version utilising finely chopped flax fibres and cellulose in a very forgiving clay body, FLAXpaperCLAYs are ready to use straight from the bag. Time now for you to make new and interesting discoveries using this material!
SCARVA T.S FLAXpaper CLAY is extremely versatile and can be rolled into slabs, coiled, sculptured or carved. You will notice that it has a different slightly stickier feel, due to the combination of fine ball clays, cellulose and fibres which give good unfired strength. We recommend that you do some preliminary tests, rolling into thin sheets, making coils, pinching, tearing, impressing and carving etc. so that you build up a wide selection of test tiles that can be bisque fired and glazed to earthenware and stoneware temperatures, for future reference. Try allowing a variety of thick and thin slabs to dry on an unvarnished wooden board or tabletop. They can then be cut with a sharp knife and joined instantly by using a slip. Make the slip from dry off-cuts which have been dissolved into a slurry in warm water and then mixed thoroughly.
When recycling SCARVA T.S. FLAXpaperCLAY, or a combination of it and your own clay, it is a good idea to cover your plaster drying batts or plaster moulds with a piece of old cloth sheeting, as FLAXpaperCLAY is stickier than ordinary clays and may adhere to the plaster alone.
When firing thick or large flat tiles made from SCARVA T.S. FLAXpaperCLAY, make sure that they are dried properly before loading them into your kiln. Fire at no more than 30 degrees per hour, up to 400oC, when the fibres and paper will be burnt off, this is one way to avoid the edges curling up.
Joining to existing work
SCARVA T.S. FLAXpaperCLAY rolled into slabs will not tear easily if it is stretched over hump moulds or other forms made from plaster, wood or cardboard. Once allowed to stiffen, these modules can be joined together using a slurry as described above.
Because SCARVA T.S. FLAXpape CLAY body re-wets easily, it is possible to add soft plastic clay over an armature or former made from the same clay, perhaps built from slabs. Spray the dry raw clay under structure with water using a plant sprayer, before scoring the surface a little, using a serrated metal scraper or old fork, paint with a thin slurry, then add the new skin of soft plastic clay.
SCARVA T.S FLAXpaperCLAY can also be joined to bisque fired clay. First spray the bisque ware lightly with water, then coat the area to be covered with a thin slurry, before adding the soft new clay. These pieces will need to be re-fired to bisque temperature before glazing. Try with one or two old pots to practice these techniques.
Reinforcing with wire
Many makers have searched for a strong, flexible and lightweight clay body for building wall panels or relief. It is now possible to build large, ambitious and complex panels incorporating high temperature wires into the actual structure either to reinforce it or to hang the panels. Please avoid using galvanised wires as they produce dangerous fumes when being fired. Fecralloy and Kanthal wires are available from us, please ask for details.
*Please note: due to the organic nature of this product it is susceptible to mould. This will burn off in the kiln and will not affect your work.