Well, farmers make hay while the sun shines, and we all make money when we can, but making clay is easier during the warm months so it can be made outside.
This is our ‘backyard’ or behind our barn which serves as our gallery, studio and home. You can see the 70 (approx) year old gasoline pumps used by the previous owner, Sid Telfer Sr. while he was operating the orchard.
John has formulated his clay body recipe, so he uses several kinds of clay.
And a heavy duty hand mixer. I sound quite industrial while he is in the earlier stages of mixing.
This is obviously a dusty job. One winter we needed clay, so John made a batch in the studio, which is conveniently next to our home. So there was dust everywhere, even with all the precautions we could take. Never again.
Once the clays are mixed, it sits in the large stock tank used just for this purpose, so no, we don’t sit in it when it gets too hot.
Later, John set up his drying method, which uses old screens and big plaster ‘bats’. On the screens he lays old sheets etc. so the clay rests on that while it dries enough to be carried up into the studio and pugged.
This takes a long time, and John carries about a tons worth of clay up the stairs to his studio. It’s more expensive to pay someone to do it for us, but saves on time and knees. Worth it to us.