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From the earth it comes! Indigenous clay

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Let me start off by saying I LOVE working with clay! I love the feel of it organic feel of it in my hands and how it responds to the pressure of my finger tips and body. I love the way I can mold a lump of earth into something formed from the images born from ideas in my head into something that will bring joy to others and that could become a part of their home and lives.

It’s intoxicating ┬áto dream in clay!

To think this fantastically varied medium comes to us from the earth itself, a gift if you will. What used to be a piece of ancient rock that has weathered over time, broken down, to create that beautiful plastic bodied substance CLAY!

It would be thrilling to be able to see into the past to the first time a lump of clay was found and used to create a vessel, or maybe it was an eating utensil or a token of affection from a shy admirer! Did they, being self taught like me, get frustrated with the imperfections at first? Maybe so, and then threw it into the fire meaning to destroy the evidence of their mistake only to discover the magic of this unusual substance of clay. Did they have any inclination at that time that this magical clay from the earth could, and would, live on before them and bring joy to others and awe from those well into the future?

Its just clay but it holds so much power and mystery in its very nature as well as the ability to unite a maker with perfect strangers on such a personal level!

In my curiosity and study of this wonderful natural tool of creation I came across information on finding and harvesting indigenous clay that set my senses a tingle! I grew up a country girl and my family owned (and still does) land where I played, rode horses and explored nature on a daily basis. We even had a canyon!! It was in this canyon that I remembered seeing some of the prettiest and most interesting lavender colored clay that was so very special to me.

So then I set out on the mission of The Lavender Clay! I spoke to my dad about the clay and if the canyon was still accessible or not and, sadly, it was not. Not to be deterred he pointed me in another possible lavender clay hotspot and it paid off!! After a LOT of work I was the proud owner of a decent sized bucket and The Lavender Clay mission was deemed a success!

Now what to do with this found treasure?

Well, little did I know the real work was just beginning but I was passionate as well as determined. It was a long labor of love to slake the clay down with enough water to make it watery enough to sieve all the rocks and other impurities out. Then I had to let it sit and dry out enough to be a firm but maleable lump of clay again but then I had the most special clay of all!

My special clay is in sparse supply obviously, so I use it sparingly. I was blessed early on to be able to meet someone that had the ability to test my lovely lavender clay and found it was primarily kaolin which is what makes clay plastic and strong. Ironically he also said he could not determine what gave it the ‘exotic’ coloring. Who knew anything in Mississippi could be called exotic! Ha!!

Well all in all, exotic or not, I really love my clay. Whether its indigenous or just a commercially mixed version its a fascinating and wonderful medium and perfect for my form of creating.

Clay…. oh how I love thee!! <3