Clay is a natural substance. It is found abundantly on the surface of the earth. It is found in almost every country or place. So, there isn’t really a shortage of it. We can get clay by simply digging the ground. Clay is very useful. There are so many decorative and household items made from clay. For example flower vases are products of clay. It depicts what clay transformation can produced.
Some building and kitchen items such as tiles and plates are made from clay too. It is important to state that there are different types of clay and it is not every clay that can be moulded or transformed. Every clay type has physical properties and chemical compositions that are responsible for its uniqueness. A particular type of clay is widely used by builders and sculptures. This is because of the ease at which it can be moulded and transformed. This type of clay is called modelling clay and it is highly malleable.
Some common examples of modelling clay are ceramic clay, oil-based clay, paper clay, polymer clay.
Ceramic clay: This one needs water to get in shape. It is made from clay minerals and its baking is done at a very high temperature. The process of subjecting ceramic clay to extreme temperature conditions is called firing. We use ceramic clay for so many things. For instance, it is ceramic clay that is used to produce stoneware, porcelain, earthenware, and terra cotta. Porters find ceramic clay very useful for making some useful household items and kitchenware.
Oil-based clay: Just as the name suggests, this type of clay is made by combining clay minerals, waxes, and different types of miscible oils. The difference between oil-based clay and ceramic clay is that ceramic clay may lose some of its malleability if it is exposed to dryness or left in a dry environment for a long time. On the other hand, an oil-based clay will still maintain its malleable qualities even after exposure to dryness or left in a dry environment. However, it is important to state that prevailing temperature still has an effect on how malleable an oil-based clay will be. This is because viscosity of oil reduces as temperature increases steadily. Oil-based clay is not soluble in water. An advantage of it is that it can be used again after initial usage. Artists who specialize in animation use oil-based clay a lot because there is a consistent need to bend models. This type of clay is not toxic in any way. Also, it is available in a wide range of colour variants. Other names of oil-based clay include Plastilina, Plasticine, and Plastilin.
Polymer clay: Polymer clay does not really shrink when heat is applied to it. Also, its shape remains the same during heat application. Although it is called “polymer clay”, it does not really contain clay minerals. Children can make use of polymer clay. Artists and hobbyists can use it too. It is readily available in art stores and craft stores. For polymer clay to cure, heat must be applied to it constantly at a temperature range of 129oC and 135oC. The heat application is done for about fifteen minutes.
Paper clay: This type of clay contains processed cellulose fibre. It is both handmade and available on a commercial scale.