Because there are variables beyond my control (clays, papers, water, mixing errors and etc) always pre test fire what you have before a big project. No guarantee can be offered that 'alternative" commercial paperclays now on the market will meet the all the performance advantages of my high performance trademark P'Clay® brand only available from licensed manufacturers/distributors.
to busy to fire in a kiln?
read more about >>>>no-fire options to finish take home projects
find out why kids love it <<<< k-12 support and information section of this site
beginners gain hand skills
In brief, what worked best for me was to start my beginners with paperclay then let them advance to traditional clay after they practice a bit with the basic hand skills (pinch, coil and slab, joins) and see the start to finish process (making, trim, drying, handling, glazing, firing).
We use the paperclay rules that allow us to keep working and alter at bone dry state because:
1. We save the expense of firing pots that are duds, as poor joins, or trimming, can be sent back to be redone.
2. There is less embarrassment between the peers when most goof ups can be redone or altered into something new, and most accident or damage isn't catastrophic failure subject to ridcule the beginner art students worst fear. Getting hand skill just takes repeat practice in an atmosphere that allows permission to give the hands new skills
3. We save loss due to beginnners sometimes rough handling greenware before they have time to understand what the making process involves;
4. We can transport the dry works around the studio with no fear since a repair is possible. We can transport dried work to a kiln in the back of the car or in a box with less fear too, for the same reason. Beginner's gain confidence first.
5. We can also store bone dried work for years. Or we can non fire it. Or we can reclaim it easily. We don't have to have wet work covered in plastic parked in every corner.
6. We can do one fires more easily and save time and money with that too.
7. When a student does advance to traditional clay, they already have some hand skill in proper joins, handling, trimming, all of which give them a head start and less frustration. Everyone involved more time and creativity to focus on the quality and content of the projects.
8. We can do mid-process evaluation at the bone dried state before fire, when there is a chance for alteration at bone dry if maker so desired.