[Clayart] Clay and weather

Kathy Forer kathy.forer at gmail.com
Mon Mar 6 22:53:28 UTC 2023

Hi Clayart!

How does studio humidity affect clay?

I moved home and studio April 2020 and have been working on the same 18 x 24 x 18 inches figurative relief sculpture for at least two years. It’s been a focus amid the whirlwind of resettling. I rebuilt it several times and it’s winding down now. I’ve had the privilege of learning about gravity, tools, point of view, working from inside out, temperature, when to model and when to carve, frontality and movement, detail and perspective. 

Learning how to keep it moist summer or winter in this finished attic studio has been a challenge. I would work on several sculptures at once in my large old basement studio over periods of time even up to ten years for one. I had excess humidity and after the first few years, thank you Clayart… I got the temperature just right. Dehumidifier and Rinnai outside exhaust heater. All I had to do was keep the clay sculptures well covered in plastic dry-cleaner wrap. Thin and many layers, covered with sponge cloth at times. 

It’s near time to be done but this piece is talking back to me a little much and deciding when it’s done ahead of me. 

This narrow rental attic has six nice skylight and is clean and dry but it’s zoned with the rest of the house. And while we like it cool at night, the clay doesn’t appreciate it. Maybe I should close the vents that I can’t quite reach. I brought up my portable humidifier to put near where the sculpture sits and it seems to be making it worse. At least six weeks now. And that doesn’t make sense. It takes the numbers from 28% to 34% and I’m grateful to breathe the air but the clay has been drying out rapidly recently.

I wonder what else. I’ve been using cloths lately, maybe I have to go back to layers of thin film. It’s either age or habit, I wouldn’t have thought of that if I hadn’t verbalized the problem. Yes, finish soon!!!!



“When you know about gravity, then you’ll know what love is,” said by my secondary school art teacher, Mr. Winkelhorn 

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