Throughout the centuries, clay has been sculpted into beautiful works of art such as "The Dancing Woman" and "The Buddha." There are a variety of uses and benefits to working with clay. Therapists use clay when working with children because it helps to strengthen the muscles in the children's hands. It can also calm troubled children who may have suffered from a traumatic event in their lives.
Some oil-based clays were patented in 1880 by Frank Kolb, while others were patented by Claude Chavant in 1892.
Quite a few types of clay are available. There are modeling clays, oil-based clays, air dry clays and clays that can be fired to create ceramics. The firing clays are a water-based type of clay (see Resources).
Clay can be used to make a variety of things such as ash trays, plates, vases and plaques. Most of these objects start as molded clay, which has to be fired to make the desired product.
The Firing Process
In the firing process, the clay is heated at very high temperatures creating a strong, single object. Once the object has cooled, it becomes a piece of pottery.
Oil-based clay is useful because it stays soft and workable. Oil-based clay cannot be fired.