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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Fortnum

What is wedging?

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

You may have heard the term ‘Wedging’ thrown about when there’s talk of ceramics, whether that’s during a workshop you’re attending or on programs like The Pottery Throw Down.

Wedging is an essential part of making with clay, it is a process which prepares your clay so that you can successfully make with it. It is the process of removing any air from within the clay. You may not be able to see it from the outside but if you cut the clay in half you may see little air bubbles, pin holes, small areas where small pockets of air are harbouring in the clay.

The reason you need to remove the air is that if any air bubbles are in your clay piece that air will need to escape from the clay during its first firing, the bisque firing, this is when all the natural bits of gas, filaments and air escape from the clay whilst it is transforming into ceramic. If there is air, in order for it to escape it has to force its way out of the clay wall... in other words it will literally break its way out of the clay with the pressure of heating up.

It will literally cause your clay pieces to explode during firing!

The way I describe wedging is that its similar to kneading dough, accept rather than putting air into it you're removing that air.

Wedging is one of the techniques in ceramics that is pretty physically taxing, especially if you are wedging a large piece of clay, the larger the ball of clay you are wedging the more physical effort it takes to wedge it.

Here’s a short video of me wedging some clay, its sped up as its quite a time consuming process.

If you'd like to learn more about ceramics and the processes involved book onto one of my workshops and explore the exciting world of clay!

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