I’m often struck by the similarities between a Clay Station class and a Bake Off!
Every week we take our places at the worktop full of enthusiasm to create something beautiful. Some may be more skilled or experienced than others but the determination is the same in all of us.
We start by putting on aprons as clay is messy stuff and just like flour the dust gets everywhere. So we all don little white plastic numbers – very attractive! Then we knead some clay to make sure its smooth and free from air pockets – ‘wedging’ in clay terms but just as hard on the arm muscles. Next we get out the rolling pins to create a smooth slab of clay. We generally roll it out on a cloth so that it can be easily lifted but I’ve been known to reach for the flour when it sticks to the surface!
It can then be carefully cut and formed into the desired shape. We could do that with ceramic hand tools or just a regular knife or cookie cutter depending on the shape we’re aiming for (okay maybe you wouldn’t use a ruler when you’re baking). We add texture with patterned rolling pins or stamps just as you might when making pastry or shortbread and seal the edges with a little water. And when we’re smoothing or decorating the surface we use turntables just like icing a cake. And of course when its ready we pop it into the oven – or kiln – to cook!
Just like baking sometimes things work better than others but mostly the results are as beautiful to us, if not as tasty, as anything the Baker Brothers could produce. And although there’s no Paul Hollywood to flash his blue eyes and admire our efforts we do have our own (younger) Mary Berry in the form of Ginny who’s always there to praise or gently offer advice! Working with clay is just as addictive as baking, not as fattening and there’s no risk of a soggy bottom! What more could you want?
Our next classes start on Tuesday 11 June – what are you waiting for? Call 023 9229 1346 to book.