Here’s a video showing how I spiral wedge clay for all those who’ve asked over the last months. Alongside cut-wedging it’s the primary way I process clay from reclaim, into a usable state that’s ready for throwing. Both work equally well, although arguably you can wedge more clay at a single time by cut-wedging as compared to spiraling.
The block I cut clay from at the beginning is a layered lump of softer clay and rather firm clay. Alone each would have been troublesome to throw with, but after they were sliced and layered together and wedged it was perfect. As a process, spiral wedging is a hard one to teach. It’s honestly something that just comes through practice. The first time I saw it was on the internet, and more than anything I simply liked how it looked. The procedure looked professional and the shape it created in the process was equally beautiful, back when I started I’m sure I really just thought that it looked ‘cool’. I didn’t have anyone teach me, I just tried it for about ten minutes everyday until it seemed to click, thereafter it slowly became my main way of wedging clay.
It looks simple but in reality is a rather difficult thing to get the hand of. One important thing to note is that my early spirals didn’t look nearly as neat as they do now, they were rough and far less systematic looking without perfect repeating folds. It’s taken five years to get to this point.
The idea with this method is that the clay is forced into ever smaller spirals that slowly force any air bubbles or hard tufts of clay out. After one-hundred presses the lump of clay should be almost completely homogeneous and ready to throw with, not that I count, or always aim for that number, it’s just what’s said. When you throw clay you’re pulling the walls up in spirals as the wheel spins, one thing I’ve heard states that spiraled clay with throw better as it’s already filled with millions of spirals of clay, as opposed to cut-wedged clay, which will be completely flat layers of microscopic platelets.