One of the most important parts about doing pottery full time and running a studio is being able to recycle your clay. There is A TON of clay leftover after trimming, and it can all be reused if processed properly. We are fortunate to have a pug mill, which means we don't have to wedge the clay by hand, but here are some pictures of the process for recycling clay :)

Usually we try and take all the shavings after trimming and put them back into open boxes, allowing them to dry out. This means when we re-add water, they will absorb and breakdown much quicker and more thoroughly. So once all the excess clay is put into empty buckets, we add water and some kind of bacterial accelerator, in this case, cider vinegar. Some potters use old wine, anything works really. Bacterial build up helps further breakdown the clay, and causes it to 'age' beautifully. It makes a BIG difference in the quality of the clay afterwards.

Once the clay is broken down, we will use a large drill to mix it all, the more evenly distributed the clay is, the better. And finally, we put the clay into old bisqued pots, or sometimes into boxes lined with cloth, so that it can dry out slowly and reach a consistency where it can finally be put through the pug mill.

It's a lot of work, but we're able to save a lot of money by recycling, and to be honest, I don't even know how we would get rid of the clay otherwise :)