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Sometimes it's the small things that take up the time.

There is nothing worse than a bag of too-dry clay: lots of work to break it up for recycling and such a waste to leave it....

So my answer is cookie-cutters.

As long as the clay is still moist enought to be bashed and rolled, it can be cut into various shapes. These can become seasonal decorations (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Flower Festivals, Harvest....) either to glaze and sell or just bisque-fired to offer as a children's colouring activity (felt-tips are less messy than paint) at village fairs.

Before cutting out, extra interest can be added by rolling lace into the clay, or impressing with wooden stamps. The end of this school year left me with several part-bags which are now transformed into 200 or so textured, biscuit-fired hearts, fish and butterflies ready for a painting activity at the School Summer Fayre.

Butterflies and fish bounce interestingly in the breeze when suspended on thin wire, although the long wires are a nuisance to pack and store. This was solved by wrapping the wire around a dowel to make a compact and easily transportable spring.

Also, I was excited to find an owl-shaped cutter recently and my own too-dry clay became first some glaze-tests and then were transformed into cute hanging decorations.

Of course all this has probably taken the time I would have spent recycling the clay ..

but somehow it is so much more satisfying!

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