This past week I was digging in the garden and came up with a bunch of clay, and so it occurred to me it might be fun to try and purify it for use.
Heck, the mountain's full of the stuff. What else was I going to do with it, right?
So I did some Googling and found a surprisingly limited amount of information on the process. But I found enough. This was a useful website. I also found an interesting video series on youtube.
So, first I filled a bucket about a third full of water, and next I tossed in the clay. I broke the clay up and dissolved it into the water, and ended up with this.
It was basically clay slurry, with a bunch of rocks and dirt and twigs. So, next step was to strain out the debris. I used a standard mesh kitchen strainer for this process. It took a couple of times back and forth between buckets. Once that was done, I let it settle for about ten to twenty minutes, to allow the remaining sediment to settle out. Once it had, I poured off the clay and water mixture on top, while leaving the sediment behind. It was a sandy dirt mixture, like so:
Once that was done, it was just a matter of letting the water separate out from the clay. I have been watching it for about a week. Each day I carefully poured off the layer of clear water which had separated at the top. It looked like this:
And come Saturday evening, enough of the water had separated out that I was able to pour the clay into a bag (about the thickness of pillow case fabric), tied it up, and am presently letting it hang to dry for the remainder:
I checked it today and it is drying nicely. I expect it to be ready for use and/or tempering in about three or four days. I'll post an addendum to this at that time, with results.