The practical and the playful
Can you dig it? Yes you can with some know-how and patience
Where to look: waterways, calm waterside edges (be careful!) and dry river beds. Or look for builders who’ve cleared away topsoil.
What to look for: clay can be white, grey, brown or orange. When dry, it may resemble rocks. Scrape with a penknife. If the particles that come off dissolve in water, it’s clay. When wet, try working a lump into shapes. If it stays together and feels smooth, you’ve got clay.
How to prepare: spread it out and let dry (up to a week). Break up with a hammer. Add to a bucket with as much water. Stir. Let sit a few hours. Stir again. Sieve into another bucket. Let settle, then pour off any extra water. Repeat until clay is like mud. Spread out, cut into small pieces, and push and pull the clay to rid of air bubbles.
Store: in layers of plastic, in a zip-lock bag, will keep for years.