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The ClayMat - Slab Rolling Tool

Overview

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The ClayMat is for use in rolling slabs for pottery. Use it as the top mat when rolling.

The ClayMat is for use in rolling slabs for pottery. Use it as the top mat when rolling by hand or with a slab roller.

Photo by Beth Peterson
The ClayMat seems like an extraordinarily obvious concept...although I have never seen this concept before. I love the "why didn't I think of that" brilliance of this product. It is simple, straight-forward, incredibly useful if you do much slab-making at all, and versatile in its applications. Although the price may seem somewhat high, this is a tool that will last many years, if not a lifetime, with proper care.

Product Details

The ClayMat is the brain-child of potter Fujie Yamakawa Robesky. She has had several of her helpful suggestions published in Ceramics Monthly and it was while writing up one such suggestion that she thought to create the ClayMat. The ClayMat is...

  • Heavy-duty 20-ounce, 100% cotton canvas
  • Sides are either selvage or surger-stitched to prevent raveling
  • Marked with a slightly raised grid system laid out in two-inch squares, with one-inch hash marks on vertical and horizontal edges
  • In two sizes: 24 by 36 inches and 30 by 36 inches
  • Suitable for rolling slabs by hand or for use in conjunction with a slab roller

Use and Care of the ClayMat

The ClayMat is a heavy-duty canvas mat developed for use when rolling slabs.

The ClayMat is a heavy-duty canvas mat developed by a potter for potters for use when rolling slabs.

Photo by Beth Peterson

The ClayMat is extremely straight-forward to use. It is designed to be used as the bottom mat when rolling either by hand or with a slab roller. After rolling, you can see at a glance if your slab is large enough for your intended project. You can also use a fettling knife and cut the slab immediately to your desired dimensions.

I have also used it as the top mat when rolling slabs that I won't move until leather-hard. In this way, I can guarantee that the faint grid marks (see image) won't distort. I am then free to use the grid marks in shaping and decorating the slab as I desire.

Although certainly squares and rectangles are the easiest shapes to see when using the ClayMat, I have also used them for much more complex geometric shapes, including triangles, pentagrams, octagons, and so forth. Even getting symmetrical arcs and circles becomes much easier than creating them freehand.

Tips:

  • If using dark and light clays, consider getting two ClayMats to avoid cross-contamination of color.
  • Do not fold the ClayMat in half to use as both bottom and top mats. Folding it can harm the printed grid, but will also likely result in uneven slabs.
  • Clean (and rejuvenate the grid pattern) by wiping with a damp sponge. Allow to dry thoroughly.
  • Dry by laying flat and keeping the surface open to the air.
  • Store flat and where there is some airflow. Do not store when damp, with other damp canvas, or against any other damp surface. Dampness will result in possible growth of mold.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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