Different clay

Christmas presents pose more than a challenge for the likes of moir, especially for the younger family members. So I take thee over to the art shop hoping for random inspiration (or a welcome distraction). What’s going on? What are all these materials?  Aargh, I feel sidelined again. It’s all new to me. I beeline to the sculpture supplies and recognize clay and Plasticine. What is balsa wood doing in an art shop? It’s been a while. Now I’m overwhelmed. But I came here for some answers. Air dry clay? I search the internet and it’s so confusing. A week later I discover six types of non kiln firing clay.
Polymer clay
Polyvinyl chloride based oven baked clay. It shapes easily and seems to have become the Lego of new generation clay. Think Schleich figurines and plastic plumbing. PVC has a mid weight feel.  Compares favorably to earthen clay which is quite a claim. Takes equally well to fine detail.
Paper clay
Very versatile clay. While not replicating the qualities of earthen clay it is light weight and air drying. These advantages alone set it apart.
Cold porcelain
Main ingredients are corn starch and PVA. It has a unique semi translucency. Ideal for jewellery as it is heavier then paper air dry and takes to fine detail. But it’s food for insects so be prepared for potential damage down the track.
Epoxy clay
Two part epoxy. Has a fixed curing time so requires adequate preparation.
Earthen air dry
If you imagine regular earthen clay without any need for kiln firing. It is also mineral based and the most popular air dry clay. Could be seen as an alternative to traditional clay and has the same weight. Ideal for professionals and beginners  alike.
Magic clay
A relative newcomer to the shelves but a real competitor especially in the kids market. No kneading required and has a smooth consistency. While it doesn’t have density and body for complex form it takes to simple shape making. Remarkably light and flexible when dry.

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