The first time I ever used air drying clay I was 9 years old and I made a model of my cat and the clay was fibrous and snapped if you looked at the wrong way, needless to say my cat sculpture did not make the journey home without loosing a few parts! I refused to touch the stuff again. But....Well then this little thing called Pinterest entered my life, you my have heard about it. I started to see air drying clay popping up all over the place so I decided to give it a go. I used the Giotto brand, as that is what was in my local store at the time. I planned a few projects to do with the block on the same day. I managed to execute two of them as my son NEEDED to make some clay animals. I made these houses and a hanging decoration that I will share with you later in the week.
I wanted to use the amount of clay I had allocated to the houses fully and I wanted to make five Odd numbers are always best, three was too few to look like a village and seven, well that is almost a market town. I planned out on a piece of paper how I would make the cuts. Each house is the entire depth of the block and they stand up really well.
I used a craft knife to cut the houses and smoothed off edges with my finger. I wanted a rough look to them. I had in mind that they should be reminiscent of the houses in the medina, (old town) of Chefchaouen, Morocco, I even planned to paint them blue like those houses but I couldn't do it once the clay dried it turned a lovely warm white and I decided to leave them. If I change my mind I can always paint them at a later date.
Whilst they were still wet I used the end of an incense stick to make a hole in the houses. They are dense so they will take far longer than you think to fully dry out - so be patient. Also I would advise leaving them away from you in a well ventilated space to dry as they the clay is pretty stinky.
Things would have to be pretty smelly to have all five burning incense at the same time or you may be planning an impromptu Catholic mass. The thing I like the most is that I can group them and play with them to be my little clay village and they look great with or without incense sticks.
As for the clay, well the animals my son made have been put to the test and are holding up okay so air dry clay has come a long way since I was 9 years old, I will keep it to myself exactly how long ago that was.