Playing in the Clay and Mud – Making mud runes

There’s something to be said for just playing in the mud.

Our house is on compact, clay-like soil. Every time I plant something in our backyard, I wonder if that beige-grey (greige!) colored mud we live on top of could ever be used like potter’s clay. (It sure looks an awful lot like the type that potters use.)
Today I finally experimented. I took some of the clay, added water and began to play.

I don’t think my hands have been that muddy in 25 years, and the sensation of squeezing and squishing and sloshing my way through a bucket of mud was really quite satisfying.

In the name of experimentation, I grabbed some white glue and added it to some of the little mud-stones, wondering if it would help the clay to dry harder.  I shaped a few rune stones with the mud-patties… they were the first thing that came to mind and the mud just seemed to shape itself into them. (Mud runes – an unexpected outcome of today’s dabbling.) My experiment is outside under tonight’s full moon, drying.

I have no idea how pottery-like these will be in the morning, but the time playing in the dirt like a child was worth every second. If I have nothing else but interesting blobs of mud to put in with my plants tomorrow, I will consider the adventure as wildly successful.

 Update: The verdict: These little guys are simply wonderful – they’ve got a natural tactile feel, and they’re very tough! I’ve dropped them on concrete and they stay one piece like little rocks,  and they almost feel like stone. I have been experimenting with  different DIY clays, and this may be the most satisfying outcome yet. Making mud runes with clay from your yard- a little earth, water and a squirt of glue was delightfully satisfying. I did make them with non-toxic glue, but it’s not a total natural end-product. They aren’t as moldable / formable as other DIY clays, but it’s wonderfully fun to get your hands dirty and play in the mud.

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