In the process of making pots – especially when throwing - there’s a lot of leftover clay and ‘slop’. Luckily clay is extremely easy to recycle and use again. As long as the clay hasn’t been fired you can keep using it over and over, and this process of recycling clay is called ‘reclaiming’.
In my studio I don’t have a dedicated sink, so all my slops go into buckets. I make sure only ‘clean’ slop goes in (no nasty bits of sponge or dirt) and they soon fill up! The clay settles just like mud in a pond and every-so-often I scoop out the clear water that sits on top. Most books advise waiting to let clay dry out completely - until bone dry - before breaking up, soaking again and then reclaiming. However, I find reclaiming direct from slop works perfectly well for the small quantities I use and the purposes I use reclaim for (as will be explained!). So when I’m ready to start reclaiming, I pour off as much water as possible until I’ve got a bucket of sludge clay.
Anyway, that’s how I reclaim clay!