Recently I have been working with the addition of cotton to the clay instead of paper. Cotton which is a form or cellulose is a good addition to clay because it lacks starch which forms rot in the clay and it is easy to add to the wet clay mixture. I use cotton linters which is the 2nd cutting of the cotton seed. This shorter fiber can be easly chopped. This type of cotton is sold for the papermaking craft and quited inexpensive. I found a source on the internet by using Google and searching for “cotton linter” papermaking supplies. Most of the cotton is sold in sheet form and sold by the pound. I recently purchased ten pounds at $2.50 per pound. Cotton fibers float in the water it is mixed with. I have found that by adding a very small amount of dish detergent the fibers break down in the water. The cotton fibers will form a white raft on the top of the water which is easy to remove and add to the clay.
One of the major advantages the cotton adds to the clay is that the fibers are natural and not colored with the additiona of printing inks or other contanimates. I have also found that the cotton fibers are very stable in the clya and don’t rot as fast as paper cellulose. I have also found that because of the size of the fibers I can add a lot more cotton to the clay than paper.
Although the cost of the cotton fibers is much more than paper, the overall benifit to the clay is great enough that it is well worth the additional cost to use the material.
During a later post I will add the web site that I use to purchase the cotton linter.