This is a great use for mixed-up clay! No matter how hard my students and I try not to mix up the clay, it always happens anyway. I save it all in a bag until I have enough to make rugs.
This is the same technique I use to make baskets.
Don't mix the clay any more than it already is. The rolling and twisting will mix it up enough. It still might all blend into one color if you're not careful. I love this project because no two rugs ever turn out the same!
Intuitively, you would think that a braided rug has to be braided, but I think these look wonderful, and they are just twisted. Twisting is much easier for my students, although they often get a kick out of the fact that clay can be braided just like hair. Well, not just like hair... whether you're braiding or twisting, you have to go slow. Parts of the clay will twist to tight, so you have to focus on each section of the twist, and gently place it the way you want it.
Again, the key word is GENTLY. You can continue to stretch, roll and twist the rope of clay until it looks just the way you want it. You have to decide if you want a tight or loose twist. If you twist the clay too tightly, or press too hard as you roll it out, it becomes a smooth snake again, and your rope will be gone. That's OK. Just try again.
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