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Clay was a natural, earthy material consisting of fine minerals with high plasticity that could be used for sculpting.

When the USS Enterprise became trapped in Kukulkan's force globe and attempted to escape, the crew's efforts were described as being as if the ship was "ramming into a wall of clay." (TAS: "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth")

The Sacred Chalice of Rixx, a notable Betazoid artifact held by Lwaxana Troi, was described by her daughter, Deanna, as being "an old clay pot with mold growing inside it." (TNG: "Ménage à Troi")

During the Borg invasion of 2366, Geordi La Forge used the analogy that his "mind [had] turned to clay" during a late-night staff meeting. Wesley Crusher agreed with La Forge's comment, as the senior staff of the USS Enterprise began to exhaust their options while exploring means to defeat the invading Borg cube. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")

The block of clay that crushed Alexander's cup

In 2368, Alexander Rozhenko chose to make a cup for his father out of clay. He offered to let a fellow classmate, Clara Sutter, assist him, who at first was unsuccessful in her technique, but finally got the hang of it. While the two slowly became friends, Isabella, Clara's "invisible friend", tried the break up their friendship by pushing a block of clay over onto the cup Alexander had been working on for two weeks, crushing it. (TNG: "Imaginary Friend")

When Mullibok explained his farming to Kira Nerys, and how he tamed his fields, he stated that whenever he had hit a patch of mineralized clay, he would just grind it up in his teeth to enrich the soil. (DS9: "Progress")

In 2370, the winner of the first annual Captain Picard Day was Paul Menegay, who made a clay sculpture of Captain Picard's head. In recalling the entry, Commander Riker inquired if it was "the orange one with lumpy skin?" (TNG: "The Pegasus")

Data forms a treble clef out of clay

Later that year, Enterprise-D teacher Mrs. Narsu instructed her class with sculpting with clay; Deanna Troi observed the class, which included Eric Burton and Data. According to Troi "it is important to make the clay take the shape you want it to have," however that day the students were not to concentrate on technique, but rather to "focus on the feelings you want to convey". Eric chose to sculpt a bird wing out of clay, to express the concept of flight. Data, however, had difficulty expressing his imagination, and created a treble clef as his concept of music.

After coming under the influence of the D'Arsay archive, Data created a clay mask, which represented the D'Arsay queen Masaka. When Troi saw it, she described it as "amazing", while Data himself described the source of his inspiration, stating, "for some reason, as I was shaping the clay, the image of the mask was exceptionally clear in my mind. The design seemed to flow naturally." (TNG: "Masks")

While visiting Risa, Jadzia Dax relaxed while working with clay. She was assisted by Risian Arandis, who guided Dax's hands while she molded the clay, guided her technique, by telling her to pour her emotions into it. (DS9: "Let He Who Is Without Sin...")

Seven and Janeway sculpting with clay

Captain Kathryn Janeway instructed Seven of Nine on how to mold with clay in Leonardo da Vinci's workshop. Janeway's first rule being: "don't be afraid of the clay," meaning, "you can't concern yourself with making a mistake, or whether the image you had in your mind is what's taking form in front of you. You just have to let your hands – and the clay – do the work." While Seven ultimately seemed to find the entire activity unproductive, Janeway, explained that she found that the activity gave her great pleasure and helped her relax and unwind. (VOY: "The Raven")

Despite her seeming disinterest in the previous exercise, it seemed Seven may have gotten something out of it, as she had the Borg children that she was caring for – Icheb, Mezoti, Azan, and Rebi – participate in clay sculpting in 2376. She instructed the children to create geometric shapes, but Mezoti instead chose to create a sculpture of her. Icheb asked if she was going to implement a punishment protocol for Mezoti's not following the instructions, but Seven, following the advice of Chakotay, praised Mezoti for demonstrating ingenuity and individuality and told her to resume her disorder. (VOY: "Ashes to Ashes")

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