Silly putty

Don’t Worry, There Isn’t Really a Claymation Clay Shortage

Aardman Animations, maker of stop-motion films in the Wallace & Gromit franchise, has released a statement correcting a previous report that the studio was nearly out of clay: “There is absolutely no need to worry.”?
Dont Worry There Isnt Really a Claymation Clay Shortage
? 2023 Netflix, Inc.

Stop-motion fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The Telegraph reported last Friday that Aardman Animations, the British animation studio responsible for claymation films like Chicken Run and those in the Wallace & Gromit franchise, was nearly out of clay, with its supplier having shuttered. However, Aardman Animations released a statement on Monday to the contrary, maintaining that the company has plenty of clay and no intention of ceasing operations.?

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The studio’s beloved claymation characters, from stop-motion films like those in the Wallace & Gromit series, are made with a special type of clay called Lewis Newplast. Named after an art teacher named Mr. Lewis who invented the substance in his garden shed, Lewis Newplast is a Plasticine-esque putty that is an “animator’s dream,” given its pliability and ability to keep its shape under hot lights. But Newclay Products, which manufactured and sold Lewis Newplast, announced last month that it had ceased trading in March of this year after liquidating all of its assets, leading some to worry that the future of claymation was in peril. Per The Telegraph, Aardman Animations bought up the remaining Lewis Newplast material, but only had enough for one more film: a new Wallace & Gromit project due out in 2024.

Now, though, Aardman Animations claims that there’s no need to be up in arms. The animation studio released a statement saying that while it is “touched about recent concern” regarding the future of its claymation, there’s ?“absolutely no need to worry” about the remaining Lewis Newplast stock. “We have high levels of existing stocks of modeling clay to service current and future productions,” continued the statement. “And, much like Wallace in his workshop, we have been tinkering away behind the scenes for quite some time with plans in place to ensure a smooth transition to new stocks to continue to make our iconic productions.”?

On December 15, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, a sequel to 2000’s Chicken Run, is set to hit Netflix. Directed by Nick Park and Merlin Crossingham, the upcoming Wallace & Gromit movie will reportedly follow an out-of-control “smart gnome” and arrive on Netflix and the BBC sometime in 2024.?