Stop-motion animation studio Aardman is running out of clay, it has emerged. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Aardman has been left with enough animation clay for one more feature film after the manufacturers of its favourite material closed down earlier this year.
Newclay Products ceased trading in March, meaning that specialist animation clay Lewis Newplast is no longer available. The company was originally established by the Lewis family, art teachers who operated out of a garden shed in Chislehurst (and after whom Lewis Newplast is named), and was until recently run by Paul and Valerie Dearing.
Lewis Newplast is described as “an exceptional non-drying, re-usable modelling material … sufficiently malleable to model into shape, but is also firm enough to retain its shape”. Valerie Dearing told the Telegraph that Aardman bought a significant amount of the remaning stock “to keep them going”. “She added: “They got what they said was two years’ worth. It came to about 40 boxes, which must have been around 400 kg.”
Aardman’s next stop-motion feature is a new Wallace and Gromit film, involving an out-of-control “smart gnome” and will be directed by Nick Park and Merlin Crossingham. It is due to arrive in 2024 (on Netflix and the BBC) and will presumably use up Aardman’s remaining amount of Lewis Newplast.
Paul Dearing told the Telegraph: “We ran the business for 16 years and it was thriving, but we couldn’t find anyone who wanted to take over the firm after we retired so we sold off everything.” However, all hope is not lost as Newclay’s website suggests that the company’s IP will remain on sale until December.