Before firing, clay can be plastic, leather hard or bone dry. Unfired pottery is called greenware. The first firing is called bisque and prepares the clay to be glazed. The second firing goes to a higher temperature. It melts the glaze and makes the clay vitreous.
Is it ready yet? Find out if the clay has become leather hard with the fingerprint test.
Wedging clay makes it homogeneous and free of air pockets. Wedging must be done on a stable surface. If your table wobbles, try wedging on a counter top or even a chest freezer instead.