The makers of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep may have to cease production as they only have enough clay to complete one more feature film.
Aardman Animations, who are behind the painstaking stop motion animation classic, had a single source for the modelling clay they used in their Hollywood productions.
However, when Newclay Products ceased trading, Aardman Animations lost future access to the special clay called Newplast.
According to the Daily Telegraph, when Newclay Products announced their plans to shut down, Aardman bought up their entire stock to keep their current projects ticking over.
Wallace and Gromit, pictured here in A Close Shave, were modeled using a special type of clay which can be repeatedly altered – making it ideal for stop motion animation
Aardman Productions uses the Newplast clay for their world-famous creations
The company has a supply of Newplast to complete one more animation feature film
Newclay Products was run from a factory in Newtown Abbot near Torquay by husband and wife team Paul and Valerie Dearing.
The couple had sought to sell on their business ahead of their retirement but failed to get any viable offers.
Instead, they sold off their stock to the studio.
Mrs Dearing, 67, said: ‘Aardman bought a lot of our remaining stock of Newplast to keep them going. They got what they said was two years’ worth. It came to about 40 boxes, which must have been around 400 kg.’
Mr Dearing said they wanted someone else to take over their firm but were unable to find a buyer.
He said: ‘It’s always given us both tremendous satisfaction that Aardman used our product. They thought it was the best material of its type in the world.’
Mr Dearing added: ‘It’s a great legacy to be part of, to look back and think that all those wonderful characters they created were made with our clay and that our company was such a key part of the artistic process. We’re very proud of it, although we didn’t always get the credit because, as a supplier, we were so behind the scenes.’