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PRankin

Embracing Wetness

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It's amazing how I keep learning while experimenting with different clays. I've been throwing with Standard 365 ^6 porcelain for awhile and just switched back to Sheffield 4DS ^6 stoneware. The porcelain is so creamy and smooth and doesn't require a lot of water, however, the stoneware needs to be very wet. I was having trouble with it this week until I figured it out (remembered, duh) and then it was easier to work with. I was starting to feel it was me and not the clay.

 

So now I started keeping a clay log with notes and reminders about each type of clay I'll be using. Does anyone else do that?

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I will NEVER use red clay, icky nasty dirty stuff. Had a friend over to my studio that brought her own clay and it was red. UGH I still find bits of it where least I expect it. LOVE my Little Loafers so soft, creamy and elastic. I've learned to treat it with respect and its learned not to crack on me. GRIN

 

T

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I use four different colors of clay including red and as long as I'm careful cleaning up in between, it's been okay. 

 

I don't keep a "clay log" but I've learned (finally) that the porcelain and my Laguna Speckled Buff are so soft that they turn to mush if you use too much water. My other stoneware clay I can practically dump a whole bucket of water on the wheel as I'm throwing and the results are fine. 

ChenowethArts likes this

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I like red stoneware in reduction, cone 10 or higher when they forget the kiln is running. Granted, I haven't used porcelain much in many varieties, I like Helios over B-mix porcelain. I use the wire tool to determine if all clays are soft enough for throwing, including the natural river clays.

The wire tool should slice thru a wedged cone of clay, on the wedging table by itself without bracing with the two opposable thumbs! IMHO..of course! :)

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Sure do! I haven't found the "one" (clay wise) that I'd like to use exclusively, so I make notes about each as I work with 50-100 lbs. Eventually I'll figure out which works best for what I want to do...

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I keep a detailed log of bodies (and glazes, even tho mine are commercial)...tho I don't intend to do that forever, once I learn each body. I also make/keep broken pieces, from green to final fire, so I can remember body texture etc.  I'm going to use up my reds/browns..clean up is too hard in my small space. I'll keep black and gray for special projects, but very separate from the whites/lights. I also maintain separate boards, bats, wedging surface, tools etc.for porcelain.

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I like red stoneware in reduction, cone 10 or higher when they forget the kiln is running. Granted, I haven't used porcelain much in many varieties, I like Helios over B-mix porcelain. I use the wire tool to determine if all clays are soft enough for throwing, including the natural river clays.

The wire tool should slice thru a wedged cone of clay, on the wedging table by itself without bracing with the two opposable thumbs! IMHO..of course! :)

B mix is white stoneware not porcelain,just saying.

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I keep a detailed log of bodies (and glazes, even tho mine are commercial)...tho I don't intend to do that forever, once I learn each body. I also make/keep broken pieces, from green to final fire, so I can remember body texture etc.  I'm going to use up my reds/browns..clean up is too hard in my small space. I'll keep black and gray for special projects, but very separate from the whites/lights. I also maintain separate boards, bats, wedging surface, tools etc.for porcelain.

I've also been logging my commercial glazes for a long time, keeping notes and photos of how they look with different clay bodies and combinations, but I never thought of a clay properties log until now.

 

As for cleaning, I don't really mind because I've been switching clays after a few months of use and it forces me to do a really thorough studio cleanup other than just tidying after each throwing session.

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