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AndreaB

Earthenware Vs Stoneware

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Good Morning everyone,

 

I'm considering moving from stoneware to earthenware and I would like your reasons for your throwing preference.

 

Thank you and have a good Wednesday

:)

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I personally prefer stoneware for throwing. I also prefer the surfaces and the glazes of stoneware. I fire mid range stoneware, mix my own glazes and find the durability and the feel to be much more pleasing to me. I had worked with earthenware in my early years of teaching in HS, and made the move from it in the 80's never looking back. True many colors of reds and violets cannot be reached with traditional stoneware glazes, but the use of mason stains and other manufactured stains will take care of that problem it is you hangup. In the end, it is a personal decision, and one that you can only make on your own.

 

 

best,

Pres 

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I honestly didn't notice a lot of difference, when it came to using either for throwing.  Hand building tends to be a bit more of an issue, as you have to plan the structure better, due to the warping that can occur at the higher temperatures of stoneware.  

 

Pres makes a good point about durability.  Stoneware seems to hold up better over time, compared to Earthenware.

 

It all depends on what you are trying to make; functional wares, decorative/ sculptural?

 

I use Earthenware in my classroom.  The reason is, I can fire faster, which gives me quicker turn around.  Towards the end of the Semester, when I'm firing projects nonstop, I can do a glaze firing in five hours or less.  It cools by the next morning, and I do it all over again.  

On top of that, I share my classroom, with the Middle School teacher.  They use the same clay body I do, as their pieces are only bisqued, and then painted with tempera.  Having the same clay body means we can share slip, I can reclaim the scraps they don't want (which saves me some money), and avoids any potential contamination between different clay bodies.

 

So, a lot of factors to consider.

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I think the main advantages of earthenware over stoneware would be the savings in firing costs. Electricity used, element life and less warping of kiln shelves. Disadvantages would be the high porosity, durability and glaze fit. Not a problem for non functional stuff.

 

Would be great if there were some good ^1 or 2 stoneware bodies but I think the amount of flux needed in them to make them strong and of low porosity would make them cost prohibitive.

 

I make functional pots for the most part, ^6 porcelain and a bit of stoneware.

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Earthenware, being fired to a lower temperature, is less tough than stoneware, and needs glazing if you want to ensure there is no porosity.

However if you make your own glazes, there is a much wider range at low temperatures, as many things burn out at higher temperatures - though there are also things you can do at high temperatures that you cannot do with earthenware.

If you get fed up with the red/brown clay colour, just dip it into a slip/engobe before biscuit firing.

Also, your kiln elements will just about last forever, and your electricity bill will be lower.

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I was in a "hot spot" restaurant in Savannah last weekend, and ordered a "hot pot" meal. This was chicken and spices served in broth with a side of rice, which I eat very little of anymore. The chicken and broth was served in a glazed interior low fire lidded clay pot. The food was delicious, and I would imagine some of that because of the hot itself. I also find several serving dishes in the pottery books I have on functional ware with recipes. There are several earthenware containers for cooking that require the soaking of the juices into the clay, or the ability of a low fire clay to sit in or over a fire. All of this leads me to believe that there is a place for earthenware, but then I still believe it to be not as durable over time as stoneware or porcelain is. Goes to prove that culturally clay is quite versatile especially when it comes to good cuisine.

 

best,

Pres

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All my earthenware from collage has all long  self destructed .

I'm sure there is a use-like art but for functional wares its just not going to work long-day to day.

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Functional pots, can be made from earthenware, but they require special use and construction. Even if you glaze the interior/exterior of the pots, but leave the foot unglazed (commonly we all do this) then that is the spot water/soap/detergent will absorb into the clay body. This will weaken the pots over time/use, eventually leading to their failure. Also, how many of us have someone come in complaining about the handle on their mug being RIDICULOUSLY hot from the microwave and the handle fell off......porous pots get hot as hell. Some earthenware vessels are lovely to cook/use with; think tagine, or evaporative cooler (wine chillers). One of the benefits of unglazed earthenware cookware is that it handles thermal shock better than vitrified stoneware, and so for some vessels is the better choice. However, the vast majority of pots  you and your customer is going to want need to be stoneware/porcelain.

   Now if the whole point of seeking an earthenware for you is based on color/texture, just alter the clays in your clay body to reflect your desires, but try to steer away from going to a true earthenware. I dont find much difference in throwability between most clay bodies, but if anything I prefer a smoother clay body than a groggy one; semi contradictory to what most people preach; being that more grog/tooth the bigger/thinner you can throw. I throw 4' tall, 2' diameter vessels from Bmix and other semi porcelaineous clay bodies. Finding the right balance of grog and other plastic clays where the body is still tight during throwing can be a challenge among commercial producers. Mixing your own you can vary the size and amounts of filler clays (grogs/fireclays/stoneware clays) to achieve that perfect throwing experience, but commercial you're stuck with what they make.

   IMO I dont see any benefit in going to an earthenware; the cost savings as some have mentioned are pretty negligible. I bisque my 2728 for about $10, and cone 12 glaze fire 60 cu feet for about $60 in propane. I dont electric fire to mid range, but would guess costs to be about $20-30/firing. Saving $20 a firing, and maybe a set of elements each year/every other doesnt seem to be enough of  a cost savings for the hassle of making utilitarian pots from earthenware.

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