Jump to content

Recommended Posts

my last purchase from Highwater clay had to be returned.  the clay was so bad that i could not use it.  they think it was just wetter than normal and replaced it.  the new clay is still bad, not impossible just very, very bad.   in 3 hours, i made 2 pieces.  normally, in that time i would have filled 5 shelves, using several bags of clay.  these two came from a one inch slice from one bag.    i will have to constantly watch them as they dry over several days.  this is totally NOT normal.   i have asked if their suppliers might have changed and ingredient but i have had no response.  Jennifer is usually helpful but i have not had an answer to the last 3 emails.

i am wondering if anyone else has had a problem.  i use little loafers, another potter who has noticed a problem uses a different name clay but has the same problem, not as bad since she throws.

please contact me so i can try to find out the solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would bet on human error before a materials problem. If it's just too wet, then their production crew wasn't paying attention to what they're doing, and probably just put too much water in it. Slice it up and dry it out and it'll work fine. This happens with every supplier, especially if they have new crew members, or the production manager isn't doing his/her job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I get batches from HighWater that are more wet or dry than normal. I just open the bag, weigh it into balls of what ever I am throwing that day, then I leave the balls of clay sitting out for an hour or so while my garage heats up. Usually dry enough by then. I would rather have too wet than too dry though.  I don't like too dry as much because it takes longer to get the clay the right consistency. Have to poke holes in the block, pour water in the bag, and shake it around then let it sit over night. Bleh.

I don't think I have ever had consistent clay from them. It is usually within an acceptable range though.

The only clay I have ever bought that is always the same is the SiO-2 stuff. It is consistently too wet. I love how they bag their clay. It comes in sealed plastic, then again in another bag that is zip tied. The plastic is high quality so I don't think it will ever dry out. I wish the US suppliers would follow this protocol. I have bags of porcelain that I haven't used in a year or so and they are rock hard, and the bag was never opened. Lame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i would agree if it were only wet.  it is more than that, it is sticking to itself and handles completely differently.  it takes overnight to even "dry" enough to handle without distorting.  not right.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, oldlady said:

i would agree if it were only wet.  it is more than that, it is sticking to itself and handles completely differently.  it takes overnight to even "dry" enough to handle without distorting.  not right.

 

Haven't had that ever. Sounds awful. Will they not take it back?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not what i want, they already replaced 500 pounds.  i NEED the clay to work, last sale on 25th, 26th.  i don't care about a temporary fix, what the h is happening so it can be fixed permanently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, oldlady said:

not what i want, they already replaced 500 pounds.  i NEED the clay to work, last sale on 25th, 26th.  i don't care about a temporary fix, what the h is happening so it can be fixed permanently.

understandable. hope you figure it out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Up until yesterday, I've still been having problems with humidity. It's been unusually warm and rainy in our region. My studio humidity gauge was still reading 60%. I'm used to things drying slowly in the summer, but it's November now and this is ridiculous. The weather finally feels like fall today, and the gauge reads 40%. Today I was trimming and was like "finally some normal pots to trim!" 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes, mea, the humidity is so high that the street outside is still wet and filled with puddles even though the 3 day rain ended this morning.  i  know what wet clay is like, it can be dried by smacking it onto drywall several times and it will stiffen up.  there is no stiffening this stuff.  i rolled  it onto dry drywall 6 times, turned the heat gun onto its surface for several minutes 3 different times and still barely touched the surface leaving WET fingerprints that stood up when i removed my finger.  it ain't normal.  i pressed the wood shape into the clay and thick foam rubber and the walls formed and instantly fell down after i took the wood away.  not normal.   usually, a quick pressing into the foam and the walls stand straight up and stay that way even when moved onto drywall for drying.  it is not mere moisture, something is wrong.

Edited by oldlady
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

maybe it would work better if i wedged it ONE BALL AT A TIME onto plaster for half an hour or so but that is so foreign to me, usually a slice out of the bag, a whomp onto the floor and rolling through the slab roller gives me perfect consistency.    have not wedged clay for many years, if i had to do that i would definitely retire.  

this replacement clay was made months after the really bad stuff.  so it is not a matter of a single run through the clay making machinery, something is different.

it is not just wet, it is sticky.

 

Edited by oldlady
add sentence see caps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't want to wedge 500 lbs either! I would try Neil's suggestion first ... slice it up and let the slices sit out overnight. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

believe it or not, i did that and it took two days to get the stuff even partly workable.  this is just not acceptable.  the material is not working the way it should.  who has room to let slices sit around waiting to use them some time in the future?  in the last month i have only made 3 or 4 shelves full of pots.  that is normally one partial day.  i cannot afford this frustrating delay.

it is not just WET.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, oldlady said:

it is not just wet, it is sticky

When you do get through to someone at Highwater I would ask them specifically if either the ball clay (or bentonite) in the recipe has increased or changed in any way. Have you tried throwing a piece, if you do I'm wondering if it's noticeably more plastic?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having been a production manager at a clay company, the only thing I can think of that could have messed it up in the way your are describing is if maybe they put in too much bentonite, assuming there is any in your clay. It wold explain it behaving oddly, and taking so long to dry, since it would hold a lot more water than normal. That said, I would expect the production line to notice if all of a sudden the clay required a dramatically different amount of water in the batch, or if the batch was dramatically softer with the typical amount of water.

Of course, there's also the possibility that they do know what happened, but are trying to sell it anyway. That, however, I would not expect. It would be very bad PR, and I tend to think Highwater is more ethical than that.

Some clays get really sloppy when they're even a little bit too wet, and take a lot longer to dry out than one would expect, especially if the weather is humid and the clay has lot of plasticizers. I'm hoping that's all that's going on here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you both, neil and min.  i intended to throw something yesterday but it is so cold that i put it off until today, which is going to be even colder.  brrrrr.  will turn the heat up in the studio and try throwing boxes this morning.  

empty bowl supper is tonight and i hope to get to the big city this afternoon in time to shop.  great thrift shops in winchester.   now to figure out what is wrong with my camera talking to my computer.  always something.....................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lady:

weigh out EXACTLY 100 grams of wet clay on your scale. Then allow it to dry thoroughly. Throw it in the oven at 140 if you want to speed up the process. Then weigh the bone dry clay: if it weighs less than 75-78 grams, then way too much water was added when mixed. Have my doubts this is the problem, but it will eliminate one variable.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought some Laguna Buff that was wet and sticky, it was almost in a liquid state, there was no slicing it.  I probably should have taken it back.   I pulled the plastic bag down and just let the block of clay dry.  After 8 hours I would cover the clay again so the water in the clay would distribute evenly,  I would uncover it again if it was still too wet.  You are on a deadline so you probably don't have time for this method.    Denice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is horribly stressful for you.  I've been using a bag of little loafers that I purchased one month ago from Star.  It is a little wet, but I've found that I just have to roll it out onto drywall and it stiffens up in a few hours.  I just received a 2nd order of little loafers last week.  I haven't opened the bag yet.  I'll open it tonight and post the results.  I suspect there was a problem in production. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/9/2017 at 6:54 PM, oldlady said:

believe it or not, i did that and it took two days to get the stuff even partly workable.  this is just not acceptable.  the material is not working the way it should.  who has room to let slices sit around waiting to use them some time in the future?  in the last month i have only made 3 or 4 shelves full of pots.  that is normally one partial day.  i cannot afford this frustrating delay.

it is not just WET.

It sounds thixotropic to me. Sorry I don't remember the conditions/materials that make this happen. There was a CM article decades ago that fired up my friend, Janet Toy, who made some. You can make something of it, but it remains in a state of wetness that makes it lose form when moved/jostled/touched. It made wonderful liquidy forms but was very hard to get to the kiln ! Your clay may have a bit of the material (possible suspect named above) in its mix. 

Maybe you could salvage some of the clay by treating it like a completely new material to make different kinds of things. 

Ditch the clay for deadline and get something usable. 

Edited by Rae Reich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Mark C. said:

(thixotropic) this happened to some laguna clays like B-mix out west here some years ago. Laguna had changed water sources and it really did a number on some clays.

I know a few potters whom gave up on B-mix then moved to there bodies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mea: here is a copy of the email I sent to  Highwater clay. Co.

I am a member of the Ceramic Arts Daily Forum group. In the last month there have been several complaints and questions about your products on the  Forum. I have provided one link in perticular: http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/16852-highwater-clay-users/

I thought you should be made aware of these issues, most of which strike me as excessive moisture content.

Tom Anderson

Sent from my iPad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, glazenerd. I'm quoting the relevant comments from the other thread that led to your emailing them. That way, if someone from Highwater Clay reads this thread, they can see that discussion too.

 

12 hours ago, glazenerd said:

Third Highwater clay issue in a month. Since you are using a white stoneware body,  even more prone to believe it is soluble salts. The lack of mold smell in your throwing water is also telling. Made a prediction in another thread recently that clay issues would out pace glaze issues in the years to come- perhaps sooner than I expected. Someone at Highwater needs to do some batch testing.

by chance was this clay wetter than normal? Tacky? 

Nerd

 

3 hours ago, GEP said:

If you feel confident that something needs to be tested, will you contact them yourself? 

Edit to add: I'm a little uncomfortable with this forum broadly blaming the manufacturer for a variety of anecdotal problems (which to some appear to be normal occurences rather than problems, and when a large sample of Hghwater clay users love the clays and have no complaints), without bringing the concerns directly to them and letting them respond. 

 

3 hours ago, glazenerd said:

Yes Mea, I will do exactly that. From the complaints that I have seen in the last month: sounds like a simple matter of too much water? However, the tacky/ sticky  reports relate to ball clay levels, or even perhaps a change in ball clay supply. Every clay supplier out there hits a bump in the road at some point- who hasn't? 

 

Mea: email sent with specific links to relative topics. 

 

2 hours ago, GEP said:

Thank you, glazenerd. Critiquing and questioning is not inherently bad, but speculation making conclusions without the full picture is bad. 

Can you do the forum a favor ... post the email you sent them in the thread titled "Highwater Clay Users" that oldlady started? Then post any response you get? It belongs there more than here in this thread about mold. And to me, oldlady is the only one having a legit problem with her clay, so any answers found should be for her. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mea:the reply from Highwater.

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your concern.  I have been in touch with the member that originally posted in that thread to assure her it is just a water issue-we don't use bentonite or plasticizers in Little Loafer's. That clay gets very sticky when it has too much water and that might be ok for throwing but is frustrating when trying to work with slabs.  It also takes a long, long time to dry due to the fine grain nature of the clay, moisture does not easily wick out.  

The supplier she bought it from originally had several pallets from the same batch and hasn't heard from other customers about problems. Same with the clay that he replaced it with, so I think if there had been an issue with the clay being thixotropic related to water quality it would not have been isolated to just her boxes. 


Thanks again and have lovely Thanksgiving,

 

Jennifer Hoolihan
Ceramic Technician &
Workshop Leader
Highwater Clays, Inc
600 Riverside Dr
Asheville NC 28801
828-252-6033

Please visit our website www.highwaterclays.com

On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 10:41 AM, Denese Hollifield <clay@highwaterclays.com> wrote:
Hey Jennifer,

Jonathan said to forward this to you.        If you open up the link, you can see the various complaints.

Thanks,
Denese


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <optix52@aol.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 12:48 PM
Subject: Recent complaints about products.
To: "clay@highwaterclays.com" <clay@highwaterclays.com>


I am a member of the Ceramic Arts Daily Forum group. In the last month there have been several complaints and questions about your products on the a Forum. I have provided one link in perticular: http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/16852-highwater-clay-users/

I thought you should be made aware of these issues, most of which strike me as excessive moisture content.

Tom Anderson

Sent from my iPad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.