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spiffypix

Beginner porcelain questions

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Hi everyone - 

I am somewhat new to pottery and started throwing with grog clay at a communal studio.  I switched to non-grog clay and loved it, compared to working with grog.  I then purchased a small sample piece of ^6 porcelain on Etsy so I could try it out (studio doesn’t offer porcelain).  All I can say after using the porcelain is ooohhhhhh I don’t ever want to throw stoneware again.  What a pleasure.   Beautifully easy to move the clay and I barely used any water. I tried Laguna frost because I saw someone mention it online and because I know nothing about porcelain clay.  The reviews of the Frost are not good (a lot of cracking), so I will not go that route.  

How do I choose a good ^6 porcelain that is easily accessible?  Perhaps Standard 551 or Elaine’s?  I’m just not sure the reasoning for choosing one porcelain over the other, but I can tell you that I don’t want to throw stoneware anymore lol.

Any assistance you can provide for this newbie would be greatly appreciated, including any reference videos on how to throw and handle porcelain properly.  Thanks!

Melanie

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Hi Spiffy!

I haven't tried midfire porcelain yet (nor high fire), have worked with bmix (w/o sand or grog), which is very smooth, you might give it a try? That said, I've glaze fit to figure out for bmix - my selection of glazes fit the other clays I have; my guess is that porcelain could be similar - glaze fit may come up!

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Thanks Tom!  B-Mix might be a good fit as well.  I guess it’s the plasticity that I love so much about the porcelain?  ANd yes, I’m just discovering that glazing might be an issue with porcelain. :/

thanks!

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Spiffy:

porcelain will always have a different feel than stoneware due to structure of kaolin clay.

premium porcelain typically use premium plasticizers: macaloid or gums. Premium porcelain bodies have purer kaolin grades, premium plasticizers, and higher flux levels in order to achieve higher degrees of translucency. They typically have higher COE values for those reasons: Frost for example is 6.99 COE. Frost uses a gum ( not v gum) that creates that tacky feeling. Premium porcelain are off white to light buff in color.

standard porcelain uses ball clay as a plasticizer: they can be tan to light grey in color. They fire to a high white, but little to no translucency. They are more user friendly starting out. COE bounce from 5.25 to 5.75 pending the amount of ball clay and flux. Buy according to cone rating. EX. Fire cone 6 to 6. Do not fire Cone 10 to cone 6. Porcelain is dependent upon flux levels to produce the glassy matrix that results in nearly zero absorption if fired correctly.

Tom

 

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I am in love with a mid-fire porcelain that is mined in Australia, called Cool Ice.  I get it in the US from Seattle Pottery, which makes it expensive for me, here in the NE!  But worth it, to me. That said--I handbuild and am not looking for translucency, so I can't speak to those attributes. It fires a pure white and takes glazes most beautifully--incredible color expression. There is a porcelain expert  you might look up, sometimes on here--https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/ceramics-monthly/ceramic-art-and-artists/functional-pottery/antoinette-badenhorst/#

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1 hour ago, LeeU said:

I am in love with a mid-fire porcelain that is mined in Australia, called Cool Ice.  I get it in the US from Seattle Pottery, which makes it expensive for me, here in the NE!  But worth it, to me. That said--I handbuild and am not looking for translucency, so I can't speak to those attributes. It fires a pure white and takes glazes most beautifully--incredible color expression. There is a porcelain expert  you might look up, sometimes on here--https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/ceramics-monthly/ceramic-art-and-artists/functional-pottery/antoinette-badenhorst/#

Thanks so much for that info!

 

 

1 hour ago, glazenerd said:

 

standard porcelain uses ball clay as a plasticizer: they can be tan to light grey in color. They fire to a high white, but little to no translucency. They are more user friendly starting out. COE bounce from 5.25 to 5.75 pending the amount of ball clay and flux. Buy according to cone rating. EX. Fire cone 6 to 6. Do not fire Cone 10 to cone 6. Porcelain is dependent upon flux levels to produce the glassy matrix that results in nearly zero absorption if fired correctly.

Tom

 

Thanks, Tom!  This is just the info I was hoping for.

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All the former reasons are great things to know but I believe you need to try throwing several until comfortable with the feel. From there you can work towards other qualities such as translucency etc... I recently started throwing Frost and find it to be a nice claybody with low shrinkage but having tried it, it is not my favorite to throw but adequate. Whenever any porcelain artists in our studio get a new body, it is not unusual to find them offering a bit to others to try.

I purchase 50# of the Frost just for that reason. I would guess at least 10# went to others just to try throwing.

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HI, spiffypix,

I, too, love porcelain and have been using it for a little more than a year now. I agree with Neil; Standard 365 does throw great. I am a big fan of Laguna clays, however, and really like 616. Good luck with your porcelain journey!

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