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Why not paper clay?


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#1 docweathers

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 09:29 PM

I haven't tried paper play yet but I've been reading a lot about it. It sounds like it is the wonder clay that solves many common problems. So my question is, why doesn't most clay have a certain amount of paper pulp in it as standard practice? What is the downside of having a little paper fiber in all of your clay? I generally use Georgie's G mix 6 with grog.

Larry

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#2 Mark C.

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:11 PM

I have limited experience with it but I can say is it adds much strength to hand building sculptures. The down side i have seen is mold and thats not the good clay mold I'm speaking about as well as cutting thru slabs the knife hangs up on it unless razor sharp. I could see this a problem for trimming as well . I have never thrown any.
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#3 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 11:50 PM

I have used it since 1994. It works great for hand building but throwing creates problems because it does not stretch like non -paper clay. It also doesn't throw well because of lack of stretching,
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#4 OffCenter

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 10:03 AM

I haven't discovered any downside to having "a little paper" in any clay. It doesn't take much to improve clay, especially preventing wide bottoms from cracking and cracks at attachments. A very small amount isn't noticeable when throwing or pulling handles, no smoke when firing and mold only when the clay ages a while in the summer but that can be prevented by using a very diluted bit of bleach.

Jim
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#5 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 12:53 PM

Jim,
what kind of pulp are you using? I use a paper linter usually and it is tough. That's why I don't use it for throwing. If you are using something that breaks down easier, like toilet paper, it may work much better for a throwing body additive. So what are you putting in the throwing body?

Marcia

#6 Chris Campbell

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 03:22 PM

There is a lot of debate about using paper clay for functional vessels ... this is what I have heard from experienced potters ...

The root of the discussion lies in the fact that once the paper fibers burn out you are left with all those little holes where the paper used to be ... which means a porous clay body that doesn't close up properly at maturity ... which means that any un-glazed area such as the bottom of mugs, plates, platters etc would absorb more water during dish washing. This means the clay body would stay damp longer since this dampness would naturally spread through all the clay under the glaze. This could lead to mold if they were just left stacked tightly or ... if a person grabbed their favorite mug or dish from soaking in the sink or the dishwasher and popped it right into the microwave it could explode.
In the best of all worlds everyone would just remember which dish was which and be careful ... but not likely even a month later or even the next day with a customer's friend.

Chris Campbell
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#7 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 05:27 PM

That's a good point. Thanks Chris!
Marcia

#8 OffCenter

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 10:16 AM

Jim,
what kind of pulp are you using? I use a paper linter usually and it is tough. That's why I don't use it for throwing. If you are using something that breaks down easier, like toilet paper, it may work much better for a throwing body additive. So what are you putting in the throwing body?

Marcia


Marcia,

Just to experiment, I've added clay to most of the clay bodies I work with, but usually don't go to the trouble. The only clay I almost always put paper in is cone 6 Frost. I love this clay because after testing most of the commercial cone 6 and 10 porcelains and a lot of made from scratch recipes, it is by far the whitest and most translucent. The problem is that Frost is also the most crack prone clay I have ever used. For example, it is almost impossible to throw a mug with a thin flat bottom without it cracking just before it is bone dry (working and compressing the bottom, centering and then flipping over and re-centering, etc, etc doesn't help). So, I add just a little paper to it and it cuts the cracking down by about 70%, which, since I'm not a production potter, I can live with. More paper cuts it down even more but then it begins to feel like paper clay.

Unfortunately, I don't measure, so can't say exactly the amount of paper added but what I do when I get a batch of Frost 6 in is put hot water into a blender. (Yes, I've gone through a couple of blenders but that was because I was using cheap ones. The Crusinat (sp?) that I stole from my wife has lasted a very long time.) and then add something between 1/3 and 1/2 of a roll of toliet paper to the water and blend to break down paper then add pinches of clay until I have a paperclay slip that is far more paper than clay. I pour this out on my plaster wedging board to dry and mix up another batch. When these dry enough to wedge up (weird to wedge because it is mostly paper). I mix it into the Frost at something like one pound of my paper slip to 25 pounds of Frost. Sometimes (depending on what I want to use it for) I double or triple the amount of paper. It's actually very easy and well worth the effort for Frost. My pugmill would make it even easier, but as I have complained here before, it ruins clay.

I can't feel the paper when throwing. There is hardly any evidence of paper when trimming. The only place I can detect the paper when working with the clay is when wedging by cutting and slapping, the wire pics up a little paper. No effect on whiteness or translucency.

Jim
E pur si muove.

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#9 OffCenter

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 10:33 AM

Chris brings up a good point. I guess what I'm describing and what I use is not really paperclay because there is so little paper in it. My Frost mugs don't leak or explode. But, now I'm gonna have to make a test mug out of Frost with LOTS of paper to see what happens when I warm up a cup of coffee in the microwave.

The faux paper cup in the pic below is cast from Frost paper slip with lots of paper in it, probably half paper. I've drank from cups like it and they don't seem to leak but they haven't been used a lot because functionally was a secondary concern. I'm going to put one in the microwave now. If you never hear from me again, you'll know what happened.

Btw, The red clay used to make the holder is Lizella Red.

Jim

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E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#10 Chris Campbell

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:03 PM

Those cups are wonderful ... Again, I love 'em and hope to see them for real some day!

I too am amazed at how paper can transform a troublesome clay ...when I add paper to my Southern Ice I can dry it overnight under a ceiling fan with no problems. When used pure it has to be dried very slowly ... Like a week instead of overnight. Paperclay has a place and like a lot of other things does not fit every task, but what it does it does well. I thought the Frost came in a paperclay form ... At least it used to. I remember using some a few years ago.

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#11 OffCenter

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 10:53 AM

There is a lot of debate about using paper clay for functional vessels ... this is what I have heard from experienced potters ...

The root of the discussion lies in the fact that once the paper fibers burn out you are left with all those little holes where the paper used to be ... which means a porous clay body that doesn't close up properly at maturity ... which means that any un-glazed area such as the bottom of mugs, plates, platters etc would absorb more water during dish washing. This means the clay body would stay damp longer since this dampness would naturally spread through all the clay under the glaze. This could lead to mold if they were just left stacked tightly or ... if a person grabbed their favorite mug or dish from soaking in the sink or the dishwasher and popped it right into the microwave it could explode.
In the best of all worlds everyone would just remember which dish was which and be careful ... but not likely even a month later or even the next day with a customer's friend.


My thrown porcelain mugs have so little paper in them that they don't really prove that the above is wrong but there has never been any problem like the above. The casts faux paper cups have lots of paper in them and I just used one for my morning 8 cups of coffee and then let it sit overnight soaking in water then boiled water in it in the microwave and there was no problem, but those are super thin and glazed on one side. I really don't think the above is a problem but to find out I'm going to have make a "regular" mug with lots of paper and put it through some hard testing for mold and explosions.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#12 OffCenter

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 11:06 AM

Those cups are wonderful ... Again, I love 'em and hope to see them for real some day!

I too am amazed at how paper can transform a troublesome clay ...when I add paper to my Southern Ice I can dry it overnight under a ceiling fan with no problems. When used pure it has to be dried very slowly ... Like a week instead of overnight. Paperclay has a place and like a lot of other things does not fit every task, but what it does it does well. I thought the Frost came in a paperclay form ... At least it used to. I remember using some a few years ago.


Thanks Chris! I love Southern Ice but I only fire to cone 10 four or five times a year so don't use it as much as I do Frost. I wish they made a cone 6 Southern Ice. Frost may come in paper form but I'd rather add paper myself for more control. Does adding paper to your Southern Ice make any difference to the way you color it? Seems the bits of paper would absorb oxides and stains a little more than the clay, causing spots.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#13 KathleenHamlet

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:08 PM

Jim, I also use Frost with paper in a manner similar to Chris...glad to hear that Im not the only one to experience such cracking! What I discovered is that when I sintered the piece (fired to 019^) and soaked it in water to sand, I had blowouts...I believe they are paper related. I can relate to your cracking problems as mine also always occur just before bone dry...very frustrating..I was planning to build a hand ram press to help with this problem


Jim,
what kind of pulp are you using? I use a paper linter usually and it is tough. That's why I don't use it for throwing. If you are using something that breaks down easier, like toilet paper, it may work much better for a throwing body additive. So what are you putting in the throwing body?

Marcia


Marcia,

Just to experiment, I've added clay to most of the clay bodies I work with, but usually don't go to the trouble. The only clay I almost always put paper in is cone 6 Frost. I love this clay because after testing most of the commercial cone 6 and 10 porcelains and a lot of made from scratch recipes, it is by far the whitest and most translucent. The problem is that Frost is also the most crack prone clay I have ever used. For example, it is almost impossible to throw a mug with a thin flat bottom without it cracking just before it is bone dry (working and compressing the bottom, centering and then flipping over and re-centering, etc, etc doesn't help). So, I add just a little paper to it and it cuts the cracking down by about 70%, which, since I'm not a production potter, I can live with. More paper cuts it down even more but then it begins to feel like paper clay.

Unfortunately, I don't measure, so can't say exactly the amount of paper added but what I do when I get a batch of Frost 6 in is put hot water into a blender. (Yes, I've gone through a couple of blenders but that was because I was using cheap ones. The Crusinat (sp?) that I stole from my wife has lasted a very long time.) and then add something between 1/3 and 1/2 of a roll of toliet paper to the water and blend to break down paper then add pinches of clay until I have a paperclay slip that is far more paper than clay. I pour this out on my plaster wedging board to dry and mix up another batch. When these dry enough to wedge up (weird to wedge because it is mostly paper). I mix it into the Frost at something like one pound of my paper slip to 25 pounds of Frost. Sometimes (depending on what I want to use it for) I double or triple the amount of paper. It's actually very easy and well worth the effort for Frost. My pugmill would make it even easier, but as I have complained here before, it ruins clay.

I can't feel the paper when throwing. There is hardly any evidence of paper when trimming. The only place I can detect the paper when working with the clay is when wedging by cutting and slapping, the wire pics up a little paper. No effect on whiteness or translucency.

Jim



#14 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:45 PM

Jim,
I use Frost and I make paper clay from the trimmings. I do use linter pulp as compared to toilet paper.
Thatnks for the further information.
marcia
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#15 jo4550

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 07:02 PM


Those cups are wonderful ... Again, I love 'em and hope to see them for real some day!

I too am amazed at how paper can transform a troublesome clay ...when I add paper to my Southern Ice I can dry it overnight under a ceiling fan with no problems. When used pure it has to be dried very slowly ... Like a week instead of overnight. Paperclay has a place and like a lot of other things does not fit every task, but what it does it does well. I thought the Frost came in a paperclay form ... At least it used to. I remember using some a few years ago.


Thanks Chris! I love Southern Ice but I only fire to cone 10 four or five times a year so don't use it as much as I do Frost. I wish they made a cone 6 Southern Ice. Frost may come in paper form but I'd rather add paper myself for more control. Does adding paper to your Southern Ice make any difference to the way you color it? Seems the bits of paper would absorb oxides and stains a little more than the clay, causing spots.

Jim


Hi Jim
They do make a cone 6 Southern Ice. It is called Cool Ice. It is said be as good as the Cone 10 version.

Johanna

#16 docweathers

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 07:18 PM

There also is reported to be a problem with the paper acting as a flux in the clay. Has anyone noticed this and dealt with it?

Larry

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#17 Chris Campbell

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 10:25 PM

Paper acting as flux seems a bit strange as it all burns out so early in the firing .... under 500 F not much is happening flux wise, is it?

As to coloring the paper clay, I experimented with it once with Southern Ice and the details are above 1/2 way down this page ....

http://www.ccpottery...ay_vessels.html

I did not notice any color deviations due to the paper ... even in wet form it all looked the same, and fired the same. Southern Ice is incredibly easy to use with a bit of paper in it.

Chris Campbell
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#18 Isculpt

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 10:50 PM

Can someone tell me what is linter pulp? I've used toilet paper to make paper clay, and I've used loose cellulose insulation. The insulation is supposed to have an additive that resists mold, while the toilet paper has an additive that tends to encourage it. I live in South Carolina, in a heavily wooded valley, where EVERYTHING molds, so I can't tell a difference in the finished product.

#19 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 12:21 AM

linter pulp is what is used to make paper sheets or fine art paper. it comes in the form of sheets,very heavy sheets of paper which will break down when soaked in water. Fiber artists use it for making paper sculpture. Also, I do not think paper pulp acts as a flux but the opposite. I read a long time ago that the clay with paper pulp should fire a cone hotter to reach maturity. I may have read that in one of the Paper clay books. I use paper clay for sculptural pieces or raku slabs to lighten their weight.Large slabs, 22 x 24 or 26inches get very heavy at the end of tongs so I use it for this purpose. I have not been worried about maturity there.
Marcia

#20 OffCenter

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 09:03 AM

Jim, I also use Frost with paper in a manner similar to Chris...glad to hear that Im not the only one to experience such cracking! What I discovered is that when I sintered the piece (fired to 019^) and soaked it in water to sand, I had blowouts...I believe they are paper related. I can relate to your cracking problems as mine also always occur just before bone dry...very frustrating..I was planning to build a hand ram press to help with this problem.


Hi Kathleen. Yeah, that's the way Frost works. You check a piece out when it is almost bone dry and think, Great! it's gonna make it, then look at it a couple of hours later and there's a hairline crack running across it. Your process in intriguing. What do you make? Any chance of posting pics? I hope the ram press works but I doubt that it will because I've found that no amount of working and compressing Frost prevents cracking.

Jim
E pur si muove.

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