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docweathers

Why not paper clay?

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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.

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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.

Mark

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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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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

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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.

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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

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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

post-837-13466863805_thumb.jpg

post-837-13466863805_thumb.jpg

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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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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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.com/paper_clay_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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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?

 

 

Since, as Chris pointed out, paper burns out at such a low temp, I can't imagine that being a problem. I guess it would depend on the kind of paper used because even after the paper burns out it may leave behind VERY tiny "byproducts" but in the case of some paper that would be kaolin which would be the opposite of a flux. I've never had a problem of any kind with paper clay.

 

Jim

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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.

 

 

Thanks for posting that. I'd consider 1 roll of toilet paper for 22 lbs of clay a lot of paper. Nice to see that that much works so well in Southern Ice. A bit off the subject but I'm fascinated by pieces like Maritime Blues. Is the background clay and the meandering steam of color the same clay? Is that Southern Ice?

 

Jim

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>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.

 

 

Thanks for posting that. I'd consider 1 roll of toilet paper for 22 lbs of clay a lot of paper. Nice to see that that much works so well in Southern Ice. A bit off the subject but I'm fascinated by pieces like Maritime Blues. Is the background clay and the meandering steam of color the same clay? Is that Southern Ice?

 

Jim

 

 

 

I agree that one roll is a lot if you want to carve or stamp on it. I never did get back to doing more tests with the colored paper porcelain ... short attention span issues.

Yes, all of the work is made with Southern Ice which I custom color about once a year ... a week of mixing the base colors and testing them with each other before I store them. The colored clays lose their translucence but it makes a nice contrast to the pure white.

post-1585-134711819601_thumb.png

post-1585-134711819601_thumb.png

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post-14992-134713607923_thumb.jpgpost-14992-134713597985_thumb.jpgJim, Im so frustrated that Im ready to give up and go to darker porcelain! All of the porcelains Ive seen lately seem very dark even the grollegs. I thought a press might help with warping and evenness. I seem to be losing alot in the kiln as well. I do laminated porcelain. I am now making small blocks and taking thin slices from them to laminate over a base of colored paper clay. Thanks Kathleenpost-14992-134713595947_thumb.jpg

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

 

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