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Seattle Pottery Supply ^10 porcelain question


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#1 pricklypotter

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:46 AM

...And some non-SPS bodies.

I have just diversified from exclusively cone 6 oxidation (actually ^7 but that's a different story) to ^10 reduction (updraft, gas)

I live in Vancouver BC where clay is expensive, luckily my SO is going to Seattle next week, so I can get some cheap clay from there. But we don't go there every day so 'buy a bit and try' is less of an option.

I've looked at the 5 SPS ^10 porcelains and have no idea how to compare them. I am going for white and translucent.

In particular I'm trying to figure out the differences between Kenzan, Kutani, and the SPS Grolleg body.

Phoning SPS is useless, they're evasive and vague, I tried. That's also been my experience when I bought a bunch of their Dove (^6) porcelain and asked them in person. FWIW, I was highly disappointed with Dove. I found it limp (so needs to be thrown thicker), short-ish, not that white and only a little translucent. I use Laguna Frost for my ^6 work and find it easy to throw thin and to handbuild with. And of course it is stark white and extremely translucent. Luckily people bought some Dove off of me when I got sick of it.

SPS also carry Aardvark's Tom Coleman porcelain, and I am considering that one too. I am aware that SPS carries Southern Ice as well but it's too expensive for me.

And of course Greenbarn carries Plainsman P700. I got some to try it out, it's a dream to work with, very easy to get it thin, trims nicely, and hopefully my extremely cavalier joinery habits won't bite me in the back when I go back to my ^10 studio on Tuesday (they don't with Frost). I will only see fired results in November though. And it's expensive as well.

I have heard conflicting reports on Kenzan and the Tom Coleman - some people say they're translucent, others say they're not. I suspect that the people who say that they're not haven't gotten it thin enough? They also say Coleman is a gorgeous white, and that Kenzan is not so white but good for wood, salt and soda firings, which are not in the cards for me at present.

SO:

Any comparative info on

SPS Kenzan, Kutani, Grolleg
Aardvark Tom Coleman
Plainsman P700

how white, how translucent, how hard to get a pot thin (throwing)?

And again my benchmark is Laguna Frost ^6 which I find easy to get thin, a gorgeous white, and extremely translucent

Thanks!
David

#2 Brian Reed

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 12:14 AM

I throw almost exclusively the Kenzan so I have a bunch of experience with it. I bisque it at ^06 which is a little low for Porcelian, but it seems to take glaze well, not too pourous. Kenzan is not translucent at all, but it is still a nice white body. As a comparison I have thrown their Grolleg as well and while it was translucent the added difficulty in throwing did not give me a much brigher white so I have decided to stick with Kenzan.

If you are ever wanting a great stoneware the Bruning Stoneware at SPS is excellent and I have not found another body that is close. If you want a toastly brown clay with lots of grog and iron Bruning is the best bet.

I understand about your frustration at SPS, and I shore thie same difficulties is buying there. I recently started buying supplies from Clay Art Center in Tacoma, Joe there is much nicer and will take the time to really talk to you. He told me that their White Rose was superior to Kenzan in quality and throws just as nice. I have not bought any, but will try some out soon and may switch.

The last time I went to SPS I bought $1,500.00 in raw materials and clay, and they were not happy about me not calling it in ahead of time. They gave me a hard time about it and then the woman I was working with was super rude to me the entire time I was there. I am about sick of it and may not go back. The owner Jim is equally hard to talk to, we had a disagreement about a wheel, which he was wrong about. He tried to tell me that the clock wise spin was correct for right handed throwers and I told him he was wrong then sat at a wheel to demonstrate that counter clock wise was right for a right handed thrower. He told me I was wrong laughed at me and left. I thought he was joking, but I never saw him again as he went to his office. I think it was seriously pissed at me.
Brian Reed

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#3 pricklypotter

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:34 AM

I throw almost exclusively the Kenzan so I have a bunch of experience with it. I bisque it at ^06 which is a little low for Porcelian, but it seems to take glaze well, not too pourous. Kenzan is not translucent at all, but it is still a nice white body. As a comparison I have thrown their Grolleg as well and while it was translucent the added difficulty in throwing did not give me a much brigher white so I have decided to stick with Kenzan.

If you are ever wanting a great stoneware the Bruning Stoneware at SPS is excellent and I have not found another body that is close. If you want a toastly brown clay with lots of grog and iron Bruning is the best bet.

I understand about your frustration at SPS, and I shore thie same difficulties is buying there. I recently started buying supplies from Clay Art Center in Tacoma, Joe there is much nicer and will take the time to really talk to you. He told me that their White Rose was superior to Kenzan in quality and throws just as nice. I have not bought any, but will try some out soon and may switch.

The last time I went to SPS I bought $1,500.00 in raw materials and clay, and they were not happy about me not calling it in ahead of time. They gave me a hard time about it and then the woman I was working with was super rude to me the entire time I was there. I am about sick of it and may not go back. The owner Jim is equally hard to talk to, we had a disagreement about a wheel, which he was wrong about. He tried to tell me that the clock wise spin was correct for right handed throwers and I told him he was wrong then sat at a wheel to demonstrate that counter clock wise was right for a right handed thrower. He told me I was wrong laughed at me and left. I thought he was joking, but I never saw him again as he went to his office. I think it was seriously pissed at me.



Thanks for the porcelain comparison, and the stoneware too. It sounds like you have way more experience with SPS than I do, more of the same though Posted Image

Maybe I'll phone Clay Art and see if they can ship to Seattle, I don't think there's time to go there in person now.



#4 pricklypotter

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:34 AM

I throw almost exclusively the Kenzan so I have a bunch of experience with it. I bisque it at ^06 which is a little low for Porcelian, but it seems to take glaze well, not too pourous. Kenzan is not translucent at all, but it is still a nice white body. As a comparison I have thrown their Grolleg as well and while it was translucent the added difficulty in throwing did not give me a much brigher white so I have decided to stick with Kenzan.

If you are ever wanting a great stoneware the Bruning Stoneware at SPS is excellent and I have not found another body that is close. If you want a toastly brown clay with lots of grog and iron Bruning is the best bet.

I understand about your frustration at SPS, and I shore thie same difficulties is buying there. I recently started buying supplies from Clay Art Center in Tacoma, Joe there is much nicer and will take the time to really talk to you. He told me that their White Rose was superior to Kenzan in quality and throws just as nice. I have not bought any, but will try some out soon and may switch.

The last time I went to SPS I bought $1,500.00 in raw materials and clay, and they were not happy about me not calling it in ahead of time. They gave me a hard time about it and then the woman I was working with was super rude to me the entire time I was there. I am about sick of it and may not go back. The owner Jim is equally hard to talk to, we had a disagreement about a wheel, which he was wrong about. He tried to tell me that the clock wise spin was correct for right handed throwers and I told him he was wrong then sat at a wheel to demonstrate that counter clock wise was right for a right handed thrower. He told me I was wrong laughed at me and left. I thought he was joking, but I never saw him again as he went to his office. I think it was seriously pissed at me.



Thanks for the porcelain comparison, and the stoneware too. It sounds like you have way more experience with SPS than I do, more of the same though Posted Image

Maybe I'll phone Clay Art and see if they can ship to Seattle, I don't think there's time to go there in person now.



#5 Peter

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 10:43 AM

...And some non-SPS bodies.

I have just diversified from exclusively cone 6 oxidation (actually ^7 but that's a different story) to ^10 reduction (updraft, gas)

I live in Vancouver BC where clay is expensive, luckily my SO is going to Seattle next week, so I can get some cheap clay from there. But we don't go there every day so 'buy a bit and try' is less of an option.

I've looked at the 5 SPS ^10 porcelains and have no idea how to compare them. I am going for white and translucent.

In particular I'm trying to figure out the differences between Kenzan, Kutani, and the SPS Grolleg body.

Phoning SPS is useless, they're evasive and vague, I tried. That's also been my experience when I bought a bunch of their Dove (^6) porcelain and asked them in person. FWIW, I was highly disappointed with Dove. I found it limp (so needs to be thrown thicker), short-ish, not that white and only a little translucent. I use Laguna Frost for my ^6 work and find it easy to throw thin and to handbuild with. And of course it is stark white and extremely translucent. Luckily people bought some Dove off of me when I got sick of it.

SPS also carry Aardvark's Tom Coleman porcelain, and I am considering that one too. I am aware that SPS carries Southern Ice as well but it's too expensive for me.

And of course Greenbarn carries Plainsman P700. I got some to try it out, it's a dream to work with, very easy to get it thin, trims nicely, and hopefully my extremely cavalier joinery habits won't bite me in the back when I go back to my ^10 studio on Tuesday (they don't with Frost). I will only see fired results in November though. And it's expensive as well.

I have heard conflicting reports on Kenzan and the Tom Coleman - some people say they're translucent, others say they're not. I suspect that the people who say that they're not haven't gotten it thin enough? They also say Coleman is a gorgeous white, and that Kenzan is not so white but good for wood, salt and soda firings, which are not in the cards for me at present.

SO:

Any comparative info on

SPS Kenzan, Kutani, Grolleg
Aardvark Tom Coleman
Plainsman P700

how white, how translucent, how hard to get a pot thin (throwing)?

And again my benchmark is Laguna Frost ^6 which I find easy to get thin, a gorgeous white, and extremely translucent

Thanks!
David


Hi David,

On a side note relating to the high cost of shipping.
I live in Summerland BC and have found Georgies, in Portland, the most economical place to deal with as far as shipping goes. Bob and his staff are very friendly and easy to deal with.
They have a deal where anything that can be stacked on a pallet, up to 1900lbs, will be shipped anywhere in WA. for $85 US. This includes Equipment and Clays.
I have my orders shipped to a receiving business in Oroville WA where I pick them up.. The order is unloaded from the shipper with a fork lift and stored until I can get down to pick it up. Chris there will load it on my truck and for a $20 charge (forklift charge) I'm on my way.

It may be worth looking to see if there are any similar receivers across the line from you.
I just pay the taxes (based on the US dollar amount) and save a bundle.

Cheers,
Peter



#6 pricklypotter

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 10:05 PM

Hi David,

On a side note relating to the high cost of shipping.
I live in Summerland BC and have found Georgies, in Portland, the most economical place to deal with as far as shipping goes. Bob and his staff are very friendly and easy to deal with.
They have a deal where anything that can be stacked on a pallet, up to 1900lbs, will be shipped anywhere in WA. for $85 US. This includes Equipment and Clays.
I have my orders shipped to a receiving business in Oroville WA where I pick them up.. The order is unloaded from the shipper with a fork lift and stored until I can get down to pick it up. Chris there will load it on my truck and for a $20 charge (forklift charge) I'm on my way.

It may be worth looking to see if there are any similar receivers across the line from you.
I just pay the taxes (based on the US dollar amount) and save a bundle.

Cheers,
Peter




Thanks Peter, good advice. I've been thinking about shipping to Pt Roberts. I don't usually think in large quantities of clay but I guess could, and maybe should.


D.




#7 porcelainsculptor

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:48 AM

I've had the same type problems with Seattle Pottery Supply, they're just downright mean and nasty as far as I'm concerned, I won't shop there anymore. It's a shame too because I like their Dove porcelain for sculpting. A friend of mine got fed up with them too and she's getting her porcelain in Tacoma now, I wonder if it's at Joe's? I'll have to ask her. I can vouch for Georgie's in Portland too - they're super helpful. I am getting ready to order some porcelain from them to try out. The woman I spoke to recommended the trillium and silver falls but they're both cone 6.

#8 Kohaku

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:10 AM

I've had the same type problems with Seattle Pottery Supply, they're just downright mean and nasty as far as I'm concerned, I won't shop there anymore. It's a shame too because I like their Dove porcelain for sculpting. A friend of mine got fed up with them too and she's getting her porcelain in Tacoma now, I wonder if it's at Joe's? I'll have to ask her. I can vouch for Georgie's in Portland too - they're super helpful. I am getting ready to order some porcelain from them to try out. The woman I spoke to recommended the trillium and silver falls but they're both cone 6.


So- on the SPS thing- I could go through a litany of similar experiences... but I do have to say that they seem to be isolated to a couple of specific individuals. There are also some great, helpful people working there. When I was working through the kinks of my first Raku system a few years back, Eric (their main Raku guy) was tireless and kind in fielding endless questions (by phone, email, and in person a couple of times).

They have some great clays, and the price is generally pretty competitive... so I keep a thick skin.
Not all who wander are lost

#9 Bobg

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:21 AM

David,

Have you looked at what Clay Art Center in Tacoma has? I only work with ^6, but they are always very helpful especially with shipping. I live on the eastern side of Washington state and have have up to 3000 pounds shipped to me cheaper than it would cost for gas to drive over there.

Here's their address:

Clay Art Center, Inc.
2636 Pioneer Way East
Tacoma, WA 98404


Bob

#10 pricklypotter

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:57 AM

David,

Have you looked at what Clay Art Center in Tacoma has? I only work with ^6, but they are always very helpful especially with shipping. I live on the eastern side of Washington state and have have up to 3000 pounds shipped to me cheaper than it would cost for gas to drive over there.

Here's their address:

Clay Art Center, Inc.
2636 Pioneer Way East
Tacoma, WA 98404

Bob


maybe i'll try to go to tacoma next time we're down there. I just tried throwing a 2lb bowl with the Kutani and was impressed by how plastic it was and how it didn't flop even though i made it very thin and open. I'm looking forward to seeing the fired results - also made some little glaze testers that i can probably fire earlier just to see what it looks like and what it does with glazes. it looks darker than their grolleg body when it's wet but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

#11 pricklypotter

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:05 AM

I've had the same type problems with Seattle Pottery Supply, they're just downright mean and nasty as far as I'm concerned, I won't shop there anymore. It's a shame too because I like their Dove porcelain for sculpting. A friend of mine got fed up with them too and she's getting her porcelain in Tacoma now, I wonder if it's at Joe's? I'll have to ask her. I can vouch for Georgie's in Portland too - they're super helpful. I am getting ready to order some porcelain from them to try out. The woman I spoke to recommended the trillium and silver falls but they're both cone 6.


I don't do sculpting but Dove - I look at it wrong and it flops. Maybe for sculpting it's different. It's definitely almost completely white. but I would just bite the bullet if all i wanted is to go in, get clay/raw materials, go out. This time I wanted information, and that was my problem. But in mid november I'll have the answer to my own question and post it here.

#12 pricklypotter

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:33 AM

Executive summary so far

Plainsman P700 is amazing. it is very plastic and very easy to get thin and big. i throw 0.5-0.75 lb mugs with it because the 1lb mugs come out huge. easy joinery for porcelain, no problems whatsoever. In addition it is a slightly bluish white at cone 10R and very translucent. Amazing pure glaze response. I am in love. Expensive stuff though.

SPS Kutani is plastic, doesn't get as big as P700, but can take a lot of abuse. attachments crack more. It fires to a very slightly greyish white and is translucent where quite thin but not as much as P700. If you can get it in Seattle, it's less than half the price of P700, Greenbarn don't carry it.

SPS Tosch feels like Kutani to work with, haven't seen the fired results.

SPS Grolleg is exactly like SPS Dove to work with, ie horrible and limp, but more specifically with all the quirks of Dove. Try it out, you'll hate it as much as I do... I haven't seen the fired results yet, I hope they're worth it. I have three more bags and can't wait to finish them. It took me a day to get used to those quirks again, a less painful learning curve this time to be sure. But I don't enjoy it.

#13 Karen B

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

...And some non-SPS bodies.

I have just diversified from exclusively cone 6 oxidation (actually ^7 but that's a different story) to ^10 reduction (updraft, gas)

I live in Vancouver BC where clay is expensive, luckily my SO is going to Seattle next week, so I can get some cheap clay from there. But we don't go there every day so 'buy a bit and try' is less of an option.

I've looked at the 5 SPS ^10 porcelains and have no idea how to compare them. I am going for white and translucent.

In particular I'm trying to figure out the differences between Kenzan, Kutani, and the SPS Grolleg body.

Phoning SPS is useless, they're evasive and vague, I tried. That's also been my experience when I bought a bunch of their Dove (^6) porcelain and asked them in person. FWIW, I was highly disappointed with Dove. I found it limp (so needs to be thrown thicker), short-ish, not that white and only a little translucent. I use Laguna Frost for my ^6 work and find it easy to throw thin and to handbuild with. And of course it is stark white and extremely translucent. Luckily people bought some Dove off of me when I got sick of it.

SPS also carry Aardvark's Tom Coleman porcelain, and I am considering that one too. I am aware that SPS carries Southern Ice as well but it's too expensive for me.

And of course Greenbarn carries Plainsman P700. I got some to try it out, it's a dream to work with, very easy to get it thin, trims nicely, and hopefully my extremely cavalier joinery habits won't bite me in the back when I go back to my ^10 studio on Tuesday (they don't with Frost). I will only see fired results in November though. And it's expensive as well.

I have heard conflicting reports on Kenzan and the Tom Coleman - some people say they're translucent, others say they're not. I suspect that the people who say that they're not haven't gotten it thin enough? They also say Coleman is a gorgeous white, and that Kenzan is not so white but good for wood, salt and soda firings, which are not in the cards for me at present.

SO:

Any comparative info on

SPS Kenzan, Kutani, Grolleg
Aardvark Tom Coleman
Plainsman P700

how white, how translucent, how hard to get a pot thin (throwing)?

And again my benchmark is Laguna Frost ^6 which I find easy to get thin, a gorgeous white, and extremely translucent

Thanks!
David






Hi David, I'm sorry I don't have anything to add, but I wanted to ask you about the Laguna Frost, which is what I have been using for a few years. I find it difficult to throw and have never been able to make tall objects from it. I have been throwing for many years and have no problem with the other clays I use. Do you have any particular method to throwing it? Thanks and good luck finding the right ^10 clay. ~ Karen

#14 pricklypotter

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:07 AM

Hi David, I'm sorry I don't have anything to add, but I wanted to ask you about the Laguna Frost, which is what I have been using for a few years. I find it difficult to throw and have never been able to make tall objects from it. I have been throwing for many years and have no problem with the other clays I use. Do you have any particular method to throwing it? Thanks and good luck finding the right ^10 clay. ~ Karen


I don't tend to make very tall stuff, just normal tall, bigger (2-4 litre) bowls, pitchers, 1 litre teapots, biggish mugs (~ 12cm high when fired) and the like. If you want to go taller I have no words of wisdom at all. How tall do you wan to go? I've definitely gotten Frost to be about 20-25cm, but then I usually open it up into a bowl. I don't know that I have any trick except do as few pulls as you can, not so much water, don't mess with it too much when you shape it, be obsessive about removing slip from the walls and bottom, throw with thin slurry and not water. the usual porcelain words of wisdom. maybe the wheel should be a tad slower than for stoneware or stuff like Bmix or P300. But not as slow as for dove, where the slightest bit of centrifugal force will cause it to flop. I find that Frost likes to hold its shape quite well, indeed that it is quite rubbery and tends to bounce back. I don't necessarily like trimmed feet on my work but with Frost I now trim everything since otherwise I find the bottoms crack too much from the outside.

oh yes, if all else fails, liberal use of the heat gun. I now use it just to take pots off the wheel and not so much when I'm actually throwing but sometimes it just can't be helped, especially if you're throwing tall and taking many pulls to do it and the clay is getting mushier by the nanosecond.

I hope you find some of it a little useful and not completely trivial.

d.

#15 pricklypotter

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:27 PM

Final update, mainly for posterity (if anyone asks a similar question in the future)

I have fired SPS grolleg and it's gorgeous. very white with a tinge of blue and very translucent. excellent glaze response.

in this firing i also found a mug that was very grey on the bottom and wondered what it was until it dawned on me that I had traded someone some SPS grolleg for some SPS tosch to try out. that was my tosch mug.

so to sum up, in descending order of whiteness and translucency:

1. SPS grolleg is hard to work with but beautiful if you can tame the beast.
2. SPS kutani is easy to work with and is a bit translucent where thin. it is a bit off white (greyish) but still has a very satisfying glaze response
3. SPS kenzan - everyone's go-to functional porcelain, can't say i have ever seen any light through it and it is decidedly off white. I can't say it's more workable than kutani.
4. SPS tosch - grey. looks almost like seamix. made the celadon look grey and dull. same workability as 2 and 3.

and of course plainsman p700 which is a tad more blue than SPS grolleg and more tranlucent (and easier to get very thin, my recent 1lb mugs are 600ml, compared to 400ml with SPS grolleg)
and aardvark tom coleman which i haven't worked with but is extremely white and a bit translucent too where thin.




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