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Choosing Your Clay Body


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#1 Chris Campbell

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 10:31 AM

Choosing a clay body is not a one size fits all thing.
It is a very personal choice ... Just because your teacher loves
a certain clay does not mean it will fit your needs.

What is your most important, over riding factor?
If your kiln only fires low, then that's it.
If you want functional, sturdy ware, that's it.
If you want to carve and love texture, that's it.
If you want a certain color, a certain look, that's it.

Hit the clay suppliers websites or catalogs and start reading.
It's all there ... Most have clear firing ranges, images of the clay fired
to multiple temps in both oxidation and reduction.

Sure, porcelain is great but if you are never going to fire it to full temp
why pay the price and put up with the hassle?

You can make fabulous food safe wares at any temp as long as the clay
you choose is properly fired to maturity and well matched with the glaze.

Once you understand what happens to clay during the firing, you can then
make creative choices that take you a step further into the process.

There is no good reason to feel intimidated into thinking you've made a wrong
choice if you have made your own educated choice.

Put twelve potters around a table and I bet they can offer at least thirty clay options
for any clay project ... And all will be valid on the "it depends" scale.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

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#2 hansen

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 02:47 PM

Here are some of the web sites that advertise prepared moist plastic clay. Of course clay ceramics are also formed with casting slip, and dry clay as well.

http://www.standardc...MoistClays.html

http://www.highwater...y&category_id=8

http://www.lagunaclay.com/clays/

http://www.brackers....rpage=37&sort=1

http://www.georgies.com/

http://claysupply.com/taxonomy_dhtml

Both schools I went to really went through a lot of clay. Personally I am more comfortable with purchasing dry clay and formulating my clay body, however in markets where the volume of dry clay bought and sold isn't that large, this can be a problem.

h a n s e n



Choosing a clay body is not a one size fits all thing.
It is a very personal choice ... Just because your teacher loves
a certain clay does not mean it will fit your needs.

What is your most important, over riding factor?
If your kiln only fires low, then that's it.
If you want functional, sturdy ware, that's it.
If you want to carve and love texture, that's it.
If you want a certain color, a certain look, that's it.

Hit the clay suppliers websites or catalogs and start reading.
It's all there ... Most have clear firing ranges, images of the clay fired
to multiple temps in both oxidation and reduction.

Sure, porcelain is great but if you are never going to fire it to full temp
why pay the price and put up with the hassle?

You can make fabulous food safe wares at any temp as long as the clay
you choose is properly fired to maturity and well matched with the glaze.

Once you understand what happens to clay during the firing, you can then
make creative choices that take you a step further into the process.

There is no good reason to feel intimidated into thinking you've made a wrong
choice if you have made your own educated choice.

Put twelve potters around a table and I bet they can offer at least thirty clay options
for any clay project ... And all will be valid on the "it depends" scale.


h a n s e n
Stone House Studio, Alexandria, Virginia

americanpotter.blogspot.com
thesuddenschool.blogspot.com

#3 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:20 PM

Here are some of the web sites that advertise prepared moist plastic clay. Of course clay ceramics are also formed with casting slip, and dry clay as well.

http://www.standardc...MoistClays.html

http://www.highwater...y&category_id=8

http://www.lagunaclay.com/clays/

http://www.brackers....rpage=37&sort=1

http://www.georgies.com/

http://claysupply.com/taxonomy_dhtml

Both schools I went to really went through a lot of clay. Personally I am more comfortable with purchasing dry clay and formulating my clay body, however in markets where the volume of dry clay bought and sold isn't that large, this can be a problem.

h a n s e n




Choosing a clay body is not a one size fits all thing.
It is a very personal choice ... Just because your teacher loves
a certain clay does not mean it will fit your needs.

What is your most important, over riding factor?
If your kiln only fires low, then that's it.
If you want functional, sturdy ware, that's it.
If you want to carve and love texture, that's it.
If you want a certain color, a certain look, that's it.

Hit the clay suppliers websites or catalogs and start reading.
It's all there ... Most have clear firing ranges, images of the clay fired
to multiple temps in both oxidation and reduction.

Sure, porcelain is great but if you are never going to fire it to full temp
why pay the price and put up with the hassle?

You can make fabulous food safe wares at any temp as long as the clay
you choose is properly fired to maturity and well matched with the glaze.

Once you understand what happens to clay during the firing, you can then
make creative choices that take you a step further into the process.

There is no good reason to feel intimidated into thinking you've made a wrong
choice if you have made your own educated choice.

Put twelve potters around a table and I bet they can offer at least thirty clay options
for any clay project ... And all will be valid on the "it depends" scale.



#4 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:39 PM

Here are some of the web sites that advertise prepared moist plastic clay. Of course clay ceramics are also formed with casting slip, and dry clay as well.

http://www.standardc...MoistClays.html

http://www.highwater...y&category_id=8

http://www.lagunaclay.com/clays/

http://www.brackers....rpage=37&sort=1

http://www.georgies.com/

http://claysupply.com/taxonomy_dhtml

Both schools I went to really went through a lot of clay. Personally I am more comfortable with purchasing dry clay and formulating my clay body, however in markets where the volume of dry clay bought and sold isn't that large, this can be a problem.

h a n s e n



I used Clay from Standard when I was at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. In classroom situations schools have been moving away from mixing because of the dust problems.
I have also ordered special mixes of a ton or more from Seattle Pottery when I lived in the NW
as well as the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena

I also used Mile Hi for a source of chemicals
Now that I am in Texas at least 280 miles from the closest supplier, I order or pick up from Alligator Clay in Baton Rouge. I like their Porcelain and terra cotta.
I have also gotten clay from Austin's Armadillo Clay and
Houston's Ceramics Store.
I have to put in a plug for the Potters Council benefit for members discounts on Freight. I use it and save a bunch on having clay shipped to me.
I have stopped by the Laguna factory off Interstate 70 in Byesville, Ohio and picked up 500 pounds of Frost.
There are lots of sources for premixed clays as well as dry materials. Every year PMI publishes a resource list of suppliers as well as places to take classes.
I think the biggest consideration when buying clay, other than what you intend to do with it, is proximity. When you ship moist clay you are shipping 30% water.
I apologize for the graying and lack of highlights on the links. I don't know wiki formatting.
http://www.armadilloclay.com/
http://www.milehiceramics.com/
http://www.seattlepotterysupply.com/
http://www.ceramicstoreinc.com/
www.archiebray.org/clay_business/clay_business.html/

#5 AndyL

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 02:13 PM

Choosing a clay body is not a one size fits all thing.
It is a very personal choice ... Just because your teacher loves
a certain clay does not mean it will fit your needs.

What is your most important, over riding factor?
If your kiln only fires low, then that's it. Kiln Fires to ^10

If you want functional, sturdy ware, that's it. I want vitrification in my fired clay body
If you want to carve and love texture, that's it. I tend to incise and use stamping
If you want a certain color, a certain look, that's it. I want a red colored Body

Hit the clay suppliers websites or catalogs and start reading.
It's all there ... Most have clear firing ranges, images of the clay fired Ceramic Supply of NY & NJ carries the Standard Ceramic S308 Brooklyn Red Stoneware I tend to use
to multiple temps in both oxidation and reduction.

Sure, porcelain is great but if you are never going to fire it to full temp
why pay the price and put up with the hassle?

You can make fabulous food safe wares at any temp as long as the clay
you choose is properly fired to maturity and well matched with the glaze.

Once you understand what happens to clay during the firing, you can then
make creative choices that take you a step further into the process.

There is no good reason to feel intimidated into thinking you've made a wrong
choice if you have made your own educated choice.

Put twelve potters around a table and I bet they can offer at least thirty clay options
for any clay project ... And all will be valid on the "it depends" scale.



#6 hansen

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:24 PM

I do use clay that's already been made up, but I like to make my own clay too. You can see how I do it on my blog site. Some of these places will custom mix my clay for me, I guess the minimum order would be 1000 - 2000 lbs., I'm just guessing. At KCAI, Ken Ferguson found an old Navy dough mixer that we made 1000 lb.s a crack; small load. I once saw a pug mill that was over 20' long, extgruded 6" pug. I don't know what that came out of, maybe a brick factory. The dust would be a problem for a school.

I was once checking out a school near here that offered an MFA; I drove around on campus and concluded that the whole operation was inside the classroom space. That was all the information I needed to forget about it and drive back home. Wood kilns, salt kilns, and clay mixing should never be done in classrooms, but with small detached buildings, the problem goes away. Also full-face respirators are something every studio needs to have plenty of. Forget about the paper dust masks.

h a n s e n




h a n s e n
Stone House Studio, Alexandria, Virginia

americanpotter.blogspot.com
thesuddenschool.blogspot.com




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