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frozen slurry / clay


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#1 Natania

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:53 PM

My studio is insulated but not heated. When I work in there in cold weather I usually use a space heater which does a nice job since it is not a big space. However, in the coldest months I am pretty busy with my day job, and it is harder to heat the studio, so I often close up shop until spring. I have moved my clay and glazes to the basement of the house where they won't freeze for the winter. However, I am wondering if I really need to move my slurry buckets. What would happen if they froze? They are only half full, so I don't think the expanding ice would split the plastic of the five gallon buckets...would it? Can I thaw the slurry in the spring and just keep using the bucket afterwards? Eventually I plan to evaporate the water when the buckets are full and reconstitute the clay....any suggestions? I may want one last stint in there during the xmas period if it isn't too cold, so I am trying to avoid several extra trips to the basement with heavy buckets (just being lazy really...).

#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:10 PM

You clay has been freezing and thawing for countless years . . . one more will not hurt. Your slurry can freeze and thaw without any problems.

#3 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:52 AM

When I was potting in upstate NY in 1971 I had some leather hard mugs with handles freeze. They developed scales like fish. I was using a once fired ^9 glaze of 50 Albany and 50 cherry wood ash. Everything came out fine. As briskepottery says, clay freezes and thaws over millenniums. Just give is a good stirring when it thaws out.
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#4 TJR

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:34 AM

You will be fine. Probably the clay will even be better as the frost will break down the particles further. In the spring, decant the surface water, give the slurry a stir and then dry it out on a plaster bat.Only three more weeks to the shortest day of the year, and then we move towards the light. Happy Spring!
Can you tell I am Canadian? It's pretty cold here right now.
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#5 Nancy S.

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:23 PM

My studio is insulated but not heated. When I work in there in cold weather I usually use a space heater which does a nice job since it is not a big space. However, in the coldest months I am pretty busy with my day job, and it is harder to heat the studio, so I often close up shop until spring. I have moved my clay and glazes to the basement of the house where they won't freeze for the winter. However, I am wondering if I really need to move my slurry buckets. What would happen if they froze? They are only half full, so I don't think the expanding ice would split the plastic of the five gallon buckets...would it? Can I thaw the slurry in the spring and just keep using the bucket afterwards? Eventually I plan to evaporate the water when the buckets are full and reconstitute the clay....any suggestions? I may want one last stint in there during the xmas period if it isn't too cold, so I am trying to avoid several extra trips to the basement with heavy buckets (just being lazy really...).


I'm in the *exact* same boat!! Invest in a thermometer that you can keep over there, and periodically check it (if you have the funds, one of those remote weather stations would be really cool). You might be surprised to find out that it probably doesn't get down to a "hard" freeze because of the insulation (unless you live in a place where it regularly gets down to 0 F during the winter months). I've left buckets of slurry, water, and boxes of clay in my unheated but insulated "studio" over several winters now, and the worst I get is a thin layer of ice on the top of the water if it's stupidly cold for a long period of time...which thaws very quickly. Now, all of that said, I do NOT keep my glazes over there! It gets far too hot in the summer and far too cold in the winter, so glazing is done in the house (much to my husband's delight).

Anything in the studio will help to insulate your clay/slurry/etc....so if you really don't want to lug slurry buckets, keep them on the floor, clustered together, and throw a blanket on them. You can also use Reemay (row cover fabric) - spun polyester - which is also used to insulate plants. Posted Image

#6 Pres

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:26 AM

My studio is insulated but not heated. When I work in there in cold weather I usually use a space heater which does a nice job since it is not a big space. However, in the coldest months I am pretty busy with my day job, and it is harder to heat the studio, so I often close up shop until spring. I have moved my clay and glazes to the basement of the house where they won't freeze for the winter. However, I am wondering if I really need to move my slurry buckets. What would happen if they froze? They are only half full, so I don't think the expanding ice would split the plastic of the five gallon buckets...would it? Can I thaw the slurry in the spring and just keep using the bucket afterwards? Eventually I plan to evaporate the water when the buckets are full and reconstitute the clay....any suggestions? I may want one last stint in there during the xmas period if it isn't too cold, so I am trying to avoid several extra trips to the basement with heavy buckets (just being lazy really...).


I let everything freeze in the winter. If I want to throw something I usually bring the clay into the house and let thaw. Freezing does something beneficial for me, It brings water to the outside of the clay. I like to throw stiffer so this makes it easier to dry the clay a bit. When I have slop that I want to dry out, I put it on board, let it freeze, then take it into a heated area to thaw. Much of the water drains off when thawing. I really prefer clay that has frozen and then thawed and been rewedged.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#7 Natania

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:16 PM


My studio is insulated but not heated. When I work in there in cold weather I usually use a space heater which does a nice job since it is not a big space. However, in the coldest months I am pretty busy with my day job, and it is harder to heat the studio, so I often close up shop until spring. I have moved my clay and glazes to the basement of the house where they won't freeze for the winter. However, I am wondering if I really need to move my slurry buckets. What would happen if they froze? They are only half full, so I don't think the expanding ice would split the plastic of the five gallon buckets...would it? Can I thaw the slurry in the spring and just keep using the bucket afterwards? Eventually I plan to evaporate the water when the buckets are full and reconstitute the clay....any suggestions? I may want one last stint in there during the xmas period if it isn't too cold, so I am trying to avoid several extra trips to the basement with heavy buckets (just being lazy really...).


I let everything freeze in the winter. If I want to throw something I usually bring the clay into the house and let thaw. Freezing does something beneficial for me, It brings water to the outside of the clay. I like to throw stiffer so this makes it easier to dry the clay a bit. When I have slop that I want to dry out, I put it on board, let it freeze, then take it into a heated area to thaw. Much of the water drains off when thawing. I really prefer clay that has frozen and then thawed and been rewedged.



#8 Natania

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:20 PM

Wow. Great tips. I am glad to hear that I am actually advancing my plan to reconstitute the slurry in the spring by letting it freeze in the winter. I actually have noticed that not much has actually frozen in there yet (New England hasn't been that cold so far). I will try letting the clay warm up in the house before throwing as well. I've been using warm water to throw with, but wedging very cold clay is none too comfortable on the hands.
Thanks again!

#9 TJR

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:05 PM

Wow. Great tips. I am glad to hear that I am actually advancing my plan to reconstitute the slurry in the spring by letting it freeze in the winter. I actually have noticed that not much has actually frozen in there yet (New England hasn't been that cold so far). I will try letting the clay warm up in the house before throwing as well. I've been using warm water to throw with, but wedging very cold clay is none too comfortable on the hands.
Thanks again!


Don't be wedging frozen clay or cold clay. Bring it into the house to "unthaw". Kidding, I know the technical term is thaw.Be kind to yourself. Use warm water as well.
TJR.




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