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Rebekah Krieger

Mica Clay Hand Dug

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My sister in law lives in new mexico and dug out and processed some clay. It's got a lot of grit so I do not plan to throw with it. I am told it is "low fire". (she said someone who uses it mentioned 1700 degrees.  She has pit fired it with her school. (she is a waldorf school teacher and they teach the kids things like this) 

I got a 3 lb ball of it. Does anyone have suggestions for me who has worked with clay containing lots of mica? It's very pretty /sparkly clay. 

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The thing you have to remember with mica ware is that it is absorbs water. If you make cookware you should not let it soak in detergent when you wash it. The detergent could leach out into your next meal.  I clean mine out with very hot water and a sponge. It will get oily and discolored with use, but that is normal. If you want to get back to the "new" look... just add it to your next bisque fire.

 

One more thing I might add. Don't try to fire it higher than about cone 05. If you try to high fire it the mica melts and disappears.

Norm Stuart likes this

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Mica ware is generally not glazed. You don't need a slab roller. Just use a rolling pin. If you do end up rolling it, turn the clay 90 degrees each time you roll it

 

If you are going to use it for cooking avoid right angle corners because this causes stress during heating.

 

Coiling or pinch pots are the traditional ways of building mica ware. When you get the shape you want you can also  paddle it to form.

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Recommend avoid glazes . . . why cover up the mica? Also, you may want to make a small test tile or two and fire them . . . one in a bisque load, the other at your glaze temperature (make sure to put on a protective dish or cookie in case it melts). That will give you an idea what the finished look will be like. Most mica ware is pit fired to get smoke effects -- low fire temps.

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I love working with mica clay. I throw it just like any other groggy body. (tip, the clay seems very thirsty but will collapse if you throw with too much water.) I then burnish the clay with terra sigilatta and a rock. I fire to ^09 with a 15 minute hold. You can cook with mica clay ware in the oven / microwave, on a stovetop, grill, or even fire pit.

 

Good luck!

 

Darrel

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Hi Darrell Glad to here somebody else is throwing mica clay. I have thrown pots with the commercial micacious  from Laguna Clay but the hand dug micacious clay from the area around here doesn't work so well.

 

Post some pictures in your gallery, I'd like to see them.

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