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Mixing Black Clay Body - Cone 10 - Need Expertise

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JBaymore    1,432

Extremely high iron, fored in reduction.  Will have reall issues for larger pieces.  Touchy as hell to fire.  Reduced iron oxide as a flux produces a very poor very brittle glassy phase early in the firing. 


I use a simuilar body at cone 10 -14 in the wood kiln.  SLIGHTLY less iron content, I think.  Only for small pieces.  Looks stunning with a real Nuka.  Probably a 50% failure rate.


It can be done......... but you have to know what you are doing.. and know the limitations.  Taken me years to prefect using it.





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I do mix several of my own clay bodies and I don't forget the recipies because I WRITE THEM DOWN! in my technical journal,

so I disagree with the majority here...


...if he wanted to genuinely share his recipie for this clay body then he could have checked his OWN records...


...if he gave the recipie 'off the top of his head' then he is responsible for the omissions he forgot...


...if he did not want to really share the recipie after all then he could have kept his mouth shut!......and sent you to the internet, CAD or the college library to find your own information which would have rightly left you with all the responsibility for the setbacks


I have had several lecturers and instructors over the years and I did believe them and tried all they would teach, but to be fair to teachers I didn't commit 45kgs of work all at once. I was usually testing anyway so I'd toss a few things in each load or else fire up my small electric kiln overnight because I am way too impatient to wait 4-6 weeks to see a result.


Shame about your experience but the lesson is learnt and will be good to see your final results.



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Biglou13    202

Irene .....I just made a 72Kgs. "Test" batch of clay............keeping fingers crossed.........(in this case it's a "known" recipe)


I my case it's the Internet leading the blind (me)


I do have to say its quite interesting to see one full off piss and vinegar, and courageously creating work.... Reminds me of someone I know........


Imagine the art world if only the "safe" route was taken.


Risks must be taken but as I age these risks are more and more calculated

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Benzine    610

One thing I have leared from teaching for 40 some years is that when you hear a story being told by someone else about what transpired... you are not always getting the 'whole picture'.  You are getting a single viewpoint on the genesis of the situation.   


Sometimes what the student hears/sees and what the instructor was saying/doing are completely different.


It would be interesting to hear the instructor's side of the same story about how the situation reached this point.


Iverall, Chris summed it all up nicely in her posting above.






Very true John.  There have been many times, where I tell a student how to do part of a process, then inevitably something goes wrong.  I ask them what they did, and the explain some/ most the steps correctly.  However, they omitted one of the parts.  I ask them why they didn't do that part, and the either tell me, that I didn't tell them to do that, or just say they forgot.

Odds are, they were just listening for a certain part of the process, that they thought they needed, thinking they didn't need the rest, or could just figure it out for themselves.  


This is why, I've tried to break down a process into pieces.  "OK, do this, and let me know when you're done and I'll come back."  Sometimes it works, other times, they either think that means their done, or try and go on their own, and still have issues.  


In either case, if the student wants to think of me as the bad guy, that's fine.  I have plenty of other witnesses, who saw me help the student, and heard what I told them to do.  And it is always funny, when I'll have a student blame me for something, only to have one of their classmates chime in, without any word from me, saying "That's not what he told you to do!"

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Chris Campbell    1,088

It is kind of like getting road directions from someone ... you can process the first two or three turns then the brain just goes on vacation.

Once, when lost, we received road directions from a lady on the street ... the lady made us repeat them back to her and would not let us drive off until we had it right.


Yep. She was a retired school teacher! :P

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I'm not gonna comment on the student/teacher dynamic that seems to be going on here. Sad things happened to your clay work. The rebound off of that can be painful, and learning to deal with the rebound is yet another thing to have to figure out in order to work in any art form. (Many potters have been found in the company of the occasional beer..) I find the discussion about blame allocation to be unhelpful.

In terms of the technical bits, if you don't own a copy of Daniel Rhodes' "Clay and Glazes for the Potter", it can be had for $50 CA used, so I'm sure you can find it cheaper. It was my undergrad glaze and clay text. If your brain box is being twigged by the idea of mixing a clay body, it, or other similar books (suggestions, anyone?) are likely a valuable investment in your six year plan.

There is an awesome thread started by BigLou that details his journey formulating his clay bodies. It lists many good resources.

Using any kind of $(!? mix reclaim is a crap shoot. Are there any suppliers in your area that sell dry bags of their prepared clays? If they do, you might try doctoring one of those to your taste.

I wish you much better luck with the next round!


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