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New To Paper Clay

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So ignorantly I never looked into it because I thought it was like Sculpty or something. I didnt know that it was just the addition of broken down paper into clay. I recently posted a thread asking about additions to natural clay but it seemed that after many views no one responded :(. I have been taking the GA clay ground a couple feet down and sifting out the rocks etc through a fine mesh. The end result has been a fairly nice textured clay that is reasonably workable but lacks the lovely extra plasticity you get from commercial clays. It has been fired successfully to cone 7 (the only cones I have available for high temps). I found that it was roughly 8% porous after that firing and it didnt crack or break during a stress test of 500 degrees and ice water and also the frozen to boiling. I know more tests are needed but Im happy so far.

 

After adding a lil bentonite and grog to this GA clay it still didnt do much for the clay. It continued to separate into chunks as it dried from a really moist state, like if I used it to cast with. But once the clay gets to a workable moisture it does fine drying from that point, no cracking.

 

Recently after reading over a post else where on paper clay and finding out exactly what it is I thought maybe this is exactly what will help make my natural clay work. I purchased some spray insulation "go green" (what the post recommended) and added a few handfulls to my bucket-o-clay. I did a test cast to see if it would crack and guess what?! NO CRACKS woohooo! It even has a lot more plasticity. So being super excited I was reading the pros and cons. Now Im lost.

 

Just as many people who said it could be used for functional ware also said it couldnt. Now I dont know my direction but for safety sake I want to make sure I have my facts straight. So heres what I was thinking about.

 

-Understandably so the paper will burn out way before the the clay begins to vitrify. But how large are these spaces that are left behind?

 

-All clay after being fired still has some tiny bit of porosity and even ^10 work still has bare feet for lil things to enter into the clay over time. So where is the line drawn? I understand the dangers of oven/microwave and the ware being wet etc. Not only ^10 but arent ^6 pieces used as functional as well?

 

-Are the veins from these paper fibers so large that even glazing still leaves danger due to the imperfections in the glaze?

 

-Since im going to dig up some more to process I wanted to test using newsprint etc being that I heard the insulation has Borax in it. That being said a danger does it have a burn off temp like lead frit?

 

I thought I had more...I guess my mind shut off. Should of posted last night. Really Im just curious about it all. I guess I do have hopes to be able to create functional ware. I am trying to really focus on the availability of my natural surroundings in the Norther GA soon to be South Carolina area. Super excited that this paper addition really vamped up my clays performance.

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This is the conclusion I came to after reading various posts on the subject ... Which of course means it is only one more opinion ...

But, that said, I don't think paper clay should be used for building functional wares.

 

The spaces left behind are as numerous as the paper fibers you used ... The clay does not just melt into them.

Worst case is someone taking a casserole dish or even a mug right out of the dishwasher and using it in a microwave.

It would be much wetter than a pure clay item and that water would heat up quickly and unevenly.

Not a comforting thought when you reach in to grab it.

 

I don't worry about the glazed surface as much as the unglazed bottoms.

Once again, just an opinion.

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paper clay is great for handbuilding and as Chris says, it is not especially helpful for functional ware and does not help with plasticity.

One thing you could do in your processing, is make your clay into a slip and screen/sift it. I have used flower pots lined with cheese cloth with a shred of newspaper over the hole as drying containers. I have also used plaster slabs. I had access to an abandoned green house and unlimited earthenware flower pots. From my experience, clay made from the slip state seems more plastic.

 

I use paper clay for handbuilding large pieces as well as for large slabs for Raku. It makes the slabs lighter weight for me.

Marcia

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yeah when i got my kiln it was accompanied by a ton of molds. A lot I dont think I will ever use, silly nick nack stuff. I have 4 really large sconce style rectangle things that have vege and fruit designs...dunno what theyre for but i just flip them and use the 2 piece as a border then pour it all in to dry it out. Works well. Actually broke one of them yesterday <_< stupid me.

 

Im not one for the texture of the paper clay but definitely like the difference in weight. plus I went from the insulation (found plastic pieces in it) to newsprint etc and it has less texture. I ball milled some pulp and it really made for an even smoother texture. So yeah im just dabbling with it to see what will come of it. Studio is a mess haha.

 

Actually pulled out a bag of my first raw clay that I processed and it was a lot better since the last time I messed with it. So I guess a good aging of the clay will benefit it greatly. Bagged it all yesterday and threw it in a tub to forget about for 2 weeks or so.

 

My biggest mistake was not dry mixing before hydrating the clay :(

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I have never had any issue with texture of paper clay.I have been using a linter shredded ,

processed then added to the clay. I have been adding it to my porcelain scraps recently.

I have been using it in terra cotta and raku for the past 18 years. SOmetimes it gets moldy and sometimes not.

Hard to know why. But I have never noticed any effect on the texture when handbuilding. My slabs are smoothly flat.

My architectural pieces are smooth. So, I am not quite sure what you mean by "Im not one for the texture of the paper clay but .."

I don't have a texture problem.

Marcia

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I guess I worded it wrong. The texture isnt a horrible "end of the world" texture. I guess it really isnt that big of a deal. I made a mold of a enlarged wine bottle and I just noticed the inside texture is rough, lumpy looking, and needs to be smoothed.

 

But like I said its not the end of the world I just was trying was to eliminate it, no biggy. Maybe Im doing it totally wrong.

 

When you say linter do you mean from the dryer?

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No. paper Linter is what paper is made from. Paper makers get it for making hand made paper. I have had mine for 18 years.

Got it at Banff when I was there. It comes in large sheets about 24 x 30. I soak it, tear it apart and then put it into my 5 gallon bucket blender.

Then I strain it, squeeze into hand size balls to dry and store. When I want to make paper clay, I soak the balls and add them to slip or the water in my Soldner mixer when mixing a claybody.

 

Marcia

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Well i do thank you for that. I ordered two pounds to experiment with. I read that it is a lot better than some paper due to the fact that wood fibers (not in all papers) dont absorb water as well and are ridged and cotton fibers are actually part of the seed growth which allows them to be softer and receive water better. Sounds interesting so Ill give it a try.

 

You probably already knew that being youve done it for 18 yrs. Im one year back in the mix, thank you for your patience.

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Well i do thank you for that. I ordered two pounds to experiment with. I read that it is a lot better than some paper due to the fact that wood fibers (not in all papers) dont absorb water as well and are ridged and cotton fibers are actually part of the seed growth which allows them to be softer and receive water better. Sounds interesting so Ill give it a try.

 

You probably already knew that being youve done it for 18 yrs. Im one year back in the mix, thank you for your patience.

 

 

My friends have saved mat board scraps for me from their matting business.

I haven't tried it but archival mat board has a high rag content and is suppose to work well. You have me thinking about various fibers. I have used Go Green insulation too. I like the linter the best.

 

Marcia

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