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Member Since 03 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 02:08 AM

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In Topic: Help! Hand-Dug Clay Needs Additive For Strength

16 October 2014 - 12:40 PM

Jed, it's the oddest thing.  Nothing has separated out!  It's consistent top to bottom....??! 


Bill did add sand from our creek to a small batch of clay but the jury is still out on that attempt to strengthen the clay.  It seems that after the small pot that he made with the altered clay began to dry, it was stronger than a pot made with that clay before the addition, but while working it, it still felt hinky.  I dunno....... :unsure: Jayne

In Topic: Help! Hand-Dug Clay Needs Additive For Strength

08 October 2014 - 03:57 AM

Jed, I'll break out the quart jar and try your experiment first thing tomorrow (well, since it's 5 am and I'm just finishing up in the studio for the day, I guess it will technically be today...) 


In Topic: Help! Hand-Dug Clay Needs Additive For Strength

07 October 2014 - 10:21 PM

Benzine, disregarding the smoke effects of the pine bark, the clay fires to a range of colors from tan to yellow to amber. Interestingly, I've noticed that the older pots tend to be lighter in color.  About 20 years ago, we came upon an unsigned pot at a flea market that Bill instinctively believed to be the work of his grandmother's grandmother, although he'd only seen one of her pots in an old photograph.  He told the seller what he believed it to be and happily paid the $18 price.  When we showed it to the acknowledged authority on Catawba pottery, Dr. Thomas Blumer, he immediately and excitedly confirmed that it was a rare example of the work of Martha Jane Harris, Bill's great, great grandmother. A beautiful cork color, it is on the left in the photo attached. For the last five generations, pottery-making seemed to skip a generation in his family, so that the pot on the right is Bill's, in the middle is his grandmother's, and on the left is the pot we found at the flea market, almost certainly the work of his great, great grandmother.



In Topic: Help! Hand-Dug Clay Needs Additive For Strength

07 October 2014 - 09:20 PM

O.K., Lou.  You're right.  Grandma would prefer that Bill and the other potters find an indigenous solution!  So he will try crushing the rocks that were removed and adding them back in.  We read that grog can be added in at 10% for throwing and up to 80% for building.  What would you suggest as a starting place for additions?  And would you suggest adding only the crushed rock or combining it with sand and fired/crushed clay and adding that mixture to the too-fine clay?  Or perhaps we should limit the variables and add only the crushed stone to one batch of clay, sand to another batch, and fired and crushed clay to another?


It's hard to say if it retains the other traditional properties, since no one has gotten any further than half-built bowls with this clay.  


Bill came home from the tribe's Longhouse today chuckling about the fact that the other potters are blaming him for the bad clay, forgetting that when they saw what he had dug they immediately began digging in the same place.  It fooled them all.  But I think you've all figured out the problem, and just understanding what makes this clay "work" (or fail to) is a huge relief in itself.  Now we just have to figure out the proper additions and proportions....


By the way, for the sake of simplicity, the tribe's employees are given the usual federal holidays, which includes - and yes, it is beyond ironic - Columbus Day, the day that Columbus "Discovered" the Americas!  So Bill has a long weekend to play around with all these suggestions!    

In Topic: Help! Hand-Dug Clay Needs Additive For Strength

07 October 2014 - 08:39 PM

Dandasana! a powerful  pose. Try it Jane sitting on a firm cushion, stting bones right on the front edge of the cushion, you'lll be there in no time. Right in the moment. I can see you making those beautiful canoes for Bear! :)

Babs, Given that I have two very curious and large dogs who share my studio, I suspect that the Dandasana pose may do wonders for me but not for my production schedule!  I can just imagine the broken sculptures that would result from working at dog-level!