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Hi everyone.

 

I have been using Helios porcelain in a community studio where they only fire cone 10-11 reduction. At home I have a Cone 8 electric kiln, and while the Helios can be fired to Cone 7 I am concerned about whether it will vitrify enough for the translucency I want. (My kiln is too large to fire experimentally). I find it very easy to throw with Helios, and it's only slightly more fussy than the stoneware bodies I have used. As long as I dry it slowly I have had no issues with cracking or kiln slumping (knock on wood).

 

I decided to try Elaine's Crystal Cone 6 from Sheffield. I had a terrible experience with it. I tried throwing it softer and stiffer but in both cases the clay stripped away on the outside when started to pull it.  I used a sponge to try to circumvent this thinking less friction, more distributed pressure would work, but it still piled up and peeled away with the slighted pressure (definitely not gonna pass the "3 pulls philosophy" here). I also found that the slightest amount of collaring resulted in wrinkles and it tended to slump on the wheel very easily. Since the Helios doesn't have these issues I am inclined to think it's the clay body combined with an incompatibility with my throwing technique.

 

The qualities I seek in a porcelain are translucency and throwing ease. Color is slightly less important though the whiter the better. (I don't mind the slight pinkish color of the Helios). Can I expect these qualities from a Cone 6 clay body?

  • I am curious to know what recommendations I can find from this community for a commercially available porcelain cone 6 (BTW: I'm in the Northeast) 
  • If anyone has thrown with Elaine's and understands how to avoid the "peeling" issue I would be curious to know how you avoided this.
  • If anyone has experience firing to Cone 7 oxidation with the Helios what were your results?

 

Thanks in advance.

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I use Laguna frost ^6. I was reading that it is one of the few mid range bodies that can become translucent and that is why many like to. I have not thrown anything thin with this body yet, I have only sculpted with it. So I can to say that I have seen translucency yet. I do intend to do so soon though. :)

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tom coleman told a workshop audience that he developed the Elaine's body for his wife who wanted to work at cone 6.  you might contact them and ask about what is happening.  the email address was celadonqueen@aol.com.  hope it is still correct.  

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Helios at cone 7 is fine for functional ware. 1% adsorption rate is fine. I shoot for <1% but 1% will do fine. Most stonewares say cone 6 and have 3-4% absorption rate. I never use those.

 

I have considered using Helios and firing to cone 7 many times as Helios was my favorite porcelain that had a natural wonkyness to it and was a beautiful white. Right now I pretty happy with my cone 6 stoneware but when I get bored I might go back to helios and fire to cone 7.

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I use frost at cone 6. It is translucent. I sometimes do shellac layered resist carving which really looks good with the translucensy. I picked up 1000 pounds in Byersville, Ohio when I was driving back to Montana.

I like throwing with it.

Marcia

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I'll second Marcia's suggestion of Frost.  My first experience was TERRIBLE, but throwing it a little stiffer made all the difference; when it is very soft it just falls down (for me, anyway), but I generally prefer harder clay unless I'm throwing really large.  I normally use Armadillo's Cone 5 porcelain (at a hot cone 6), but it doesn't go transparent and isn't quite as white as Frost.  It is easier to throw, though, cracks less, and a is bit less expensive in Texas.   Both work well under crystalline glazes.

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