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pritchpat

Best Clay For A Tagine

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I want to make a handbuilt tagine and wondered if anyone could suggest the best clay for durability. Thinking of using stoneware, but is this the best way to go?

 

Also how about the dimensions I've actually never used one before so not sure of the optimum size for a serving for four. Obviously the bowl is not the problem (or is it?) but is there a height to breath ratio that one should apply to a tagine?

 

Regards

P

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Tagines are traditionally made with a relatively open, coarse low-fired earthenware. I know you said you are hand-building, but there's an article right here on throwing a tagine, with the bonus of a good-looking recipe! You can at least get a visual clue as to the relative dimensions.

 

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/how-to-make-a-tagine/

 

If you are going to use the tagine on a direct flame, even with a diffuser, you'll have to be very careful in selecting/modifying your clay. If you follow the directions about pre-soaking the pot before use, etc., then you might get away with a grogged terra-cotta even with a gentle open flame.

 

A problem you might encounter is that hand-building will probably give you a pot less likely to survive thermal shock due to the uneven nature of the construction, but that's just a guess from a useless hand-builder (me!).

Thanks for that I've seen the demo but as my throwing skills are basically crap at the moment I thought I would have a bash at hand building. Only planning on using in the oven but I take your point regarding thermal shock. 

 

I'm so much more used to hand building, love all the different shapes that I can achieve.

 

Going on a throwing course next month so might ask if I can use that as a practice piece. I would really like to make something on the wheel that was intentional rather than Ooh I've made a bowl. 

 

I thought terracotta might be a better choice. I bought a large casserole pot in Spain about 25 years ago and that's still going strong.

 

On another subject related to throwing I've got a Shimpo Whisper and could do with some advice as to which bats work best as at the moment if I do actually make something worth firing I struggle to get it off the wheel. I can't seem to find any info regarding best ones for this model. I have seen that some of the cleaver people on here make their own but before I go down that rabbit hole I would like to try a commercially produced one. Would have to purchase in the UK whilst attending my course, so that might also limit my choices. 

 

Regards

P

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I'm not trying to put you off making a hand-built tagine - go for it!

The black Columbian tierra nigra pots are (or certainly were) hand-built, and they withstand all sorts of abuse, including use on a flame diffuser.

 

Interesting video:

 

 

If I'm not mistaken, there's a tagine top to be seen in the video at about 10:15!

 

With respect to your Shimpo bats, I don't know. I've always made my own (from MDF) - they last for years, and tend not to warp. You could try start a new thread in the 'Equipment Use and Repair' sub-forum - someone is bound to have an idea.

 

Good luck with your throwing course - who is it with?

Oh no I wasn't put off, if it doesn't work I go with the mantra it's only clay! I use that mantra a lot.

 

Thanks for the forum info still trying to find my way around the site.

 

Course is in UK Vinegar Hill Pottery taking the opportunity to stay with family in the New Forest, nothing like a bit of free board and lodging and I should know living on the Turkish Coastline all our family and friends tend to think we're a hotel haha. Only joking we love them all.

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 at the moment if I do actually make something worth firing I struggle to get it off the wheel.

 

 

Finish throwing pot - fill a sponge with water - drop water on the far side of the  wheel-head - run wire under pot from where the water is, keeping it tight to the wheel-head - hold ware board at far side of wheel-head and push/slide pot onto it.

 

If you still struggle, use a thicker wire, or even two twisted together.

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 at the moment if I do actually make something worth firing I struggle to get it off the wheel.

 

 

Finish throwing pot - fill a sponge with water - drop water on the far side of the  wheel-head - run wire under pot from where the water is, keeping it tight to the wheel-head - hold ware board at far side of wheel-head and push/slide pot onto it.

 

If you still struggle, use a thicker wire, or even two twisted together.

 

Thank you I'm getting better at it but sometimes I think my pot is too wet to fiddle with so I wire it and leave for a while, Not a problem as always good for a coffee break but would just like to get a/some bats to give them a go.

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A problem you might encounter is that hand-building will probably give you a pot less likely to survive thermal shock due to the uneven nature of the construction, but that's just a guess from a useless hand-builder (me!).

 

That's exactly what I was thinking. 

 

Pritchpat, if you don't want to throw, you might consider slab building the pot instead. Or even coiling it on the wheel and evening it out. 

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A problem you might encounter is that hand-building will probably give you a pot less likely to survive thermal shock due to the uneven nature of the construction, but that's just a guess from a useless hand-builder (me!).

 

That's exactly what I was thinking. 

 

Pritchpat, if you don't want to throw, you might consider slab building the pot instead. Or even coiling it on the wheel and evening it out. 

 

Actually slab building and coil was the way I was going to go I love using slab and plonking (not a technical word!) it on something as a mold. In fact the Spanish pot I mentioned in an earlier post would make about the right shape. 

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The trick will be using the right clay body and keeping the thickness very even throughout.

Hand building will add to this challenge .

You're right getting the right clay will be the trickiest for me, I've got a slab roller so even thickness shouldn't cause a problem. Living here in Turkey I'm struggling to get to grips with the different clays. My local instructor only used the cheapest of clays and didn't have any experience with the more expensive ones. Plus the clays available are limited.

 

Also due to my inexperience I'm probably not ordering the most effective clays, but I'm learning slowly and as I have all the time in the world if something doesn't work I move on and try again.

 

By the way I've just read your profile and you are obviously my twin same birthdate and year haha!

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Hi,

If you want to buy bats, then I suggest you speak to CTM (probably the cheapest), Potterycrafts, Potclays or Bath Potters supplies to see what they offer.

Alternatively, if you are near a boatbuilder in Turkey (as you say you are on the coast), they will probably make you some out of 12mm marine ply - the sizes you want are probably found n their scrap offcuts pile.

I find it useful to have 2 sizes of bat, so if I am doing small pieces the bat doesn't take up huge amounts of space when it is off the wheel and the piece is drying.

Although some seem to take the puritanical line that you should never need a bat, I find it depends on what you are making - if you do thin walled pieces with wide flaring shapes they can be a nightmare to get off the wheel without a bat.

Enjoy the course - I've not met David but seen his stuff as I'm about 20 miles north of him and see it in local galleries. Also, if you get a chance to explore the area, go to the coast and walk from Keyhaven (just south of Viegar Hill) along the coast to Lymington, as well as out into the New Forest (I used to live a couple of miles down the road from Vinegar Hill).

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Hi,

If you want to buy bats, then I suggest you speak to CTM (probably the cheapest), Potterycrafts, Potclays or Bath Potters supplies to see what they offer.

 

 

 

Clayman has some bats (unused, but stained whilst in storage) on special offer at the moment.

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Hi,

If you want to buy bats, then I suggest you speak to CTM (probably the cheapest), Potterycrafts, Potclays or Bath Potters supplies to see what they offer.

Alternatively, if you are near a boatbuilder in Turkey (as you say you are on the coast), they will probably make you some out of 12mm marine ply - the sizes you want are probably found n their scrap offcuts pile.

I find it useful to have 2 sizes of bat, so if I am doing small pieces the bat doesn't take up huge amounts of space when it is off the wheel and the piece is drying.

Although some seem to take the puritanical line that you should never need a bat, I find it depends on what you are making - if you do thin walled pieces with wide flaring shapes they can be a nightmare to get off the wheel without a bat.

Enjoy the course - I've not met David but seen his stuff as I'm about 20 miles north of him and see it in local galleries. Also, if you get a chance to explore the area, go to the coast and walk from Keyhaven (just south of Viegar Hill) along the coast to Lymington, as well as out into the New Forest (I used to live a couple of miles down the road from Vinegar Hill).

I've been looking at Bath Potters but from memory they say that they tend to warp! so was a little put off. I thought I might pick the brains of Vinegar Hill to see what they suggest.

 

We have lots of woodshops that could make the bats but having never even see one in real life I just want to experience them before getting them made. Also hate the thought of having to drill bat pin holes in my lovely wheel, but needs must as they say so I'm sure once I get an understanding of them I will be a brave soldier and get on with it.  I need to learn to throw a lot better before I start worrying about bats haha. 

 

We know the area quite well as family live in the New Forest so looking forward to getting out and about on free days, but my reason for coming back to UK is for the course YouTube is great for the theory but I just need to actually feel the clay watch and learn from the experts. Can't wait. Obviously my husband is looking forward to getting some good old English beer down his neck.

 

Regards

P

 

I plan to take a small sample of the clays that are available here to compare with UK's I bet it's nothing like as good.

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