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Clay Cat Litter

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Hi all, I have a question that has probably never been asked before:  is clay-based cat litter usable as content for casting slip? I ask this because  it's cheaper and  I can buy it from a local store rather than order my usual clay online and have to pay an exorbitant delivery fee. I like to experiment so was going to make something small to see what would happen but I also thought I'd put the question out there in case anyone had actually tried this. Thanks in advance!

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There are very few clays that are useable on their own as a casting slip (or throwing body for that matter). A clay body requires clay, binders such as feldspars or talc, silica, and other things. So even if the litter would work as the clay content, you'd still have to buy a bunch of other ingredients to make it work. Just take some of you normal clay, dry it out and pulverize it, and make slip out of that for now.

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No it will not work-Thats my hunch from my life in clay experience.

You can add kitty litter to REAL clay slip slip-but that also needs testing and really has no gain as I can see.

You can test it and tell us the results.I think we would or at least I would be amazed if it did work.

I could ask my cat but he passed away two years ago.

 

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Your product says it is Australian bentonite, but we have both the sodium and calcium bentonite (aka Fullers Earth) here in Oz, so you would have to know which one it is.  Search sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite on these forums and there is plenty of discussion.  

Have to say that in my experience/research cat litter is usually the calcium bentonite variety.  Calcium bentonite is plenty plastic, but not sure how much that will matter for slip casting?

I think shrinkage will be the main issue  either way.  Sodium bentonite will be super shrinking and you will probably get a lot of cracking in your molds.  Calcium bentonite shrinks less, and will be more forgiving.   With either one, though, I would be blending with normal clay.  Only experimentation will reveal the right blend.

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I live in central Missouri, USA. And have dug and used a local clay that has been used commercially for over a hundred years for firebrick at the A. P. Green Co. in Mexico, Missouri and is currently used to manufacture kitty litter at a facility east of Columbia, Missouri. The natural clay is loaded with a lot of organic material, like plant roots. When fired it produces an almost snow white color too a very light pinkish off white. The surface is open and course when fired. I am planning a pit firing this coming Fall, 2019, with a blend of quartz sand in the clay. The vessels will have a bisque firing before their sawdust and charcoal pit firing. when brushed with a large wet house painting brush the quartz sand produces a linear patterned texture. This batch will be colored blue with lye water from ashes and the browns from pit firing. Like always we’ll see how it goes. 

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Have you seen that video where someone throws a pot, then cups her hand around it and covers it with slip......the purpose of which then is to drag fingers or ribs through it to create a fluted looking texture? Also done on a large plate edge to produce flat scalloping.....is casting slip what is being used or did the person just make a slip from the clay she was using which was porcelain?  I can't figure out how it will not crack or flake off later. Looks cool when thrown but then what happens to it?

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Do you have a old fashion lumbar yard in your area?   We use to have one until the Lowe's and Home Depot's moved in.   I was able to order pottery plaster and some clay from them at a very low cost.   I know several potters that make a trip of it to buy supplies,  I am lucky I have a local company near me  but the other one in Kansas is 200 miles from me.     Potters  call in their order,  pick it up and then go shopping or to a art exhibit and top it off with a nice dinner out.  Some have relatives here and make a weekend out of it.     Denice

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17 hours ago, MFP said:

Have you seen that video where someone throws a pot, then cups her hand around it and covers it with slip......the purpose of which then is to drag fingers or ribs through it to create a fluted looking texture? Also done on a large plate edge to produce flat scalloping.....is casting slip what is being used or did the person just make a slip from the clay she was using which was porcelain?  I can't figure out how it will not crack or flake off later. Looks cool when thrown but then what happens to it?

You let it dry, fire it and glaze it :) 

I do a lot of this in my own practice currently. The easiest way is definitely to just use a slip made of the same clay body you're applying it to if you're just looking for texture, but there are a few ways to work the technique. It depends a little on how all the clays involved react with each other, and some test cups are usually a good idea before committing to a large pile of work. I found a white clay that is fairly close in shrinkage rates to the red clay I throw with, so I use that white clay both as a thick slip for texturing, and I add some Darvan to another bucket to make a dipping slip. The white clay I use isn't specifically a casting slip, although it can be properly deflocculated and used as such. It's just a white stoneware sold mostly for throwing, that happens to work. Casting slip that is formulated for slip casting only is a slightly different animal.

 

edited to add: if you want to take a peek at my IG, I actually posted a bunch of textured mugs and a jar this week. The link is in my signature at the bottom.

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On 8/12/2019 at 6:16 PM, Benzine said:

@Bill Irwin you will have to post pictures of your wares, after the pit firing.

 

I've used some found clay, from around here.  It's blue green, but fires a golden yellow.  It has very little strength, on its own, when fired though.

Will do. 

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