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I took ceramic classes in college and loved it. I quickly became good on the wheel and that is my primary focus, however I also sculpt. I had the pleasure of working with multiple different clays. I primarily used stoneware and porcelain but occasionally earthenware as well.   The stoneware I fired at cone 10 and 6 and porcelain at cone 10.   

I would consider myself a beginner as far as mixing the clays because I never had to do it and all the clay was made for us.  I would like to mix my own clay bodies at home because I assume it’s cheaper than buying pre-made clay and I also will have more control with my preferences.   I really liked stoneware and porcelain and wondered if anyone had any good recipes to share and advice to get me started.  Like I said I mostly do wheel throwing (mugs, plates, bowls, teapots, etc.) I have the capabilities to fire up to cone 10.  Thanks to everyone in advance!! 

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Do you have a clay mixer and pugmill? If not, I don't know if it would be worth the savings of mixing your own.  I buy my pugged wet clay by the ton price and I don't think I could beat that even with a pugmill.  

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High Fire Bodies

assorted recipes

Alfred Grinding Room Recipes

Stoneware Claybodies - Part 1: The Basics

This is a good conversation.

On 5/8/2014 at 2:06 PM, neilestrick said:

All the recipes I have use ball clay in a relatively small percentage, so won't be of much help in keeping your costs down. I'm a big fan of fireclay and kaolin!

Here's a good all around cone 10 body:

20 Kaolin

20 Fireclay

20 Ball Clay

20 Feldspar

20 Filnt

I started with a version of this equal parts recipe.

I am now a fan of fireclay too.

good luck!

Edited by C.Banks

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It might end up being cheaper, when you've done years of testing, tweaking, altering, and if you buy tons and tons.

Would you want to mix your own paint, or print your own wallpaper or.......

Like lots of things, it looks like it would be cheaper, if you don't have to include your time.  Use your time wisely, buy clay.

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There are safety issues with mixing your own clay. Unless you have good ventilation to expel dust, you're not doing it safely.

Tweaking glazes to fit your clay bodies is a lot easier than tweaking clay bodies.

You won't save any money if you factor in your time.

The main thing to consider here is where you want to spend your time. If you enjoy mixing your own clay, and have the equipment to do it safely and efficiently, then go for it. But I think you'll find that mixing and pugging clay is not all that fun, and takes up a lot of time that you could be spending making pots. If you need to spend your time making pots so you can sell them at a decent profit, then you should definitely be buying moist clay. You'll probably also want to focus on one firing temperature, not 3. Lots to think about. Figure out what you really want to do, and work toward that goal.

Also, you should not be firing cone 10 clay bodies at cone 6. They'll be under-fired and will weep. You need a clay body that is formulated to vitrify at cone 6.

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Thank you all for your responses!  I greatly appreciate the feedback as well as suggestions.

I am able to get a mixer a pug mill.  But I am open to the fact that it may be better for me to just buy bulk wet clay as some have suggested. I do have a small room that I would dedicate specifically to mixing clay and glazes with adequate ventilation so safety is not the main issue here. 

I should have also specified that I didn’t fire the same stoneware at two different temperatures.  I meant that I have used stoneware when firing at cone 6 and 10.  I have two electric kilns and would like to focus more at cone 10 because that is what I have done the most with and am used to. 

For those suggesting that I buy bulk wet clay, are there any national suppliers or those local to Wisconsin that you would recommend?  And what clays from those suppliers would you recommend starting out with? 

 

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Making clay makes no economic sense to me unless you need specific special clay bodies . I have a mixer/pugger all in one unit that will make nice clay (Peter pugger) and I never make clay. Its cheap to buy and making clay is brutal on ones body over time as clay is heavy. as is all the making materials.

There are so many great clay bodies on the market already.If you buy in larger quainities thay are dirt cheap

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48 minutes ago, Disciple5 said:

Thank you all for your responses!  I greatly appreciate the feedback as well as suggestions.

I am able to get a mixer a pug mill.  But I am open to the fact that it may be better for me to just buy bulk wet clay as some have suggested. I do have a small room that I would dedicate specifically to mixing clay and glazes with adequate ventilation so safety is not the main issue here. 

I should have also specified that I didn’t fire the same stoneware at two different temperatures.  I meant that I have used stoneware when firing at cone 6 and 10.  I have two electric kilns and would like to focus more at cone 10 because that is what I have done the most with and am used to. 

For those suggesting that I buy bulk wet clay, are there any national suppliers or those local to Wisconsin that you would recommend?  And what clays from those suppliers would you recommend starting out with? 

 

When you fired cone 10 before, was it in a gas kiln or electric kiln? If it was a gas kiln, firing in the electric will not look the same, because you can't do a reduction atmosphere in the electric. Your best bet in that case is to fire to cone 6. You can get cone 6 speckled stoneware bodies that look like cone 10 reduction fired stoneware if you like brown clays, or there are numerous cone 6 white bodies and porcelains available. Firing to cone 10 in an electric kiln will wear out the elements and bricks a lot faster than cone 6, and you won't gain anything in the appearance of your pots.

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