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Mid Fire Black Clay - Replacing Midnight Black


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I know I can’t be the only potter lamenting the discontinuation of Seattle Pottery Supply’s Midnight Black clay. Sure, it was difficult to find compatible glazes to go with it, but its finished color was absolutely gorgeous.

I’m looking for a suitable replacement… I’m not thrilled about the idea of shipping, but I’ll do it for the right clay. Any suggestions on alternatives? 

474966F6-BB51-4413-BDB6-FEBD950ED861.jpeg

Edited by kayleyvdb
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5 hours ago, blackthorn said:

I often use Aardvark Black Mountain, but it's ^10 and requires a lengthy and slow bisque or it will definitely bloat.  Otherwise it looks wonderful, like your Midnight Black.

No idea if a ^6 Black Mountain exists.

FWIW Aardvark apparently sell a black ^5 clay Aardvark Clay's Obsidian (formerly Cassius Basaltic) https://www.aardvarkclay.com/products.php?cat=26

... a few comments in this thread. Difficult to get glazes to fit, raw clay is magnetic, ...

 

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I'd tried a bag of Aardvark's Cassius Basaltic; it does come out so rich, smooth, dense!

Suggest throwing/trimming medium to thin, thorough bisque with ample oxygen (I'm running a powered kiln vent). I held at 1500F for thirty minutes on the way up and down.

Try cone 5 target for glaze fire, drop 100F and hold for thirty minutes.

Edited by Hulk
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In Canada Tuckers supplies the Spanish Sio-2 Black Ice and also Black Stoneware. It is expensive clay but ordering from within Canada has it's advantages. Since you are in the lower mainland of BC you could ask if Greenbarn could bring it in for you the next time they order from Tuckers.

edit: Tacoma Clay Art Center carries a couple black clays. I have had Greenbarn bring in claybodies from there also. When the border opens back up again it's not that far a drive from the lower mainland to pick up clay from either.

Edited by Min
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I myself have started playing with dark clay bodies as the come out so stunning. I bought a few bags of eclipse from SPS that I am firing right now actually. I never tried the midnight black but they say this is what replaced it and it is “improved” compared to the old midnight black. Or is that not the case? 
 

we shall see how glazes come out but as far as throwing it, it’s wonderful and super easy to throw thin etc. Wet it comes super red and fires to black and might be the messiest clay I have ever worked with. Hoping for some nice results.

I do like the results of brown bear but it is pretty annoying to throw vertically…but it takes my glazes fine and the end result is spectacular.

I do have a few bags of black ice porcelain to test as well but from how soft it is and the effort to get it to a workable state plus it’s insane cost I can already tell you it will not make the cut for me.

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This is all so helpful! Thank you everyone for your input. 

@PeterHI've heard good things about the Aardvark clay. Thank you for sharing that additional thread with me, and thank you @Hulkfor the throwing/firing info – It's super helpful! 

@MinI've never thought about making special requests with Greenbarn. It's great to know that's possible! 

@MorganYou're right about the Eclipse clay! I didn't realize they had already replaced the Midnight Black. I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying working with it. I would be really interested to hear how the glazing goes. Midnight Black was finicky, but I had finally found a couple glazes that I loved with it... just in time for it to be discontinued. 

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So glazes for eclipse came out great for me, if not amazing for me. I will say I have never had much luck with any mattes on dark clays…unless being super rough is ok with you, every glossy glaze I have turned out great. Still blows my mind the difference a clay body makes on a glaze.

The cons to eclipse are it does not fire very smooth like brown bear which just begs to look and admire a well done foot and exposed clay. Eclipse has a much more rough and rustic feel to it. That said it throws incredible which makes sense given the former.

Super slow 04 bisque and glazed to cone perfect 6…I should probably test them at 5 given almost all of them suggest they should be but so far no bloating or anything for me on either of those.

I am sure the black ice will look stunning and my guess the best out of all of them but it really irks me how soft it is out of the bag and what I am having to do to prepare it to even try. Not to mention it is laughably expensive. Clay should come ready to use IMO.

I do want to test standards dark body as Neil suggests, I just wish it were a tad darker.

hope that helps, will post some pics later as well.

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@MorganThis is incredibly helpful! I found out that my local potter's supply store is carrying Eclipse now. The cost is higher than the Midnight Black, but that's not going to stop me... I can't wait to give it a try! I'm also glad to hear that it has a more rustic finish — That suits my work much better anyway. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about the others and I would be really interested in seeing images of the pieces you've completed with the Eclipse. Thank you for following back up!

Edited by kayleyvdb
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