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Clay Shortage


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I mentioned this last week in a QOTW thread. I am having a hard time buying clay right now. My local supplier cannot get a shipment from Highwater Clay, because a lot of Highwater’s clays have been out of stock for an unusually long time. They said they expected to get a delivery over a month ago, and are still waiting with no ETA. 

Highwater does have my clay in stock, so I was able to order an amount that will get me through the end of the year directly from them. This is a lot more expense and hassle than usual. 

I posted about this on social media, and another potter said that Laguna is having similar issues. This really worries me, if it’s happening to more than one manufacturer. 

Is anyone else being impacted by this? Does anyone know what the shortage is about? 

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Laguna went thru a period of covid employee issues as many business did last year. Now its spread to materials shortages in the supply chain as well as supply chain backups . The Texas talc issue (no more talc) has affected many things as well. I just heard Laguna (pacifica wheels are backlogged 100 wheels due to no foot pedals  in the supply chain)

I has a few clay bodies I order for others that where out of stock lately as well. Standard cone 10 bodies at that.

The mining world has the same issues as all businesses. I got enough clay until next late spring but that means nothing these days if materials are out of stock. The world is not yet back to normal supply chain wise. Over 100 frieghters backed up not unloading on both coasts is not helping as well. This backup alone is due to covid and trucking shortages (not enough truckers)This will impact all businesses coast to coast. Ceramics is just one of them.

Edited by Mark C.
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I get my clay from Laguna via Denver and so far have not had a problem with supply.  However I am calling in the morning to get clay for the Empty Bowl throwers.  I will ask some questions.

Yes,, I heard about the ships on both coasts with endless containers waiting to be unloaded.  Interesting times we have here.

 

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Trucking has been dicey for me with clay the last twp orders. ) I order twice a year now) Its a 12 hour run from LA to here and it gtakes our local trucking company weeks to a month to get that together now.

Laguna used to run thier own trucks for example in a 100 mile radius  for locval customers but dumped the whole deal a few years ago

Now Truckers are hard to find -my last order last month was up 50$ a ton but I was happy still to get the 4 pallets

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I am paying $200 for a truck delivery of only 400 lbs of clay. The delivery is almost as much as the clay. But I do not want to buy more clay than for the rest of this year. I may be switching to something else if it looks like this problem will stretch out longer than that. I’m also getting a sample of a similar clay mailed to me from Standard Ceramic. My local supplier does not stock it, but they will let me special order it. Standard does not seem to be having shortages. I’ll start testing it right away, and if it will work in place of my current clay, then I will switch clay starting in January. So I can absorb a $200 expense right now, if it will lead to a permanent solution, one way or the other, by the beginning of next year. 

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@GEP I was at Pittsburgh Standard Ceramic in August. They had the clay that I use, but some of the other clays were listed on shortage. At the same time I picked up chemicals for glazes, and noticed no shortage on those. When it came to buying kiln shelves though,  they said that they were on back order and that it had been several months. Smaller shelves were available, but the 26" half shelves were not. Seems like everyone is having shortages on items.

 

best,

Pres

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I like the hazelnut it throws well, and works well for slab construction. I find that it stains most everything in the way of clothing so I wear my apron whenever working with it. The glazes that I used on the SC112, the SC 630 and other clays also work well. The COE seems to be close enough to the 630 that I don' t have to do anything special with glaze thickness or firing. I am on my 3rd 1000# order of it. 

 

best,

Pres 

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34 minutes ago, Pres said:

I like the hazelnut it throws well, and works well for slab construction. I find that it stains most everything in the way of clothing so I wear my apron whenever working with it. The glazes that I used on the SC112, the SC 630 and other clays also work well. The COE seems to be close enough to the 630 that I don' t have to do anything special with glaze thickness or firing. I am on my 3rd 1000# order of it. 

 

best,

Pres 

Thanks, it sounds like there’s nothing fussy about it. And my pottery clothes are already thoroughly stained!

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I use a Laguna clay and bought a few hundred pounds supply about a month ago. I noticed that the quality is way lower than I've been accustomed to. It is very hard and I have had to wet it in the bag to be able to wedge it. There are also weird chunks of things in it that I can't identify, possibly small bits of wire, red and black hunks, large enough that they have ruined several of my pieces.  I often make extra lids for things and keep them on hand bone dry to get the best fit and I noticed that the clay from previous batches is a different color. 

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23 hours ago, kswan said:

I use a Laguna clay and bought a few hundred pounds supply about a month ago. I noticed that the quality is way lower than I've been accustomed to. It is very hard and I have had to wet it in the bag to be able to wedge it. There are also weird chunks of things in it that I can't identify, possibly small bits of wire, red and black hunks, large enough that they have ruined several of my pieces.  I often make extra lids for things and keep them on hand bone dry to get the best fit and I noticed that the clay from previous batches is a different color. 

I wonder if it's a difference between west coast factory and east coast.  So far, I haven't noticed anything out of place with Laguna.  When I called the clay supply shop in Denver last week I asked about supply issues and they said they haven't run into problems at this point. They would be getting all their clay from City of Industry in California.  Hmmm interesting.  

 

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