[Clayart] clay body and glaze/long

ivor and olive lewis iandol at westnet.com.au
Wed Mar 5 01:25:03 EST 2014

Wonderful if you can find a raw native clay right by your own back door. But 
you need to think in terms of cubic metres if it is to be used to earn a 
livelihood. A few buckets full from farms in the next state or province will 
not support  a good, skilled production potter.
I recall one of my colleagues who found a seam  of white clay at the foot of 
sand dunes.. Following the book she prepared samples and made some well 
crafted pots.. No problems with the  bisque firing, but the first cone 8 
firing was a disaster. Her wonderful find was contaminated with two classic 
fluxes, Sodium from being immersed periodically by the sea and Aragonite, 
superfine shell grit composed of Calcium Carbonate.
One of my Australian Students found a very good plastic red clay one their 
property, enough to last a life time. Unfortunately, the high Iron content 
which gave the wonderful colour gave to many problems.
I have fantasies about cross breeding some of the shale that comprise the 
Adelaide Geosyncline.But the best deposits have been worked out. to provide 
refractories for early smelters.
Ivor Lewis,
South Australia

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "tony clennell" <smokieclennell at gmail.com>
To: "mel jacobson" <melpots2 at visi.com>; "Clayart posting" <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 11:57 AM
Subject: Re: [Clayart] clay body and glaze/long

> Just recently I was in Georgia and had the opportunity to drop in on a
> Micheal Hunt/Naomi Daglish workshop. They brought their own clay from NC .
> Neighbouring farmer gives them a bucket load of red and a bucket of grey
> and voila they have the most beautiful clay. Lots of different particle
> sizes which I think gives their work a nice look. Clays out of a bag are
> too slick. I think Michael Kiine also get his beautiful dark clay from his
> backyard. Nice to have lots of clay so as it doesn't become too valuable.
> Others seem to need to bring their clay from Australia, or England or
> Japan. I'd use my backyard clay if I could.
> t
> On Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 9:15 AM, mel jacobson <melpots2 at visi.com> wrote:
>> i think most folks here on clayart are fully aware
>> of how clay body affects glaze surface, color and
>> quality.
>> i have written many times on how rhodes 32 is a
>> total washout on gray or light colored stoneware.
>> ( i have received nasty letters from folks who think
>> i held back information on that `crappy` rhodes 32.)
>> it needs the iron bearing clay to make it come alive.
>> dave shaner was the author of rhodes 32, and he was
>> looking for a glaze that would let the color under burn through.
>> and, that is just how the glaze works.  and great for colored
>> slips on the pot.  ( i talked to dave about the glaze years back.
>> i thanked him for the glaze...and we found out we were the same
>> age, taught jr. high the same years and saved all the scrap
>> amaco red clay from school and mixed it with fire clay to make
>> our own stoneware....and, it was red.  funny story)  dave was one
>> of the really great potters of our time...and a real fellow.
>> many of us have written and warned
>> folks that glazes do not travel well.  you know,
>> `your experience may vary`.
>> tom turner makes great pots, with great glazes.
>> you are not going to copy him.  his work is far too complex.
>> so, yes he says things like `on my clay.`  it really means
>> `go ahead and try...you won't get it`.
>> and, it is really hard to give away a recipe and then
>> have to include a twenty paragraph story as to how
>> it is used, fired and constructed.
>> when i want a very bright red to purple glaze
>> to pop on platters, i make sure that i slip the
>> surface of the platter with porcelain 4x25.  the
>> color change is amazing.  however, often the
>> dark clay color of my natural clay body is just
>> fine for most red.  it is just different.
>> when you buy a ready made clay body from
>> a local manufacturer, it may take several years
>> of experiments to get the right combination of
>> clay and glaze.  you sure cannot depend on recipes
>> from a book that you `think` sound just right.  and when
>> you find a really nice base glaze that you like...nurse it and
>> build on it.  make it your own standard glaze.  and, that will
>> take years, and many firings.
>> terrance brings up such a good point.
>> there are so many variables...kiln, clay, timing
>> and thickness that make any glaze different for you.
>> it is amazing that when i had tom buck analyze the near fifty
>> shino recipes from malcom davis....it was really only two glazes.
>> yes....2.  they were all the same, but different names on them.
>> and, i bet that would be true of thousands of recipes across
>> the world.  basic stuff...silica, potash, and alumina.  just in
>> different combinations.
>> how basic is the bernard leach 1234???  i am sure that
>> is an old japanese standard...hundreds of years old.
>> how could you name that?  it was in his book, so it got
>> his name.
>> it was the first glaze recipe i ever made for cone 10.  it has served
>> me well my entire life as a potter.  glassy, works all the time and
>> is a base for many colors.  standard stuff.
>> i think i am with terrance.  we name glazes to keep track of them.
>> you could use a number system like kurt did...RF24.
>> it means `river falls glaze 24 in the list of glazes he kept at school.`
>> he had PL for pidgeon lake, HC for hay creek.  he kept a log
>> of hundreds of glazes. charted them all.  added notes in the book
>> about each fired.  he was a note taker, chart maker.
>> i joke that as kurt was on his last living breath, he felt guilty that
>> he did not get that last chart finished to perfection.
>> me, not so much. four or five standards with variations.  and
>> i know that rhodes 32 with tan and blue variations has made me
>> a ton of money. it still goes out the door first from adult buyers.
>> young buyers run for the pete's red.  add a soft blue to that and
>> they swooon.
>> so.
>> good topic.
>> mel
>> from: minnetonka, mn
>> website: http://www.visi.com/~melpots/
>>  clayart link:  http://www.visi.com/~melpots/clayart.html
>> new book: http://www.21stcenturykilns.com
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