Ahhh plasticity! It’s the property of clay that got us hooked on clay in the first place. Caused by just the right mixture of water and particle size, plasticity is what transforms dry cracky clay (like in the image to the left) into a workable material. Plasticity separates clay from dirt. In today’s post, an excerpt from the second edition of Understanding Ceramic Raw Materials: Ceramic Glaze Materials and Clay Making Ingredients (the second, expanded edition of which is available as a free download now!), we learn all about this magical characteristic.
There are probably as many kinds of clay as there are riverbanks, creekbeds, roadcuts, abandoned coal mines and backyard gullies, but most of the clays that many of us use on a regular basis are commercially mined.
Today, in an excerpt from our new free download Making the Switch from Cone 10 to Cone 6 Ceramic Glaze Recipes: A Little Knowledge of Ceramic Glaze Chemistry and Raw Materials Goes a Long Way,
Bill Schran shares the secrets to getting great crystalline surfaces at the cone 6 firing temperature.
There is an abundance of clay in my area, and I have occasionally
thought about making work out of local clay. But the process seemed
intimidating, so I never actually tried it (or maybe it was a matter of
laziness!). But as Graham Sheehan demonstrates in today’s video clip,
the process is not all that difficult. It might not be practical for
everyone, but if you’re willing to do a little bit of manual labor,
digging your own clay can be a great way to create an even closer
connection to the work you make, and help lessen your carbon footprint
in the process. Watch the video!
It is especially true in the ceramics world that one person’s fault is another person’s fancy – especially when it comes to glaze “defects.” Many ceramic artists deliberately create faults in their glaze surfaces to achieve a particular aesthetic. But, of course, there are some cases in which a glaze must be perfect for reasons of safety or hygiene. So just in case glaze defects are driving you “craze-y” (sorry, I just couldn’t “resist”), today Robin Hopper gives some expert pointers on how to solve five of the most common pottery glaze problems (such as crawling, shown at left). – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
In today’s post, ceramic artist Dee Schaad presents a project that combines two simple handbuilding techniques – pinching and soft slab building – to make figurative sculptures.
The objective is to locate one single earth material that alone almost provides the desired surface, and then to add as few additional materials as possible. I call this primary material, which almost achieves the desired glaze surface, a “glaze core.”