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Pottery and Ceramics
It's All About The Clay

Listed below are articles letting you know about all the different characteristics and kinds of clay and how the different chemicals effect the clay when they are added and the different temperatures that they are fired at. Also if you would like to try digging your own clay the info here will help you be successful.



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All About The Clay

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All About The Clay
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Low Shrink Clay








Clay is the material that makes pottery and ceramics possible.
It was formed when feldspathic rocks disintegrated by the erosive forces of wind, rain, heat, cold, the movement of ice during the ice ages and organic acids acting on the clay particles as vegetation decayed.
Clay is made mostly of alumina, silica and water, along with smaller amounts of other materials.
The most important quality that distinguishes clay from other minerals and soil is plasticity.
Plasticity refers to the ability of the clay to take and hold the form that the potter gives it.
Clays that are easily molded without cracking are considered more plastic than those that will not bend easily.
Clay is plastic because its particles are flat and stick together like a pack of wet playing cards.
The particles slide and support each other when we manipulate the moist clay.
Clay in its moist state is often referred to as plastic.
Clay that is rigid, but not yet dry, is called leather-hard.
Completely dry clay is bone dry and clay objects which have dried are called greenware.
Objects which have been fired to a low temperature 1472˚ F to 1832˚ F are called bisqueware.

There are many different kinds of clays.
Some of the most commonly used are:

Kaolin

white, relatively non-plastic, vitrifies at very high temperatures.

Earthenware

various colors, usually plastic, matures at low temperatures but remains porous.

Stoneware

various colors, usually plastic, vitrifies at medium to high temperatures.

Ball Clay

buff color, very plastic, vitrifies at high temperature.

Fire Clay

buff to gray colors, non-plastic, vitrifies at very high temperatures.

Bentonite

buff to white, extremely plastic, meaning unworkable alone.

Because a particular kind of clay dug straight from the ground may not be plastic enough or may not be the color we want or may not mature at the temperature we want, we usually will combine different kinds of clays or add different materials to our clay.
These man made clays are called clay bodies.
The most commonly used clay bodies fall into one of the following categories:

Earthenware

-wide range of colors from white to dark brown, usually plastic, matures at low temperatures, but remains porous.

Stoneware

-various colors, usually plastic, vitrifies at medium to high temperatures.

Porcelain

-white, relatively non-plastic, vitrifies at high temperatures

Raku clay

-various colors, plastic, porous at a wide range of temperatures.
Raku clay is formulated to withstand thermal shock, which means extreme, abrupt changes in temperature.

Some people are like blisters...they don't show up until the work is done.



Tips - Definitions - Clay Projects - Pottery Gallery - Pottery Tools - Glazes - All About Clay

Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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