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Paper Clay is any clay body with paper pulp added, and paper pulp does incredible things to clay!

Working with paper clay

The addition of paper pulp to clay distributes extremely fine paper fibers throughout the body that serve two basic functions:

It creates a strong but flexible INTERNAL STRUCTURE in the clay and also creates a kind of honey comb structure that transfers moisture easily and evenly throughout the clay.
The slabs of paper clay are incredibly strong and even the extra thin slabs will fold, bend and drape without tearing, and even the large thick forms hold up under their own weight.

Greenware rewets easily and evenly allowing you to rework, alter and add new clay at any stage of dryness and you can build an armature and allow it to dry as a support for your sculpture that doesn't need to be removed for firing.

Moisture wicks-out of paper clay so evenly that pieces can be force dried with excellent results and even pieces with large protrusions hold their shape.

Greenware that is even bone dry is unbelievably strong and easy to handle and transport if necessary .
Make paper clay into putty consistency to repair cracks in greenware or to construct forms out of previously made pieces.
You may even repair or add to already fired bisque.
Refire pieces after making alterations for best results, but be careful not to fire the piece at too high of temperature, because once the piece is fired, the fiber structure burns out and slumping may occur if the base clay is over-fired.
Bisque firing paper clay will produce a smoking period while the paper fiber burns out, kilns must be well vented!

The burn out of the paper fibers results in a much lower fired weight especially in large scale works and the resulting honey combed structure gives improved thermal shock properties to most paper clay pieces.
In the store bought paper clay, a preservative is added to prevent excessive mold-growth due to the paper content.

Some paper clay is mixed differently and can be used for throwing and sculpting, but it will be difficult to trim because the fibers will get caught in most trimming tools.

Below is the difference in shrinkage and absorption figures between the regular and the most popular all purpose low fire talc body clay usually used for throwing and modeling.
It fires very white paper clay, and the addition of the paper fibers greatly improves its sculptural properties and makes it well suited to Raku fire also.

Fire to Cone 04

Wet to Dry Shrinkage

7.0 percent

Total Shrinkage

10.5 percent

Absorption

17.0 percent

A smooth mid range stoneware was originally designed for throwing and contains no coarse grog or fireclay.
The addition of 5 percent 110 mesh silica sand in the original formula allowed this clay to be used to hand build on a small scale.
The addition of paper pulp makes it ideal for sculptural work by improving its building and drying properties without changing its clean surface.
It still fires to a lovely creamy white when fired to Cone 6 as well as keeping glaze colors bright and true.

Fired to Cone 6

Wet to Dry Shrinkage

6.5 percent

Total Shrinkage

13.8 percent

Absorption

5.5 percent

Sandstone which is a super throwing clay with a small amount of fireclay and 5 percent of 30x80 mesh grog, but with the addition of paper pulp, is an excellent sculpture body.
It is best suited for large scale work due to its combination of clays, grog content and fibers.
It fires a stoney grey in a reduction firing and a lighter grey in a oxidation firing.

Fired to Cone 10

10

Wet to Dry Shrinkage

6.5 percent

Total Shrinkage at (oxidation)

15.5 percent

Total Shrinkage at (reduction)

16.0 percent

Absorption at (oxidation)

7.0 percent

Absorption at (reduction)

5.5 percent

If each of us would sweep our own steps, the whole world would be clean.



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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