Monday, September 14, 2009

New Clay on the Block

Suppliers Minerco have started importing from the U.K. firm Pottertycrafts [who used to be Podmores when Robin had his clay made by them,affectionately known as "Poddies" ]. I asked them to get some of a clay I sampled many years ago,and remembered as the best throwing clay I had come across,and it has duly arrived. It's [now] called Earthstone Special,and is meant for salt firing,so next up in the studio will be a batch for the salt kiln. What's a good throwing clay? " You'll know one when you find it" is the annoying answer - another would be: forgiving [especially in Elul], resilient,amenable,with inner strength,'tooth' and flexibility. Those are all wheel characteristics- the firing brings in another bunch [warpage,proneness to cracking,glaze fit,colour,reaction to atmospheres] and then we'd also like it to be cheap,but you can't have everything. Hamada claimed the Mashiko clay wasn't particularly good- but,as Sydney says,every clay does something and much of our work is finding out just what that is. It's certainly true that you learn much more from difficult clays,the extreme example,of course,being my beloved poprcelain,which I think of as "the Teacher with the Big Stick".


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