This week I have been experimenting with a new clay. I love the feel of working with porcelain but I would really like to reduce the amount of warp which I get in large pieces so I thought I would have a go with some molochite grogged porcelain. I confess that the jury is well and truly out over this one. It came out of the bag wet and floppy but when I left it to dry for a bit it became rather fractious and crumbly. It was a beast to build with – it felt horrible to the touch and did not really want to join to the found materials at all. I have gone large because that is, after all, the point and I am going to fire to at least 1230 to see how it behaves but I will certainly need a lot of convincing!
yesterday, at a get together of the Diploma students we were talking about clay as you do at 10:30 on a Friday evening, and a number of my contemporaries have also been having a go with a few new clays. There were some very favourable reports of a white stoneware/porcelain blend from some and so that might be the next one to try but in the meantime, I am open to suggestions – how do you get a lovely smooth, workable clay with the qualities of porcelain but without the warping?
Porcelain is a notoriously finnicky creature. It will crack and warp as soon as you look at it sideways! The unique qualities of porcelain are the whiteness and translucency. You pay for that with its cantankerous nature, and now that the lovely white & plastic Gulgong clay is no more, Porcelains will probably be even harder to manage!
So now we all need to ask ourselves WHY we want to use Porcelain, which qualities are essential to what I am trying to achieve and how can I get this effect using a different clay and technique?
For example, a midfire clay may get you the whiteness and stability but not the translucence, and burnishing could give you the smoothness you’re after. There will be lots of exploring throughout the Clay community this year!
Hi Bridget, I didn’t realise that you weren’t in Australia, so the mention of the Gulgong clay will make no sense whatsoever. The ideas, luckily are still valid. If you are interested in what’s been going on in Australia, i have written a post on Facebook which explains it very neatly.
Go to walkerceramicsaustralia on Facebook and the post is dated Sept 7.
Hope it’s not too freezing over there!
Thanks for your comments Winterdesigns. I will take a look at your FB page and try to keep the exploration going.