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Which clay should I buy?
There are three main firing ranges:
Earthenware - Low fire
Earthenware is fired at lower temperatures, usually around 1000-1100°C. At this temperature the clay remains porous but the glaze will adhere to the surface. It is often used for decorative pieces or traditional storage vessels. It’s not recommended for functional ware, and to be honest, we don’t recommend you use it unless you’re quite experienced.
This is the most common temperature range for industrial ceramics, around 1200-1240°C. It’s what we use in the studio, and is increasingly the range of choice for potters as you can get a great variation of colors in your glazes. The clays that we use are Keanes Midfire 33 for single classes in handbuilding and wheel, and Keanes Midfire 6 for wheel courses. We use White Raku for handbuilding courses, fired to a midfire temperature.
Stoneware - Highfire
Traditionally, stoneware is the potter’s choice for functional pieces, although there has been a shift in recent years. It’s firing range is 1260-1300°C. It’s a very durable clay, and if fired to correct temperatures is non-porous, and chip resistant.
Want something really white and super fine? Porcelain is your go to. Want something that is entirely unforgiving, will crack, warp, and break your heart? Also porcelain. If you’re a beginner, we don’t recommend it.
This clay is the bee’s knees. You can fire at pretty much any temperature. It’s great for handbuilding, large or small, and ideal for beginners. It comes in a wide range of colors. The secret to its stability and forgiving nature, is its high grog content (pre-fired chunks of clay which act like tiny building blocks). You can throw with it if you’re brave enough, but is is very rough.
A note on underglazes
Underglazes go on first, at either the greenware or after the first firing (bisqueware). Glazes go on bisqueware, after the first firing. If you have a midfire clay, you need a midfire glaze. If you have stoneware clay, you need a stoneware glaze. You can’t mix and match. We don’t stock earthenware glazes.