Wednesday, August 29, 2012

testing mr. right

My mother asked me very casually the other day, "So, when are you going to start working with your new porcelain?" My mother had no idea that she just asked me the equivalent of, "So, when are you going to find Mr. Right and get married? Your eggs are getting old and no one is going to want you!" For the record, I already found Mr. Right and married him a long time ago, it's true that my eggs are getting old, and my mother has never, ever said anything to me about either, because she is a very good mother.

The pressure! For starters, I don't have a new porcelain yet. And like finding Mr. Right, you just can't go out and pick any old clay body, get into a kiln with it and hope things will work out.  I'm flirting with two porcelain clay bodies, getting to know them a little bit. One is called #550 porcelain. And no, that's not code, that's what it is really called. Not very romantic. Here is a test:


It was easy to throw and it did not crack or warp. If it were a guy I was dating, I would say he's pretty good-looking and has a job, but I don't know anything about his past relationships or if he has a sense of humor. I do know that this clay needs to be fired a lot higher than I usually fire to, and I'm not sure if I want to make the commitment to going to a whole new temperature.  That's like moving to a new city with a man I just met. So, a fun few dates, but I doubt it will really go anywhere.

The second clay body is supposed to be Laguna's answer to Limoges, called WC-617. Wow, what's up with these boring names? Again, easy to throw.  No obvious flaws right away. But I have a long-term relationship with many Laguna products, and they have a way of seducing you with their beauty and charm, and once you've fallen in love, showing you what a pain-in-the-ass they really are. So while I'm hopeful that this clay may be the one, I've also been burned many times by Laguna, so I am suspicious and gun-shy. 

Then there are the obvious losers, like Frost porcelain. It is marvelously transparent and white, in other words, really hot and sexy.  But that's all it has going for it, it's basically a fast-talking hustler. Frost is a clay that doesn't want to be a clay, and every step of the way it tries to fuck you in a bad way: it's almost impossible to throw, it cracks when it's wet, when it's dry. and during the firing. And, it dries so fast that you can't control it. Into the scrap bucket with you Frost, I know better than to date someone who doesn't really want to be in a relationship!

11 comments:

  1. Minnesota Clay makes some nice porcelains...... Good luck!!!!!

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  2. LAGUNA! lol. I thought it was just me for the longest time. So glad...well,not glad...to know it happens to other people.

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  3. Have you tried Matt & Dave's Clay's porcelain? I've heard great things about it. I ordered a sample, like, forever ago, and still haven't tried it out.

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  4. I love it... I have no answers just praise for your prose.

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  5. WC-617 aka Grolleg is wonderful! Expensive too. It fires to a creamy off white color.
    Laguna Frost is bright and beautiful but a pain. Very temperamental. Lots of cracking if not babied.
    Laguna also has a nice 50/50 porcelain/b-mix combo. I haven't tried it, but I've heard good things.

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  6. Whitney,
    As a newbie, I want your opinion. These Cone 5/6 "porcelains"- are they really porcelain or just a basic white stoneware? I've been using Amaco's for a few months. It's a little tricky for hand-building, but looks beautiful after firing and takes glazes well. It doesn't feel like porcelain, though, feels like stoneware.

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  7. Like Judi, I loved the story/analogy! I'm in a similar situation - my local ceramic supplier has become unreliable and I need to find a new clay body - both cone 6 and 10.

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  8. Marla, I'm not a major expert on porcelain, but it's been my experience that some of the lower fire porcelains do not have the same fine quality as the higher fire. If you don't like the feel of the one you are using now, I would suggest looking into some others. The Frost is a cone 6 porcelain, though I would not recommend it, does have a fine feel and a wonderful translucency.

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  9. Oh dear I hope you find your forever porcelain soon!

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  10. Great post...made me laugh...and cry...as I've just thrown my very first porcelain pot from.....Laguna's Frost! Okay...I've never done anything with it before other than roll it out and cut it into little shapes that look very pretty but I can't decide what to do with them. Tonight I thought I'd stop being such a chicken and thrown something. Hmmm...guess we'll see how it goes....I'll make a point of not getting too attached!

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  11. I've been using Helios with success but I've not really begun to test translucency and have been informed it is good at ^6 temps as well. Was looking for info on Frost. Great post. Finding the right clay is definitely like finding a partner.

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