The beach clay pots are in progress, and I am trying to possess myself in patience and retard their drying to a suitable slowness.  This is difficult, as they are completely in the way, all over the kitchen – the conservatory would risk them drying too fast, or unevenly if the sun caught them on one side.

Some of them have cracked anyway, but on this occasion I don’t think it is my lack of patience.  The three are all made from the same batch of yellowish-grey clay, which is a 100% failure rate for this particular clay body.  Lucky it wasn’t one of the larger batches.  I shall not recycle the clay and try again; if it won’t do a slow dry without cracking, I can’t imagine it firing successfully either.

I’ve had some odd things posted to me by various nearests and dearests; this has to be one of the oddest.


2 responses »

  1. Interesting. I guess the clay wasn’t too short, otherwise it wouldn’t have thrown so sweetly. The opposite maybe – an excess of fines? I’m just guessing though. I’ve never used beach clay, but ‘garden’ clay has always been robust and successful for me. Was the clay dried then slaked with fresh water, or used as was? Any way that saltiness could have had an effect (but you’ve used beach clay before I seem to remember)?

    • Hello Pete.
      I soaked the clays down to slop and washed them in a couple of changes of water to reduce any saltiness, hoping to protect the kiln elements, but I wouldn’t have thought salt would affect the drying process much, anyway – I’ve not had this drying problem before. The yellow/grey clay didn’t feel especially different (though each batch is different from the others). Not as exciting as one clay I had a few years back – it made up and dried fine, but then the pots I made with it exploded and went on exploding in the kiln until they had blown themselves into a thousand tiny fragments. Luckily the other pots in the firing were unharmed. Think there must have been shale oil or something similar in that clay. I can’t really learn from experience, because the clays presented at the toes of the landslips are different every time, so it’s pure play.

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