Benefits of a Earthenware Clay

Published: 24th November 2008
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Even though clay is a naturally occurring material and you could use it right out of the ground, we usually use a combination of those materials blended together via a recipe in order to create a clay body with a specific set of properties. All clays have pros and benefits and are used for a wide range of applications. In this article, I am going to take a colder look at the different clays used in ceramics. Specifically, I'll be discussing the benefits of low-fire clay used in making handmade pottery.

Earthenware clays, or low-fire clays, were some of the earliest clays used by potters, and it is the most common type of clay found. These clays are easily worked and can be sticky. Earthenware clays contain iron and other mineral impurities which cause the clay to reach its optimum hardness at between 1745 degrees and 2012 degrees Fahrenheit.

One benefit of low-fire clays is that the energy and time to fire the kiln is only a fraction of what it is for other types of clay. Another benefit is that the choice of brilliant colors available for earthenware is beautiful. Another advantage of low-fire clays is the stability in the kiln and warping is a minor concern. Low fire clay is also very consistent; there is usually room for some mishaps when firing without a huge impact on outcome.

In summary, I have to say that low fire clay is an excellent choice. It has served me very well in making my soy candles and soap dishes. It is extremely easy to use, great for throwing and manipulation when you compress and pull clay for making pottery pieces. It also does very well for hand built pottery. I also like the wide range of choices of glazes that can be used, offering vibrant reds and other bright glaze colors. Plus the energy cost savings associated with a low fire clay are huge if you own your own kiln such as I do.

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