It's all about the mud

At least in part. Many of us look at a piece of pottery and we think about the end result color - typically the glaze or glazes that have been used. We may not give a great deal of thought about the clay body and what characteristics each clay has - both on the way the piece was created and how it plays with any glaze that was used.


I love trying new things. It is part of what I enjoy about my journey in pottery. I have tried several different types of clay - from porcelain to different stonewares. Each clay body will end up being somewhat different from the next (in some cases the difference can be extreme). We are all familiar with Porcelain...that creamy, smooth white that is used in the best of China. Stoneware can be anything from off-white to black. Shades of gray and cream seem to make up a lot of the stoneware available in my area, but living where I do...we also have several local clays that are higher in iron and fire to a medium or dark brown. I have even marbled some of the different clays to make up my own unique clay body to use for specific pieces that I wanted to make.


Most recently, I have found a claybody that fires to a very, very dark brown. It is wonderful to throw on the wheel with just enough "tooth" that it holds its shape nicely without being so full of sand and grit that I lose a layer or two of skin when I use it. When throwing it initially, it is a redish brown, when bisque fired it is way lighter in color, but when it goes through the glaze firing (Cone 10) it becomes a super dark, rich brown. It has just enough iron to make glazing fun.


So yes, for me...a big part of what I enjoy with my pottery is the mud...the feel, the look, how it works with glazes and ultimately the end result. Whether it is gray, white, marbled, red or black...the mud is what truly makes the piece (at least for me).


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