Advantages of a clay body made from Plainsman Native Materials
Selected for Pottery
Plainsman Native Materials are specifically selected for pottery body applications. We are in the pottery and sculpting clay business and our experience and materials development are primarily focused in these directions. Raw materials are generally intended for other purposes and have to be "force fit" to pottery. For example, of all the kaolins and feldspars produced, most are used for paint, paper, rubber, fillers, cosmetics, plastic etc., far less than 1% are used for pottery! When these materials are mined, tested and manufactured, maintainance of the unique properties required for pottery consistency of recieve much less attention.
The potter who mixes his own clay using industrial materials is faced with a constant "tightrope act", balancing feldspar against kaolin and flint, guarding against over-correcting with iron oxide and talc, struggling to achieve a particle size distribution, etc. Most materials are useless by themselves, and each, if inconsistent, can change the mix dramatically. By contrast, Plainsman Native Materials are "almost complete". Each can be mixed with water and used quite successfully, or at least "tolerably".
A body made from such "balanced materials" is also balanced, its formula is not "touchy" and volatile, it is stable and much less likely to suffer change if any of the ingredients experience variations. In bodies made from industrial materials, usually one material supplies color, another supplies the plasticity, another the maturity and another the texture. In a body made from balanced materials, all of the materials contribute color, plasticty, maturity, a distribution of particle sizes etc to the mix. This minimizes the overall effect of slight variations in any one material, producing a much more stable body.
Bodies made from balanced raw materials are easy to formulate and adjust. There are no eutectics, it is not a "black art" because a mix of any two materials does exactly what you would expect it to do. It's logical and simple. The results you will get are very predictable and, therefore, mixing using the Plainsman method is generally a matter of fine tuning a clay body to your exact needs after one or two preliminary trials. Another advantage is that you don't have to use red iron oxide any more, Plainsman st ained native materials like Firered and Redstone, have natural iron that is much cleaner to work with.
Plainsman Native Materials are "natural products" and they are high in silica and fluxes. This means you'll seldom need to use pure silica flour, nepheline syenite, feldspar or other industrial minerals. Plainsman Native Clays provide natural, safer sources of the oxides needed, and they are ground only as fine as necessary to produce good glazed results, but coarse enough to give superior density, strength and safety of use.
Plainsman Native Materials are unique in North America and lend themselves to the creation of unique clay bodies.
Proven Clays and Company
Plainsman Native Materials have been used for many years in the production of pottery bodies and have proven successful and ideally suited to this. Plainsman has had many years of experience in all aspects of stoneware clay prospecting, mining, formulation, adjustment and quality control.
Our bodies are made from limitless supplies of quality clay beneath the prairies. We stockpile and age thousands of tons of 15 raw clays, at quarries in Montana, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Plainsman Clays can offer complete lab services to its customers to help develop any custom clay body, using Native and refined materials. These services include computerized ASTM testing of 10 standard properties and all types of ceramic calculations to help adjust your glazes and clay bodies.
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