|Monthly Tech-Tip |
Of all the pieces I make, ones like these mean the most to me. To make this cup I sieved a Plainsman 3D clay slurry to 325 mesh to produce a natural porcelain that vitrifies beyond the zero porosity point at cone 6, yielding incredibly strong ware. I make the outside and inside glazes from clays we mine in Montana and Alberta (using chemistry to maximize the clay percentage to more than 70%).
Plainsman Clays did 6 weeks of mining in June-July 2018 in Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan. We extracted marine sediment layers of the late Cretaceous period. The center portion of the B layer is so fine that it must have wind-transported (impossibly smooth, like a body that is pure terra sigillata)! The feldspar and silica are built-in, producing the glassiest surface I have ever seen at cone 6 (2200F). Despite this, pieces are not warping in the firings! I have not glazed the outside of this mug for demo purposes. I got away with it this time because the Ravenscrag clear glaze is very compatible (similar thermal expansion). But with other less compatible glazes they cracked when I poured in hot coffee. This mug was the beginning of an exciting project the sieve out +325 mesh particles any make many more pieces.
This is made from 100% of a natural clay (3B) from the Whitemud formation in Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan. To make this body, which I call MNP, I slake and slurry up the raw clay lumps, sieve it to 200 mesh and then dewater on a plaster table. I rolled the plastic clay into a thin layer, cut it into a cross-shape using a 3D printed cookie-cutter, drape-molded it over a plaster form and then slip-joined the seams. It fires very dense and strong (to zero porosity like glass!). It holds together well and joins well with its own slip. Although not super plastic, it is smooth and fine-grained like a commercial porcelain body. I add 1-2% bentonite to make it more plastic when needed. It has the ability to be rolled extremely thin and yet does not warp in the firing! This mug has a weight-to-volume ratio of 2.08 (the weight of water it will hold compared to its own weight).
Outside glaze is G2934Y black. Inside is 80% Albany clay and 20% Ferro Frit 3195, a really stunning glaze! I used the C6DHSC firing schedule. The body is a natural porcelain that vitrifies beyond the zero porosity point, producing incredibly strong ware. Yet it does not warp during firing.