Monday, January 7, 2013

Local Clay

My view from the wood trailer
 Some girls can be swooned with chocolate. Show me a bank of clay and I'm in heaven. While cutting firewood over the past few days I've had the opportunity to scavenge some local clay. There are two colors in the area around our farm.
The burnt orange clay
Many places have a rich red clay, but that is not to be found on our farm, or in the area much for that matter. The first layer of clay is a burnt orange color, I'm thinking it is going to be an earthenware, but may make for a great glaze. It is pretty short to play with (meaning it's not a real friendly clay to throw on the wheel), but also very smooth once you get the quartz pebbles out. I'm putting a bit aside to try as a slip.
The gray-white clay
The second color of clay is a bright whitish gray. It is below the layer of orange clay and sometimes has streaks of the orange running through it. I threw a blob of it on the wheel this afternoon, and aside from the raking on my hands from the quartz in it, it threw really well and was rather plastic (flexible, able to pull up well on the wheel). There is a TON of quartz EVERYWHERE around our farm, and I'm not talking about the rocks of quartz. The term "sandy loam" definitely applies to our farm, but the sand is a quartz sand. The entire surface after a rain has a fine dusting of quartz everywhere. I'm really hoping there might be a chance this white clay is a stoneware. Prior to buying the farm we almost did not get a site approved for a septic tank because of the clay on the property. Luckily, a septic site was found, but we have a lot of this white and orange clay on our farm. I doubt I would make a lot of pots from the clay, but it's an exciting prospect!

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