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low fire clay and weird firing

updated mon 19 sep 11


Stephani Stephenson on sat 17 sep 11

Deb, i'm not sure which clay EM200 is. i can't find it in the Laguna cata=

Deborah Thuman on sat 17 sep 11

Here at NMSU in Las Cruces, there are students swearing at (not by)
the low-fire laguna clays. Glaze popping off, cracking, not behaving
well. My take: this is not a real good time to buy Laguna low fire.

Several years ago, I discovered NM Clay had a "house" brand that was
comparable to Laguna EM200. Cheaper, and best of all - I LOVE using
this clay. Feels better to me. Nice for hand building. Lovely bright
white so the glazes pop. That would be the glaze color pops - the
glaze stays nicely on the pot. Bisque to 06 and grad students
(undergrad students don't do their own firing) were glaze firing to
03. That was because the class clay is an obnoxious shade of orange so
over firing was needed to turn the clay brown. And no, changing the
recipe didn't occur to anyone. That's when I started buying my own
clay and doing my own firing. Much nicer results.

Anyway.... it appears that Laguna has been tinkering with the formulas
for the low fire glazes and there are many folks who are not real
happy about that.

My suggestion to the unhappy potter with the weird firing schedule
suggested by laguna is this: go to your supplier and ask questions.
See if your supplier has "house" brands of clay. Buy 2-3 different
house low fire clays. Buy the bags one at a time if you are worried
about forgetting what you are using. How does each clay handle for
you? How does each clay feel to you? How does each clay work with the
glazes you've purchased? You may be surprised to find that the "house"
brand is a better choice for you.

As always, individual mileage may, and undoubtedly will, vary.

Deb Thuman