Leslie Ihde on sat 11 may 02
I haven't been on this list for some years, and coming back, I am glad
to see several of the same generous teachers on the list.
I have been using a tile clay from Miller ceramics, now taken over by
Laguna. It matures at cone 6 and it is terrible. I need a
recommendation for a good tile clay available in the northeast USA which
is appropriate for outdoor use. I prefer low fire, but that may be a
mistaken direction to take. The tile will be in an outdoor pool which
will be drained and covered during the winter.
Thanks for any advice.
Turning Point Pottery Studio
Snail Scott on sat 11 may 02
At 06:32 AM 5/11/02 -0400, you wrote:
>[need]... a good tile clay available in the northeast USA which
>is appropriate for outdoor use. I prefer low fire, but that may be a
>mistaken direction to take. The tile will be in an outdoor pool which
>will be drained and covered during the winter.
I would totally avoid anything absorbent for this.
Even if the pool is drained in winter, it's had all
summer to soak up moisture, which will still be
present when the freeze starts. There may be a
low-fire commercial clay which will work for this,
but I don't know of one. Ask your local supplier
what clays are used by other artists for similar work
in your climate.
William Hendry on sun 12 may 02
As someone else has already implied, the issue here is absorbtion; and
absorbtion is about vitrification point. As a general rule, high fire clays
vitrify more fully at high firing temperatures than low fire clays at low
temps. That said, there are some exceptions to the rule. Since you have
asked about clay's available in the Northeast, I'd check out the "Dense
Brown Low Fire Vitreous" body offered by Ceramic Supply of NY & NJ
(www.7ceramic.com) It is an 06/04 body that has about 3% absorbtion at c04.
They say it handles well for slab building but as I have not personally used
this clay I don't know how it performs as a tile body. In the catalog they
don't say whether it has any grog but you can check that out.
How much absorbtion can you get away with? I'm not sure of that answer and
I'd like to hear some other opinions on that. But, from my experience, I can
say that, so far, 4% absorbtion works well outside in North Carolina
winters. However, I usually use a mid fire heavily grogged body for outside
tile work though that has, at c4 a 2.4% absorbtion. In your situation
though your tile will be heavily exposed to water a good bit of the year and
so absobtion is going to be a critical issue for you. And despite what some
might say, I personally would not rely on glaze to make a high absorbtion
body impervious as any future crazing will defeat that scheme.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Leslie Ihde"
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 6:32 AM
Subject: tile clay for outdoors
> I haven't been on this list for some years, and coming back, I am glad
> to see several of the same generous teachers on the list.
> I have been using a tile clay from Miller ceramics, now taken over by
> Laguna. It matures at cone 6 and it is terrible. I need a
> recommendation for a good tile clay available in the northeast USA which
> is appropriate for outdoor use. I prefer low fire, but that may be a
> mistaken direction to take. The tile will be in an outdoor pool which
> will be drained and covered during the winter.
> Thanks for any advice.
> Leslie Ihde
> Turning Point Pottery Studio
> Send postings to firstname.lastname@example.org
> You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
> settings from http://www.ceramics.org/clayart/
> Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at
Leslie Ihde on sun 12 may 02
You're right, I should ask the supplier. I don't have much contact with
other potters because of my schedule. Thanks for the thoughts. By the
way, how did you come by your intriguing name?
On Saturday, May 11, 2002, at 12:11 PM, Snail Scott wrote:
Stephani Stephenson on mon 13 may 02
ask about clays with 4% absorption or less at the temp you want.
Some low fire bodies have fluxes such as frit added to them to provide
However, nothing compares with testing the clay yourself , as there are
so many variables.For example, a clay with low absorption may
not have the handling properties you want.
Also you can try firing some of the low fire bodies a little hotter.
Take the raku and 06 bodies up a few cones.
Ask you supplier if they have data on that for different bodies.
A few years ago I ordered some clay 'samplers' from my supplier.
Basically you get 5 lbs each of many different clays. There is a raku
sampler and samplers for buff clays, sculpture clays etc.
I tried them all, as that was the only way I could get a feel for each
clay. Many were quickly eliminated because of color, shrinkage, warping,
cracking on drying, glaze response, etc.
Of the remaining clay bodies there was a vast difference in absorption
even in clays with the same firing range.
So I would start there.
Another option, and I do not know your work, so this may or may not be
appropriate.... is to buy a commercial tile, which is tested and
appropriate for the climate, and do some glaze testing on that.
The application you discuss: tile for a pool in a northern climate, is
one of those applications that will really test, really push your
product. It is truly difficult to know where the line is, especially if
you are just starting out and don't have the advantage of knowing that
'the pool you did 15 years ago in upstate NY is still in great
Especially at low fire. I would certainly try to get up to cone 04, at
the very least, if not 03, 02, or even better, cone 2,3.
Unless you have used and tested your tile and glazes in a similar
situation, it is really quite impossible to tell your client, with
confidence, that it will work. So if you do this, do some research, do
some tests, and find a temperature, a clay and a glaze, that gives you