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dirty water/cone 6 claybody

updated sun 30 mar 03


julene on sat 29 mar 03

I am monitoring the firing of my electric kiln while I type so I have a bit
of time and would rally like to get some input on this. It is so good to
have contact with others that care about these type of things. People that
even think about these type of things.

Lili, good comment in CM. I was wondering if when you read the rest of the
magazine, what you thought of the link of the German influence with
Minnesota Nice? Seemed a bit ironic to me, but maybe history has been
rewriten when I wasn't paying attention. Might be a bit more boring though.

Since Lili mentioned the dirty water and I have time while monitoring the
kiln, before I go back to make some more test items to fire, I would
appreciate input on this. I live on sand. An inorganic, fine metal spotted
glacier sand. I use it in quantities of up to 20% in my recylcled clay. I
use a white boxed clay for my normal throwing and like to add the sand when
I recycle for a number of reasons.

The boxed clay is great, but when it is recylcled, it can get foreign
materials in it. It is hard to keep sand out of the clay anyway when it is
everywhere in the environment. By purposely adding it, one does not get the
unexpected bump. It also is so fine, that it improves the clay, adds some
color and character and helps with cracking.

So to get the sand, I just put it through a kitchen strainer with sufficient
water to wash it through. I actually enjoy seeing an occasional bit of
stone, because it makes me wonder what it is that made it survived the
glacier lake. There are no natural rocks on my property. Last summer, I
got the idea that the water may make a good colorant for a rutile-type
off-white glaze. I also tried it with my Albany slip glaze and a couple
others. The results were stunning. That was behind my comment on the
akalinity of the glazes. It seems to me that if one could control this
factor, it could be a worthwhile addition. I think that there are some
alkaline earths in the soil due to past burnings of the barrens. Isn't this
similar to the addition of soda ash or wood ash?

Now I want to mix up a Cone 6 clay that uses the sand directly instead of
starting with the recycled clay or boxed clay as I am now firing some work
after years of working with the same clay. I prefer this look in some
pieces to the pure fine partical midfire white or poser porcelain. It has
great metal spotting without adding granular manganese dioxide which is now
linked to health problems.

After doing some research on this I came up with the following recipe. One
thing I would like to be able to do is put bags of clay in a dry mixer
(packing barrel or composter), than measure and add in the smaller amounts.
That way I could dry mix it and only wet mix (with an aged clay additive)
that which was needed, as I don't have much heated storage (because of the

Proposed Beartrack Clay Cone 6

Spinks Champion White Ball 25
? Yellow Banks 401 (Fireclay) 25
EPK (Grolleg) 25
Talc 5
Nepheline Syenite 5
My sand 15

Imput on this would be greatly appreciated, as I am preparing to start
mixing as it gets warmer outside. I have chosen ingredients that are
available through my clay supplier without shipping costs. I am trying for
a clay similar to the one that I get by mixing sand with the boxed clay. I
want it to be little or no iron. This would also make it possible to
woodfire it when I get to that stage. Anyone else mixing up a Cone 6
iron-free clay?

Thank you,