Clay Chat #3 Q&A session

 Clay Chat #3 28 November 

Some members of the CAQ board presented an informal Q&A session at the Butter Factory Arts Centre on the closing day of the Siliceous Award for Ceramic Excellence. This was attended by a few local pottery enthusiasts who had some great pottery questions for the board as well as some questions that were emailed in beforehand. 

 Q: What suggestions do you have for packaging ceramics?

  • Ideally, suspend the pieces within the box
  • Create a firm bubble of packaging (be it bubble wrap, paper, corrugated paper etc) around the piece so it is not in contact with the box
  • Consider insuring the piece to ship it
  • If you can’t drop kick the box – repack it!

Q: Are there glazes to use that will not leave cutlery marks?

  • It is in fact the metal from the cutlery leaving the marks not the glaze being scratched
  • You can use something like Jiff to remove the marks
  • Using a dense clay and a smooth glaze will reduce the amount of cutlery marks
  • Having a good clay/glaze fit is beneficial
  • Liquid Quartz product may reduce marking as it fills the spaces with nano particles

Q: What advice do you have to reduce your environmental footprint?

  • There are many small ways you can reduce your impact on the environment such as: recycling your clay, water, clay bags
  • Only fire your kiln when it’s full
  • Research your options, there are many potters who have written work on this topic such as Steve Harrison and Dr Wendy Gers and you can do a search on the Facebook Australian Ceramics Forum Group, Ayumi Horie is a US potter who throws without water
  • research carbon offsets
  • If you have the option, use solar power to fire your kiln
  • Consider installing a clay trap for your studio sink
  • Consider firing to mid fire temperatures instead of high fire to reduce the consumption of gas or electricity

Q: How can you change the colour of your clay?

  • Add oxides
  • Add body stains
  • Add dark clay to white clay

These suggestions were offered with many other considerations:

  • Some oxides act as a flux and will alter both the colour and the maturing temperature of the clay
  • To obtain a black clay body often requires more than one oxide (like manganese, iron, cobalt)
  • Up to 25% earthenware can be added to stoneware and taken to SW temperatures
  • Body stains do not act as fluxes as they contain fritted materials and are neutral
  • All of these suggestions need to be thoroughly tested and recorded to ensure consistency


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“A Sentence of Teapots” 2014 Photo: Richard Stringer

members of the CAQ Board 2021 

The final Clay Chat session for the year held at the Butter Factory Arts Centre, Cooroy, Qld