Panopoly Creations

Rolling in Clay!

Not literally. I kind of wish. But no.

No, but yesterday I did have an opportunity to visit IMCO Ceramics. What’s great about this place versus your typical ceramic supply store, is that they mix all their own clay on site. There are bags of dry clay being carried around on forklifts in the parking lot. Their facility is massive; it looks like it used to be a dairy farm before they took it over in the 60s. It’s right on the railroad tracks on the outskirts of town, and it’s dusty with lots of faded signs, and it’s beautiful.

I am excited to really start gearing up for the holidays soon, so I took a big leap and bought 150 pounds of clay in three different varieties. This is a leap because I ‘ve been using the same 50 lb box of clay since April. But I am really hoping to start cranking out ware until I have arms like a lumberjack!

(Lumberjack tee, by timberps)

I’m not very happy with the clay I’ve been using–Laguna’s B-Mix with Sand. It doesn’t shrink a lot, and is very reliable, but it’s hard for me to work with. This is partially my fault; I asked the advice of the salesperson at my local ceramics store, and told her I was handbuilding. It is true that I handbuilt all my work and never use a wheel, but my work is small and so it doesn’t need all the extra support that large handbuilt work often does. So I have moved on and gotten some new clays:

Firstly, some porcelain. In the near future, I’m hoping to be making most of my pendants from the porcelain, as well as, probably, my buttons and beads. Porcelain is such a fine, smooth clay, and very strong, but it’s also notoriously hard to work with. We shall see–I’ve never used it before!

I also got something similar to my current clay, only with less grog. (Grog is basically sand, used to strengthen the wet clay). I’m hoping it will be a good standard clay for me, when I don’t need anything special.

And lastly–the one I’m perhaps most excited about–I got some gorgeous dark red clay. Sort of a darker version of terra cotta. I cannot wait to see how my glazes look on this stuff!

All in all, it was a very successful trip, and I briefly spoke to the head honcho there, who told me he might give a tour of the facility if I can get a group together! So many fun things to work on and think about…I don’t know where to begin!