The Clay

 
 

There is a reason for North Carolina's long pottery tradition. It's the same reason that there are so many potters working in this state today—the place is loaded with beautiful clays.

The clay I use is a blend of four different North Carolina clays. Each of these clays has a unique quality:

One is very plastic, meaning it is very nice to work with—you can stretch it thin and make big fat bellies with it.

One has a higher iron content, so it adds a nice color to the fired clay body.

One has a high percentage of alumina, which helps the clay body withstand high temperatures in the wood firing, without warping or deforming.

And the final one is beautiful in salt firing—there is something about it that makes it take the salt glaze really well—though on its own it is horrible to throw with though.

It has been a fabulous experience getting to play around with different local North Carolina clays, and making my own clay body with Stillman Browning-Howe (my fellow apprentice at the Hewitt Pottery). Several people have been very helpful in this process; Takuro Shibata at StarWORKS, Fred Johnson down in Seagrove and Mark Hewitt, of course, who has been very generous with his knowledge, materials,  and equipment!