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Trying Out Black Clay

​As I like working with strong graphic contrasts of black and white it only makes sense the try out a black clay not just search for a perfect white clay. So, I've got myself a little sample bag from Valentine Clays. Firstly, black clay is really red when wet and very, very, VERY messy! But because of the extra grog it has quite a lot of internal stability and is nice to do pinch pots with.

I think adding areas of white will give me a good opportunity to vary my decorative style. As my work tends to be very controlled I like to introduce some controlled 'accidents'. I only have limited control when pouring white slip over these black clay pots. You cannot fuss around but have to commit. Once the white is on, I may carve into it. But it will offer me something extra to work with and against.

Here are three of the pots in the kiln waiting to be bisque fired.

I've decided to cover the pots with a decoration which continues over the white and black areas but change from white on black to black on white.

I'm still using my Pueblo inspired patterns on the four pots. Here they are after their second bisque firing, which sets the underglazes. I have also introduced a third colour, orange, to two of the pots to vaguely mimicking the Pueblo use of brown along with white and black. Now I just need to decide how to glaze them, i.e. with a clear matt or shiny glaze, entirely or just partially or even just to retire them without a glaze. I will do some more thinking and some more tests.

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