May 31, 2011

Testing Testing 1 2 3: Matt & Dave's Clay

Matt & Dave's Flop

Recently there has been a new brand of clay available from New York state, with promises of being the "the greatest clays on earth" they definitely had high hopes inspired in us all. Purported to be castable, non warping and easy to use, it sounded fantastic. The casting slip and block clay are chemically similar, so one could cast a form from slip, and add on a hand pulled handle without the usual failure from mismatched clay bodies.

Unfortunately, we have found the clays to be quite unsatisfactory, with extreme iron speckling, unreachable maturity points and an impossible glaze fit situation. The clay bodies for cone 4-7 seem unvitrified, porous and chalky when fired to a heavy cone six, nothing like a heavenly smooth porcelain. Both clays also seem to have a glaze fit un-matchable by any known glaze, with extreme crazing that renders it not suitable for functional ceramics.

Great to cast with, these cones set in great time, and where a dream to remove from their plaster mold. They casted up extremely fast and retained great form without warping during drying or firing. The speckling and extreme crazing, unfortunately, ruin these great forms.

Above and below are samples showing the heavy iron speckling, unglazed above and glazed below in a usually great clear cone six glaze.

Ceramics is always a battle between materials and ideas, and I'm sure it is terribly hard to manufacture a new age of ceramic materials, but Matt and Dave's have sure fallen short for our studio. We had dreams pure white porcelain and translucency with great workablilty, one day perhaps we will.

If any one has any experience with these bodies, we'd like to hear from you.

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