Welcome to my blog. I will attempt to make it much more than just a pitiful list of the relentlessly mundane minutiae of my daily existence but if you feel that I have failed try to imagine all the stuff that I haven't posted.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Smashing fossils!

Working on my own it's a bit difficult to get some video or more informative photos done - but hopefully next week....
Taking advantage of the milder weather I've been outside getting various clays prepared for the next wood firing. It's certainly not as easy as opening a bag of readymix and slapping it on the wheel. Most of the clays I have collected are highly compressed, one is literally a rock and needs ball milling. Most need persistant repeated crushing and slaking, such as this one here.

This I collected from Devon and is essentially a secondary kaolin derived from the Dartmoor granite. The black marking in it is a fossilised plant that was trapped in the clay deposits about 30 million years ago in the Oligocene period of the Tertiary.
The clay is highly kaolinitic, with chunks of coal and quartz in it, with yellow strata of iron in it as you can see here. Interestingly for me it is highly refractory, unlike many of the Devon ball clays. Nothing is easy in ceramics though, and after all the crushing, slaking, pounding and making, it is extremely prone to firecracks. If it survives it is beautiful in the wood kiln though.

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