How to choose the right clay for you....

With so many options currently in the market, whether you are a beginner or professional Potter choosing the right clay can be a difficult decision. Over the past 30 years we have worked directly with the studio potter community formulating and fine tune clays using the best possible ingredients. This close working relationship has enabled us to identify 7 key areas that should be considered when making your decision.

1. Firing range of your kiln

The firing range of your kiln should be the first consideration for any potter, as this will determine which type of clays you will be able to use. Lower temperature kilns are more suitable to earthernwares where as higher temperature kilns can accommodate porcelains and stonewares. The glaze you use with your chosen clay body is also affected by the temperature of your kiln.

2. Application you plan to use

The type of work that you intend to create is also an important factor when considering the most appropriate clay. What methods you choose to use whether it will be thrown, handbuilt, sculptured or modelled will dictate this in the same way the end use of ornamental, inside or outside use, functional, domestic or oven to tableware will.

3. Size of your work

Another key area is the size of work you plan to create, larger pieces often require a more heavily grogged clay where as smaller pieces of work can require more plasticity.

4. Texture you would like to create

Texture of the clay body you choose is equally as vital when identifying the best clay for use. The feel and look of the ceramic piece you are creating is affected by the amount of grogg within the clay body. No grogg will result in a smooth polished finish, a fine grogg will give some strength and stability, or by increasing the grogg size and percentage within the clay you will be able to achieve a coarser finish and high strength result.

5. Fired colour a key factor

From Terracottas to Porcelains and now black clays there is even more choice for the studio potter. As most clays bodies can also vary with temperature the decision is even more difficult.

6. Glaze compatibility and application

Glaze compatibility and application can be a technical process and is important to test with the clay you choose. The temperature of your kiln is also a contributing factor when considering the most appropriate clay and compatible glaze.

7. Samples and Testing

The most important key area is testing as this will determine the ideal clay for use.  Once the appropriate clay bodies have been chosen based on the above key areas then samples are the best method for testing.

For technical advice, further information or free samples (postage & packaging applies) please call 01782 271200 or email

Click here to download Technical Information on our clays

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