Understanding Pottery is a series in production by Washington Street Studios. The video series is a digital textbook that will take you through the entire ceramic process from the raw material through the finished ceramic pieces. There are five sections and twenty-six chapters planned in the series and they are:
Section I: The Pottery Making Sequence
Chapter 1: What is Clay?
Chapter 2: Clay Properties and Drying
Chapter 3: Bisque Firing
Chapter 4: Tips for Successful Glazing
Chapter 5: Pyrometric Cones
Chapter 6: Glaze Firing
Section II: Use of Raw Materials
Chapter 7: Chemistry for Potters
Chapter 8: Glaze Chemistry
Chapter 9: Oxides, Washes, Underglazes and Stains
Chapter 10: Geology for Potters
Chapter 11: Use of Local Materials
Section III: Kilns and Firings
Chapter 12: Atmospheric Firings
Chapter 13: Wood-Fired Kilns
Chapter 14: Gas-Fired Kilns
Chapter 15: Electric Kilns
Chapter 16: Raku Kilns
Section IV: Solving Problems
Chapter 17: Kiln Performance Problems
Chapter 18: Clay Body Defects
Chapter 19: Glaze Defects
Section V: Practical Applications
Chapter 20: Pottery Myths, Errors and Misconceptions
Chapter 21: Thixotropy, Quartz Inversions and Other Pottery Mysteries
Chapter 22: Pottery and Physics
Chapter 23: Pottery Figurin’ (Math)
Chapter 24: Personal Safety with Pottery
Chapter 25: Critiquing Your Own Pottery: Design Principles You Can Use
Chapter 26: Tips for Buying Used Pottery Equipment
This product is an edited transcript of Chapter 1: What is Clay?
Understanding Pottery, Chapter 2: Clay Properties and Drying - Transcript
This document was created by and is owned by Washington Street Studios. Distribution and reproduction of this document is prohibited without written consent from Washington Street Studios, Inc.
Good morning. Welcome to another session of “The Potters’ Round Table,” brought to you by Washington Street Studios. The topic for today is Clay Properties and Drying. We're going to continue the discussion that we had last time. We were talking about “what is clay,” and now we're going to talk about some properties of clay that relate to how it dries.
Clay, as we said last time, is made up of tiny particles called platelets, which are shaped like little flat disks and are really tiny. As I mentioned, they're about the size of your red-blood cells, and they're arranged in stacks, like little decks of cards. These little decks of cards, I'll call them, are oriented fairly randomly in a mass of clay. This is the model that I showed last time, which I made from beer coasters. (By the way, when you go to a bar, you get one coaster per beer. So this model represents a lot of trips to my local bar - dedication, of course). Anyway, what they show us is that the individual particles of clay are really composed of stacks of these platelets. Then, they're arranged in these little decks of cards fairly randomly in any typical mass of clay.