Comparison View of 3 Clays

Well it seems to be feast or famine with me and this blog. Haven’t posted for months, but it just so happens that now I’ve got a bunch of pictures, so naturally I’m going to post them, whether anyone else is interested or not.

Here are some closeups of the clays used for the cups in the previous post alongside a purely ‘bought’ clay with just some feldspar sand (yuseki) mixed in for texture.

Generally speaking, Seto/Mino clays are quite plastic in comparison with Saga clays. This has resulted in different production methods and tools between the two areas. Just for perspective, I ordered some clay from a company in Shigaraki a few months back that was described as a good clay for Shino and Oribe, very rough and toothy, and lacking plasticity. I got it expecting to have some trouble with it, but it turned out to be absolutely butter smooth and plastic compared to the Karatsu Aka (Karatsu Red Clay)I normally use. It was much more forgiving than I am used to, and I had a great time with it. The Sari clay is the other end of the spectrum, making the Karatsu Aka seem feel like ball clay in comparison. If I applied too much pressure bringing up the wall of even a tiny cup, the whole wall tore away from the hump looking much like an orange peel coming off of an orange, then the torn piece would drop to the wheel head but not before crumbling into several pieces first. Frustrating sometimes, but really fun to work with, and excellent practice.