Keeping track of clay

As I may have mentioned before, buying the pugger/mixer was probably the best decision I made last year. It has made my life easier in so many ways. However, it has made things more difficult in one way: it is hard to keep track of all the claybodies that go into the kiln. Especially after they are made into something and drying on the shelves, it is very difficult to tell them apart.

When I fired with the gas kiln, stuff didn’t pile up all that much, because I fired frequently. Now with the wood kiln getting fired 3 times per year, things tend to stack up, and labeling is essential to avoid hideous mishaps. I try to keep types of clay consistent from wareboard to wareboard and label each board, but packing pots in the kiln to bisque them means losing the labels and taking extensive notes, because bisqued clay looks even more similar than green.

The other day, I was wishing I had a way to label the pots better, then it came to me: a labeling app on my smart phone with which to label photos in my gallery. I downloaded a free app (there are lots of different ones), and viola!, pictures taken of my bisque load shelf levels are now accurately labeled and instantly backed up to my home network, so I know I won’t lose them.

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Now if significant time passes between firings, or just unloading a bisque, I can refer to my pictures to figure out what everything is.

5 thoughts on “Keeping track of clay”

    1. I would consider that for tests, but don’t really feel like I’d want stamp info on my regular pots. Plus, it would be a lot of stamps. I have 16 clay bodies going into this next firing, and only 2 or 3 of them are commercial bodies. The rest are collected natural clays and/or blended clays in small batches. One good idea that came up on FB was the use of food dyes, which would burn out in the firing. No left over info on the pot, but still hard to find enough colors.

      1. I understand that stamping clay bodies does not feel right but K Pleydell-Bouverie labelled all her pots with the glaze she used.

        1. Yes, and I have no problem with that. She did so much glaze development I can certainly understand her need to label each pot. I think everyone makes these sort of choices about their work. It is certainly nothing if not personal preference mixed with level of necessity.

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