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Types of Clay – Pros and Cons of Earthenware clay, Stoneware clay, Ball clay, Fire and Kaolin clays

Clay is a material that artists have been using to create clay sculptures for centuries. There are three major classifications of clay: ceramic, plastalina, and polymer clay. Each type of clay has its own benefits and drawbacks, which will be discussed in this article.

Ceramic clays

Ceramic clay is a type of clay that can be fired in a kiln. It’s also known as porcelain clay or clay paste. This type of clay has been used for centuries to create ceramics, which are typically larger artworks made from ceramic materials like pottery and statues. Ceramic clay is often mixed with other ingredients such as sand, water, and wood pulp to achieve different textures.

There are many benefits to using ceramic clay over other types of clay. Ceramic clay is great for detailed work. It can be sculpted into very fine details, which other types of clay cannot achieve. Additionally, ceramic sculptures are the most durable type of clay sculpture. They’re fired in a kiln and are coated with glaze during the firing process.

Ceramic clay is one of the most versatile materials in clay sculpting. There are many types of clay that have different properties and uses, including Earthenware clays, Stoneware clays, Ball clays, Fire clay, Kaolin clay. The type you choose will depend on what you want to create with your clay. Understanding the differences between these types can help you find the right material for your project!

Also interesting: Best air dry clay.

Earthenware clays

Earthenware clay is a general clay that can be used for many different projects. It fires to cone 06 and makes durable pieces with relatively low shrinkage. The clay has a good body. It holds its shape well during drying as well as when fired in the kiln. These properties make earthenware clay an excellent choice for functional pottery such as garden pots or urns. Arts crafts items like dish holders and candle holders, large wall sculptures, sculpture relief panels, and more! Earthenware clays are also great for modeling. They do not have much shrinkage so your sculpted piece will stay true to size after firing.

The disadvantage of using this type of clay is that it is not suitable for clay throwing, because it is too soft.

Earthenware clay also has a low fire temperature (cone 06). Your work will have minimal glaze porosity and won’t pick up much color during the firing process. This clay type can be difficult to use if you’re looking for something with more detail or definition. But this isn’t always a disadvantage! If you want pieces that are unique and imperfect in their own way, earthenware clay might just be perfect.

Plus, Earthenware clays tend to take less time to dry than other clay types. So they are great for beginners who don’t want to spend days waiting before putting their creation into the kiln.

Stoneware clays

Stoneware clay is a clay that typically has a high level of silica. This type of clay does not shrink as much when it dries. So it doesn’t need to be soaked before use – which makes it perfect for larger projects. However, this clay can also burn more easily during firing because its surface is less even than other clays and tends to hold water better (high levels of silica). It’s best suited for items like dishes or pots where you want your item glossy rather than matte since stoneware clay fired with an opaque shine.

The disadvantage of using this type of clay instead of Earthenware clays is that they do not work well for clay throwing because they are too hard. They also have a higher fire temperature than earthenware clay. Your work will have more glaze porosity and pick up a lot of color during the firing process. This clay type can be difficult to use if you’re looking for something with less detail or definition. But this isn’t always the case! If you want pieces that stand out from other items in production, stoneware clay might just be perfect.

Also interesting: How To Fire Clay Without A Kiln At Home.

Ball clays

Ball clay is a clay that has high levels of kaolin clay in it. This clay type works well for pottery projects because it fires to cone 04. The clay will have more glaze porosity and take on color better than other clays (including earthenware). Ball clay can also be used as an additive when mixing with other types of clay.

The disadvantage of using this type of clay instead of Earthenware or Stoneware clays is that they are only good for throwing small items like bowls or cups – not large pieces like sculptures! They also have a higher fire temperature compared to earthenware clay. Your work will have more glaze porosity and pick up a lot of color during the firing process.

Fire clays

Fire clay is clay that has lower levels of clay in it. This type of clay works well for pottery projects because they can be thrown on the wheel, and fired to cone 04 – which means your work will have more glaze porosity and take on color better than other clays (including earthenware). Fire clay doesn’t shrink as much when drying out or firing, meaning you don’t need to soak them before use!

The disadvantage of using this type of clay instead of Earthenware or Stoneware clays is that they are only good for throwing small items like bowls or cups – not large pieces like sculptures! They also have a higher fire temperature compared to stoneware clay, which means that your work will have more glaze porosity and pick up a lot of color during the firing process.

Kaolin clay is also often used in clay production, either as an additive to increase fire temperature or for decoration purposes only. Kaolin clay has less chance of shrinking when drying out or being fired unlike other clays because it doesn’t shrink much at all! On top of this, kaolin clay fires well when mixed with other types (including earthenware).

Kaolin clays

Kaolin clay is the most common clay. It’s an extremely refined clay, with almost no impurities and a very fine grain size that makes it easy to work within both pottery and porcelain applications. It provides strength and plasticity for ceramics such as teapots, crockery but doesn’t produce clear glazes like stoneware clays can because of its lack of iron oxide or other natural colorants.

Kaolin clay is most often used in porcelain products. Porcelain has an extremely finely grained clay body that can be molded and shaped into highly refined, glossy white pieces so it’s not surprising kaolin clay makes up the bulk of many high-quality porcelains. Kaolinite clay (also known as china clay) is a mineral formed from weathered granite[1]https://www.oakton.edu/user/4/billtong/eas100/clays.htm; while some deposits are found all over the world, especially in China, where it was first mined for use in pottery centuries ago. It takes its name from “China” because this type of clay made early Chinese trade markets wealthy on account of their popularity with Europeans who carved their fine quality teas and other goods shipped to Europe aboard East India Company ships.

Also interesting: Best clay for sculpting.

Plastalina Clay

Plastalina clay is a type of clay that doesn’t need to be fired. And it can also be baked in an oven. This clay has been around since the early 1900s. It’s cheaper than polymer clay but stronger than ceramic clay when dried out. Artists use plastalina clay for items like soap dishes or small figurines, which are often made from plaster molds.

The biggest downside to using this material over other types of clay is that there isn’t much detail work possible with plastalinas due to its smooth texture versus more textured ceramics or polymers such as Fimo Soft clay. Additionally, some artists find that they’re not very strong so if you want something durable then try clay or clay-like materials instead.

The biggest benefit to using plastalina clay is that it doesn’t need to be fired and can be baked in an oven, which means you don’t need a kiln for this type of clay sculpture so space shouldn’t be as much of an issue. This also makes these types of sculptures more affordable than ceramics because they’re cheaper and artists often use them for projects like small figurines with limited detail work since there’s no firing process required after the sculpting stage.

Some people find that when dried out they have less definition than ceramic sculptures but some people prefer having a smooth texture rather than being too rough from doing detailed work on their clay pieces (especially if someone has sensitive skin).

Also interesting: Stages of clay.

Polymer Clay

Polymer clay is a type of clay that’s often used by artists to create sculptures, jewelry, and other artworks. It was invented in 1956 in order to replace metal clay for use as the raw material for sculpture because it offers more versatility with colors and can be fired at lower temperatures than ceramic clay or any other type of clay[2]https://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm.

The benefit to using polymer clay over ceramics is there are no firing steps. So you don’t need a kiln which saves time and space when sculpting pieces. However, some people find that they’re not strong enough if someone plans on doing anything delicate. Like carving out small details then try going back after the drying process has been completed.

Another downside of this type of clay is that it’s porous. It means clay sculptures made from polymer clay will dry out and can’t be used again. Artists need to think about the type of project they’re using this clay for. Do it before making their decision on what material to use.

Some people find that when dried out they have less definition than ceramic sculptures. But some people prefer having a smooth texture rather than being too rough from doing detailed work on their clay pieces. Especially if someone has sensitive skin.

One major downside to clay is that it dries up quickly while sculpting. It often needs more water-based clays or mold-able polymers mixed in with them in order to keep them moist enough during detailed work stages of clay sculpting.

Also interesting: What is clay.