Being an artist for over 20 years, I can definitely say I never met or worked with a medium I didn’t like. When it comes to creating, there isn’t anything that I actually dislike working with. I would have to say that my favorite medium of choice would have to be porcelain clay. I know there are many artists who claim that porcelain is a difficult clay to manipulate, it dries to fast and or unevenly, it shrinks when firing..etc. Maybe it was my many years of working with polymer clay that made my transition into porcelain work so natural. I have noticed that porcelain dries a bit fast when working with it, however I just keep a spray bottle of distilled water on my studio desk and spritz the clay when needed. To me, there just isn’t a more beautiful look than that of the milky transparency of porcelain after firing.
On the left is “WET” Porcelain block of clay, to the right is an un-glazed finished piece that was fired at 2000 degrees in my kiln.
Then there is “Cold Porcelain Clay”, to be honest I have never used nor handled cold porcelain clay. I do know many artists who LOVE cold porcelain, and if you do not own a kiln or have access to one, cold porcelain is an air-drying clay that’s amazing for making small objects and jewelry.
You can make your own Cold Porcelain Clay, it is super easy and only requires a few simple ingredients.
What you’ll need:
3/4 cup white glue
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cold cream (such as Pond’s, you can find this at Wal-Mart or Walgreens for about $4.00 a jar)
1 teaspoon glycerin
1 cup cornstarch, plus additional for dusting your hands
I suggest that you use an old saucepan and spoon when making cold porcelain. The ingredients in cold porcelain are non-toxic, however it is extremely sticky.
You will want to mix the white glue, water, cold cream, and glycerin in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until smooth. When the wet ingredients appear nice and smooth, add 1 cup of cornstarch. At this point the mixture will transform quickly, becoming stiff it is important to keep stirring. The mixture will look a bit like cottage cheese, and within minutes have a consistency of instant mashed potatoes. As soon as the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan and “Clumps” into a large ball it is done. Remember that the clay is HOT to the touch so you will need a clean, old dish towel that has been wet with cold water. Drape this towel over a plate and place the clay on it. Now you will want to knead the clay with your hands. Soon the clay will be cool enough to handle, and you can continue kneading with your hands. Keep a small bowl of cornstarch nearby. Keep your hands dusted with cornstarch so the clay doesn’t stick. You can also dust the surface of your work-space with cornstarch as needed. Your clay should be smooth textured, elastic, and no longer sticky. You can now add some color to your clay by kneading in a small amount of acrylic or oil paint. When you create projects with your clay they must air dry for about 24 hours. When dry, the clay wil be very hard, slightly translucent, and smaller, as this clay does shrink about 10%. When not in use, keep your “Cold Porcelain Clay” in an airtight container. To clean your utensils soak them hot, soapy water.
Here is a great YouTube video that can get your creative spark going: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IJj6ipGeM4 This is a tutorial on how to make a flower blossom.
To the left is the cold porcelain mixture, to the right is a beautiful rose made by Chameleonite Jewellery. You can visit their awesome blog here: http://chameleonite.blogspot.com/2010/05/cold-porcelain.html
Earthenware ceramic clay is pretty awesome,too! Earthenware clays were actually some of the earliest clay’s to be used by potters. Interestingly enough, it is one of the most common type of clay found. Earthenware clay’s are easily worked with due to their pliability, however they can be a bit sticky. Earthenware clay reaches its optimum hardness at between 1745°F and 2012°F (950°C and 1100°C) during firing, this happens due to the iron and other mineral impurities that the clay contains. The typical colors for moist earthenware clays are red, orange, yellow, and more common; light gray. Colors for fired earthenware includes brown, red, orange, buff, medium grey, and white. Fired colors are in large part determined by the content of mineral impurities and the type of firing temperatures and techniques used.
To the left you can see what a “RED” Earthenware Ceramic block of clay looks like.
To the right is the clay after being fired at 1800 degrees in my kiln.
Stay tuned for my continuation of mediums when I will next go over polymer clay, resin, PMC silver clay and more!