Little Geese: The Ocarina Forum

local clay
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Author:  Andy Cox [ 18 Sep 2014, 16:05 ]
Post subject:  local clay

It's that time of year around here in the Piedmont area of South Carolina--fall temperature is upon us this week makes it possible to dig and begin processing local clays for making ocarina. Altho I have had a blast making numerous examples from the shale form my back yard, it is so very short that constructiong is at times very unpleasant. Clemson Univ has sent maps of the southern part of our Cherokee County showing pockets of clay which I will try to find and dig.

If there is anyone in my area knowning exactly where to dig a plastic clay, please tell. Plastic stoneware is found 75 miles east of us and kaolin about 125 miles south, both are too far for this ole fellow to drive, spend a half a day digging and return.

Are any of you digging your own clays? I have tried mixing 1/4 purchased earthenware bodies with the local which made a world of difference, but that isn't the point of my endeavor. Also certain acids (see historical methods) have been used to help age the clay, but this process has only been four months and not years that usually takes.

Any ideas would be appreciated.


Author:  Robert Hickman [ 19 Sep 2014, 23:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: local clay

Can't say much about this, howeaver I have tried firing the clay found on the bank of the Severn estury close to me. I'ts not verry plastic, improved by blending with my usual clay, though has verry high shrinkage, starts off grey and fires red at earthenware tempriture.

Plasticity really isn't that important if you are press moulding, a high degree of stiffness is quite desireable to prevent deformation.

Author:  Karen [ 22 Oct 2014, 16:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: local clay

Wow, I find this very interesting! I can't imagine making my own ocarina from the clay in my area. When we first moved here 9 years ago and made a place for a veg. garden, there was so much clay. I picked up a chunk and fashioned a little horse, I still have it today. A few years ago, the person that owns the pond right across from my house had a crane to dig the pond deeper. There were piles and piles of clay. I grabbed a chunk and it still sits in my shed, hard as a rock. Do people ever make ocarinas out of this natural clay and not fire it? (I gotta do some online research now) I live right near a river and about 10 miles from the Mississippi, our town, Mt. Carroll, Il., I believe sits on a bluff. I am sure in ancient days my house was at the bottom of a lake. It would be easy for me to get all kinds of clay, but I don't know what the quality would be or type, there seems to be gray, brown and a brighter orange color. Andy, you bring up such interesting topics! I need another hobby!! :o Not really, but I do think my brain is gonna be thinking about this now.

Author:  Andy Cox [ 23 Oct 2014, 00:14 ]
Post subject:  Re: local clay

Karen, I was born in the NW corner of Tennessee, next to the Mississippi River. As a younster, I remember digging an orange/yellow clay that was smooth and wonderful. We tried to fire small clay figures/etc with sawdust with little success. Last month while we were home, I told my wife, as we drove across the railroad tracks, that I dug clay there over 55 years ago and wanted to walk the tracks to see if I could still find that spot. She was afraid that the local police might not be so understanding.

At the moment I'm having fun with using the local backyard clay for all sorts of simple crafts. It seems that everything I do is from found materials or very inexpensive ones. the world is full of books and ideas, and this forum has been so very supportive for all who have questions. Today I was trimming some bushes and trees, my thoughts turned to the limb forks and wondered if I could still shoot a slingshot! OOOPS, this is for another forum? Ha....back to trying to practice some of the music Jack posts.

Author:  Karen [ 23 Oct 2014, 08:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: local clay

Oh boy, every time I see one of those Y shaped branches I think of slingshots too, I have brought several home and they still sit in a box. This week-end is going to be beautiful, I will go hunting for some clay and make me a ocarina, even if it's just for looks, it will be fun.

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