Top Row: Clay Body ID's. Row 2: Salmon Terra Sigillata. Row 3: Medium Blue underglaze.
About a year ago I started testing new cone 5 clay bodies. My former low-fire clay body (fired to cone 01) was producing too many pop-outs and I could no longer use it. I have been searching for a gritty clay that would allow me to build a larger piece in one sitting. I quickly let go of ones that ended up being pale or greyed out versions of earthenware. Having the rich color of the clay come thru a slip to show texture is more important than getting lightly colored translucent glazes to show up. So here are my three finalists: Red Sculpture, SB Red, and B3-Brown.
Laguna's Red Sculpture clay body is unapologetic gritty madness. I love it. Unfortunately, it is so gritty that even when fired to temperature, it seeps water. Not good for all the vases I make, but still fine for building planters or other non-functional work. Classic toasted brown/red color when fired. Its picks up a lot of fuming (I have quite a few glazes with strontium and barium that fume). Buttery matte glazes tend to soak into the pores and - where thick are still butter mattes, but where thin- are more like a caked on incorporated surface. Also OK.
Laguna's SB Red is short for Super Bitchen. Good grog content, my buttery mattes sit on the surface, handle's well and looks well. It pops colors, and is not so dark it "eats up" lighter colored glazes. Translucent glazes over white slips show well, as do buttery mattes. A great all around clay, but I do miss the grog of the sculpture....
Laguna's B-3 Brown fires brown/black. Rich and delicious. A thinner coating of white slip looks like snow on the mountains Mmmm Yummy. Or a thin powdered sugar frosting on a dark chocolate cake. Also yummy. It has decent grit, similar to SB Red. Some slips tested well and can be seen and hold up to the intensity of the clay's own color. Unfortunately, many are "eaten away" by the clay and disappear unless very thick. The ones that hold up have an alluring intensity against the black. All my lithium/strontium/barium glazes bubble and look like burnt lava on this body. I will try something white and creamy next without those fluxes. Intriguing. I think this will be more like a wild lover than a best friend. Fiesty.
Lower-Mid Range Tests