Pale Stoneware and Dark Stoneware
My initial clay making was done at the family workshop and processing unit set up in Gulgong, N.S.W. by my father-in-law, Ivan McMeekin, to make use of the wealth of local clays mined in the area.
The stoneware clay is made through what is commonly called a ‘wet method’ process. This involves weighing out particular amounts of three different local clays, which have been chosen to give a balance of plasticity, fusibility and colour; one clay, for instance, known as Puggoon 184, is a red, high iron, dark-firing clay that is surprisingly refractory for a red clay. On it’s own, when used on the wheel, it’s throwing characteristics (plasticity) are not marvellous; it is stodgy and tends to ripple when drawn up to a height. However, when blended with another more plastic clay, and again with another more fusible clay, the workability is improved and more control is gained over the fired colour of the batch.
For a full description of the making process, see the section on Clay making
I am currently looking to establish clay making facilities here on home turf at Wentworth Falls, and the making method will probably change: as far as possible it will remain a 'wet' method through blunging rather than milling.