Choosing the right Natural clay

by Marisa osodo
(Kenya)

Question:
I am an African mum and have found a lot of information on pottery from your website. Latrines are very common in my village where I come from. Any time my neighbor or friends dig a latrine, I am interested to see the kind of colorful clay that come out of the pit. Usually red- white, grey,yellow-shiny, red with stones like glass. Are these good for pottery? Can you tell the kind of chemical composition by their colors? I have never done pottery before but I would like to start with natural clay. Currently I have just started processing some clay that is yellow in color, I have done the sieving and waiting for the water to seep, which may take a few days.

Answer:
That is so awesome that you are finding such a variety of natural clay in your area. Honestly, it's very difficult to know exactly what is in the clay just by looking at it. The best way to find out what is can do is to experiement with it. Just like you are doing!!

Once you have it to a nice consistency you can try building with it or throwing it on the wheel. If there is a ceramics store somewhere nearby they may be able to look at it and tell you more about it too, but I can't be sure of that.

Testing and experimenting is the surest way to know.

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Mar 27, 2015
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My first try at hand building
by: Marisa

I recently talked about the different types and clay in my area. I had red, dark brown and yellow. I mixed all the three, it was amazing to see the results after firing. I will try more and more experiments with clay, it is quite interesting! I tried hand building without any proper tools and fired them in our waste incinerator.It worked out quite well actually.

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