Working With FiberClays

Sheepdog White Earthenware with Fiber 04

Sheepdog lowfire earthenware with fiber, our version of paper clay! Our fiber doesn't rot, and will fit most commercial glazes. These clays are a Low fire sculptural body that fits commercial glazes when Bisqued to 04. The glazes should be fired to cone 06. It contains 5% fine white sand and our superfine nylon fiber.

Why Fiber Clay?

Mixing fiber into clay gives the clay many new and exciting properties. You can allow the clay to dry out and then make attachments, adding bone dry to bone dry. You can build sculptures that would be impossible with plain clay.

Because these fibers cling to, rather than absorb, water they better promote the movement of the water through the mix.  Fibers such as cellulose or "paper fibers" are actually less desirable because the water they absorb does not move any further; only once the individual fiber has absorbed all the water it can hold does the remaining water move on through the mix. This may be why Nylon has proven to be an acceptable choice for fibered clay; it is slightly absorbent, but not exceptionally so.

 Another point about the cellulose fibers is that they swell when wet. This means as the fibers dry, they will shrink and leave voids in the clay, creating weakness and the potential for cracking. On the other hand, nylon fibers will promote crack resistance and strengthen the mix.

How to work with Fiberclay

If you work in fiber clay and don't change the way you work, you are not taking advantage of the clay. The advantages are that you can build your sculpture in parts, let them dry, as my friend Graham Hay says "Bone Dry”. This means you don't need an armature to build large pieces.

Attachments: Make a slip out of the clay, the easy way is to make a bunch of "potato chips" and let them dry. Then when you add them to water they will dissolve quickly.

To attach dry to dry, slather both sides with slip, roll out a thin rope of clay dip it in the slip, this is the "denture cream" that fills in any gaps. Push the pieces together and hold till you feel it grab!


 

 

You don’t have to fire!

Many people are building sculptures using armatures made of wood or rebar. You can keep adding on to your sculpture until you are happy with the result then finish with Acrylic Paint, Artzee Sealers* or Powertex products* or we have Aleens Fabric Stiffener.

How to fire Fiber Clay

Fiber clay is easy to fire as it is very forgiving, EXCEPT! There will be smoke and bad smells up to 900 degrees F.
I suggest you fire in a well ventilated space, leave the lid propped open a couple inches and leave the bottom peephole open. The idea is to allow the fiber to burn out (oxygen is needed for this). Fire like this until the smoke stops and then close the lid. At some point your pieces will be black, this is normal. The carbon will burn off as it reacts with the oxygen to burn.
 Panicking and turning off the kiln will not help.

Taxidermy Clay self hardening with fiber.

Introducing Taxidermy Clay from New Mexico Clay

Taxidermy Clay is great for models over an armature; sculpt it, even 2 inches thick it will not crack. It will stick to almost anything even glass. Contains a non-toxic waterproof glue. Dries hard, paintable, not-toxic and not water proof.

This clay works great for assembled sculpture, make all the parts and let them dry, all the way, then; paint a slip (made of Taxidermy Clay) on both surfaces to be joined. Roll out a thin coil of Taxidermy Clay (to act as denture cream) Paint all surfaces including the coil press together and hold.  Our fiber doesn't rot.

Taxidermist sculpts the muscles, eye sockets, ear bases out of this clay. Smearing the clay on a foam armature that approximates the animal whose skin they have. Then they pull the skin over the armature for a lifelike natural look.

 

https://sculptedanimations.com/artzeeliquidsealer/

https://www.powertexcreations.com/

https://nmclay.com/clayhardener-fabric-stiffener-and-draping-liquid-8oz

Working With FiberClays

Low-Fire Casting Slip, White in 1 Gallon Jar

$10.46 Per Gallon in wide mouth Jar
  • Giffin Grip Mini

    $199.00

    Giffin Grip Mini

    The Giffin Grip Mini is a re-centering tool for potters. 

    Designed specifically for trimming, it works equally well for waxing the foot or banding.
    After a simple one time adjustment, the Giffin Grip quickly snaps on and off  your wheel.

    Features

    • Centers and holds your pots with ease
    • Fits all standard wheel sizes, Does fit the new Shimpo Aspire™
    • Is assembled
    • Ergonomically shaped hands gently hold your pot in place
    • Works for many functions in addition to trimming, including waxing the foot & banding with oxides

    Box Includes:

    • lengths of rods with hands
    • Sliders
    • Sliders

    works both ways


  • Underglaze Pencil Set

    Regular Price: $55.00

    Sale Price $49.50 Each

    Underglaze Pencil Set

    Chrysanthos Underglaze Pencils can be used for decoration or just marking ware. As they are fired higher they tend to fade. To not smudge any work, glaze should be slightly sponged on the design before brushing or dipping.

  • Hot Box 86E Kiln, 8x8x6.5" 120V ^10 Controller 3 Key

    Regular Price: $935.00

    Sale Price $841.50

    Hot Box 86E Kiln, 8x8x6.5" 120V ^10 Controller 3 Key

    Hot Box 86 equipped with electronic controller

    Model - HB86E 120 volt

    Inside dimensions: 8" x 8" wide x 6.5" deep, fires to cone 10/2350°F

    Inside dimensions - 8" x 8" wide x 11" deep, with optional bead or blank collar fires to 2000° F with collar.

    This electric model comes with stand, two peephole plugs, instruction manual, and warranty card. One-year warranty.

    120 volt models come equipped with pilot light, metal stand, stainless steel jacket, and Bartlett 3K-CF electronic controller.  Data is entered by scrolling through the up and down arrows for the desired cone fire or ramp/hold programming.

    Other options available are adding a blank or bead collar, top and clamshell loading and fiber bottom for vitrigraph.

    Furniture Kits for 120 volt models provide 2-3 layers of shelving for stacking ware, assorted small square posts, ceramic paper, and a one pound bag of kiln wash.  Choose the standard furniture kit or build your own with shelves and posts in the quantities required. 

  • ESPECKLED

    $0.79 Per Pound As low as: $0.55 Per Pound

    Especkled

    New clay from New Mexico Clay, our ochre clay with tiny black speckles that bleed through the glaze.

    This clay has a smooth, even texture, after firing. Especkled throws great, good for dinnerware, as it is very tight (low absorption) it will be very durable, all glazes will love this clay. The "especkles" will bleed through most glazes and underglazes. Best results at cone 5, but good at 6.