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Keswick-Ware – The Material

On the right is the clay in the raw form. It’s been soaked in water then put in the jar about 8 months ago. Since then it has settled and separated.

You can see the rusty coloured iron that gives the clay its orange finish when fired. You can also other minerals present, though I’m not exactly sure what they are, they give the clay its unique finish. When the finished pieces are placed in the sun they sparkle.

When the clay is processed and ready to use it has a brown almost muddy colour and is difficult to work, due to the high sand content. I knew it would brighten up when fired and I wanted to achieve the deepest most vibrant colour possible. So I test-fired it at various different temperatures to see which would give the best result.

As you can see the samples above. At low temperatures the clay retains its muddy brown colour, which is due to the organic materials remaining intact. But as the temperature is increased the organics burn off to give the orange finish. Above 8oo degrees C the materials begins to take on a deep red colour..

So I decided that 800C would be the firing temperature. It gives a really nice finish and preserves the natural beauty of the material. Click here to see the first finished pieces.

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