Stoneware

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Stoneware is the workhorse of the clays. Whatever use you intend, stoneware can almost always create what you need. Available as fine white clay, through various buffs and browns to red and black, it is the clay that is most likely to be interesting in its own right. Glazes can be used to enhance its speckled surface, to allow just the smallest scatter of tiny iron spots to break through, or to cover it entirely. It can be gritty with added sand or ground-down fired clay (known as grog). All but the white tend to have naturally occurring quantities of iron giving the warm brown speckle.

 

To our modern sensibility, the brown stoneware often seems old-fashioned. There are vague associations with heavy, thick-rimmed pots, ugly glazes, ill-fitting and chipped lids. But the 'new' stoneware couldn't be more different. It is often finely thrown and light in the hand. Glazes can be endlessly fascinating, rewarding close inspection with unexpected variety. They 'break' across rims, changing colour and texture. They may form opalescent pools where miniscule crystals scatter the light. They can add a subtle creamy warmth to a white glaze and depth to a green one.

 

Never underestmate stoneware.

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