Red Istrian clay

Geology of south Istria is similar than geology of Karst. Calcium carbonates as limestone deteriorates into red clay. It is everywhere an very red, though the texture is a little different than Karst’s. I went to collect it to the beach. There is some directly on the beach where we swim in the summer. That one is salty and the salt brings the melting point down. So I usually collect one slightly higher from the beach. There is one machine dug hole, and there the clay is completely clean. And since now is the raining season it’s well watered and plastic. I can just take it and start working with it. I fact it is so sticky, that I had to wash my shoes in the sea after collecting it. I already did several firings and tests with this clay – it is most beautiful at 1230°C.

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

red clay from the beach

3 Comments

  1. Andrea February 8, 2018 at 8:24 am #

    Hi Anja,
    I did try to use red clay but it was difficult to use on the wheel and cracks while fired. Could you tell me more on your experience and post a picture of the outcome?

    • Anja Slapničar February 14, 2018 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Andrea! Well wild clays collected from the nature can be wild to work with. From your description I cannot say what exactly is the problem, but I would try with different options to fix it. One would be to use very fine sieve – the one for the glaze, to clean the clay. Clay from nature can have different size particles, and those who have bigger particles tend to have weaker bonds. Other thing I would do is dry it very slowly. And fire it slowly too. You could also mix with other clays you feel are more fine and have higher plasticity. Or mix in some fine powder of ball clay. I will post results after firing soon, right now I don’t have any from last year. Keep trying!

  2. marthe vanhoutte February 13, 2018 at 9:59 am #

    interesting!

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