Summary or Respond To the Reading

            Clay is a widespread but unique material that helps in making ceramics possible. Clay was formed as the earth cooled slowly from its hot origins, causing its rock outer crust to harden, as internal pressure pushed up mountainous areas (1). This gradually formed water vapor leading to the creation of an atmosphere. Erosion occurred as a result of rains and winds while extremes of freezing temperatures and heat led to the contraction and expansion of the earth’s surface (1).

            Clays are classified as either sedimentary or residual and they include the following; kaolin which is the form of clay white in color and only vitrifies at very high temperatures (2). This form of clay is important in making high-fire white ware. Ball clay is another form of clay chemically similar to kaolin. However, its color varies from light tan to dark gray because of the presence of the organic material. Stoneware clays are a form of clay with particular interest to the potter (3). These clays are generally very plastic and always fire in the middle range of temperatures. Fireclay is a form of clay with high-firing clay normally used while insulating brick. There is also earthenware clay which comprises of a range of low-firing clays that do mature at relatively low temperatures. Slip clays are forms of clay that naturally contain enough fluxes that serve as glazes without extra addition (4). The best commercially known slip clay is called Albany and it is mostly mined in pits near Albany, New York. Bentonite is an extraordinary form of clay that normally functions as a plasticizer in small amounts. This can be found in most western mountain states and in several Gulf States (5). It has the fines ever know particle size of clay. In order to achieve a workable clay body, it is always necessary to mix clays.

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