Bluebird workhorse

IMG_2045This is the list I'm currently working on.  These pots are for the Carolina Pottery Festival which is Nov. 14th.  here in Shelby.  I'm moving right on through the list thankfully.

I decided about a month ago to forgo mixing clay this fall and winter and use a commercial blend.  It's from Highwater Clays and called Stan's Red.  I had gone through 500 lbs of it back in late summer and liked it a lot.  I'm pretty sure it's named after Stanley Mace Anderson.  My slip and glaze fit it well and I like the color of the bare clay.   I ordered a ton a couple weeks ago, so I'm pretty well stocked.

Below is my little workhorse!  I bought this Bluebird 440 pugmill very early on in my pottery career.  My mentor, Tom Gray, recommended it and I've never regretted spending the money.

IMG_2044I use this guy every day that I throw.  If I need to soften up my clay I just slice it up and put the slices in a bucket of water.  I pull the clay out a slice at a time  and run it through.  Just the extra bit of water on the surface of the slices is usually enough to get the clay just how I like it.  I can also stiffen up clay by putting it in a bucket with fireclay or ball clay and running it through.  (Tom taught me the trick with the water, and I saw Warren Mackenzie doing the trick w. the dry clay).

I use this machine for reclaim too.  All my scraps go in 5 gallon buckets of water.  When it's all good and wet I move the slop to old bisque fired bowls lined with a scrap of sheet.  The clay  sits there until it firms up and then I run that through the mill with some new clay.  No waste!

I'd recommend a pugmill to anyone.  It saves time and money and your wrists.  I hardly wedge anything under 8 lbs.  I just slice the clay off the pug and smack it into a ball.

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