Most clay classes at Brookfield Craft Center are
categorized as high fire or low fire classes. These terms refer to the
temperature at which the clay is fired in the kiln, but also define the types
of clay, glazes and techniques used and aesthetics achieved in each class. Throwing
refers to using the potter’s wheel to form shapes while hand building refers to
slab, coil and pinch techniques.
EARTHENWARE / LOW FIRE
Earthenware is considered a low fire clay, and is fired in
our electric kilns. Glazes retain stability at lower temperatures, so you can
achieve bright colors and detailed designs. Lower temperatures also mean that the
clay does not fully vitrify (or fuse), so that the glazes are what give low
fire ceramics their waterproof qualities. Historically, low fire clay was red, like terracotta. Now low fire clay is also readily available in
light and white colors.
STONEWARE / HIGH FIRE
Stoneware and porcelain are high fire clay, and are fired at cone 6 in our electric kilns. As hard as stone, these clays fire to be strong and waterproof. Because the clay fully vitrifies (or fuses), it can be made into thin and delicate pieces and still remain strong. Ceramicists have less control of the end result of high fire glazes, creating unique, one-of-a-kind surfaces.