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A Brief History of Clay

Clay is a very common material and it has been used for thousands of years. The earliest evidence of man-made clay and pottery was found in Ancient China, which date back to around 10,000 BC. Clays are often associated with pottery because they can be turned into ceramics when heated.

The history of man-made clay and pottery is interesting because the discovery of these materials could help give our ancestors identities. Pottery can give archaeologists information about trade routes or even help them understand how people laid out their settlements. It's possible that the things people would have collected from the ground would have become incorporated into their pottery, so archaeologists can use this to see what local resources were available in a particular area.

Types of Clay

There are many different types of clays and they can be used for a variety of purposes. In this article, we will explore the different types of clays and their compositions.

Kaolin

We'll start with kaolin clay, which is one of the most commonly used clays in pottery. Kaolin clay is composed of fine white particles and it has a high firing temperature (up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit). This type of clay produces earthenware that is light-colored and delicate. It's often used to make cups, bowls, ornaments, and other small objects.

Ball Clay

Another type of clay that is popular among potters is ball clay. Ball clay contains more iron than kaolin clay and its firing temperature is between 2250 and 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of clay is stronger than kaolin clay and it produces pottery that is darker in color. It's often used to make vases, jars, or other large objects.

Bentonite Clay

One of the most interesting types of clays is bentonite clay. Bentonite clay contains a high percentage of montmorillonite, which makes it very absorbent. This type of clay swells up when it comes into contact with water and it can be used to make very durable pottery. Bentonite Clay also has a low firing temperature, so it's easy to work with.

Montmorillonite Clay

Montmorillonite clay is white or buff, and composed of crystalline sub-microscopic particles. It has a high proportion of montmorillonite. This type of clay is often used in the making of adobe bricks because it's strong and will provide insulation for buildings. It can also be used to make pottery, but it needs to be mixed with other clays before it can be fired in a kiln. It can also be used to make insulation for buildings.

Earthenware

Earthenware clay is a type of clay that is easy to work with and its firing temperature is between 1800 and 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of clay often produces pottery that has a dark color and it's often used to make vases, jars, or other large objects.

Terracotta

Terracotta is a type of clay that is used to create pottery. Terracotta can be fired at lower temperatures, which make it easier to work with. It usually gets its red color from iron oxide. Another way that terracotta is used is in construction because it's durable and able to withstand heavy weight on top of it.

Stoneware

Stoneware clay is a type of clay that is composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica. It has a high firing temperature (up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit) and it produces pottery that is very strong and durable. This type of clay is often used to make bowls, plates, or other objects that need to be resistant to heat or chipping.

Porcelain

Porcelain is a type of ceramic material that is made from kaolin clay and it has a high firing temperature. Porcelain is often used to make dishes, cups, ornaments, and other objects that need to be resistant to heat or chipping.

There are various types of porcelain ceramics that can be used for various purposes. The most popular type is dinnerware, which is used for eating and serving food. Porcelain is also often used for making decorative objects, such as vases, urns, and figurines. It's important to note that not all porcelain is the same - there are different grades of porcelain, depending on the ingredients and firing temperature.

Bone China

The composition of bone china is similar to porcelain, but instead of using kaolin as the primary component, it's composed of bone ash and feldspar. Bone ash is a natural material obtained from animal bones that have been calcined at a high temperature, then mixed with a fluxing agent, such as silica or borax. China clay may also be used as a supplementary material in the production process.

Hard-Paste China

Hard-paste porcelain was first developed in China. This type of ceramic is made from a mixture of ground china stone, feldspar, quartz and kaolin. Some examples are Shanghai Museum figures, white Russians figures or Revolutionary War figures.

Soft-Paste China

Soft-paste porcelain is another type of clay. Soft-paste porcelain is made from ground china stone, feldspar, quartz, and kaolin. This type of clay has a lower firing temperature than hard-paste porcelain and it can be found in plastics or glazes for contemporary pots.