Updated: May 10
This is a review and comparison of my current clay body: Elaine's Crystal Cone 6 Porcelain, ordered from Sheffield Pottery's online store. Here's the description taken from their site:
"This is #108300-ELAINE'S CRYSTAL CONE 6 imported English grolleg porcelain pottery clay. It is a Super Translucent moist clay body with Great plasticity!" & "A high temperature Grolleg porcelain clay body. It has excellent plasticity for throwing and can be used for hand building as well. Exceptional purity and workability combined in one body."
Temperature Range: Cone 4-6 Grog:No
Color In Oxidation:White
Color In Reduction:Blue White
Shrinkage: c/6/ox. 14.50% Absorption: c/6/ox. 0.00%
great for throwing. Fine for hand-building
Reclaims really well. Particles "loosen" well even when settled
it ain't translucent tho?
white when fired, has a subtle cream cast with clear glaze (oxidation)
not the best for attachments, other people have noted that as well (and by that I mean like ONE other person on the internet from like 10 years ago. There's NO info on this clay body HENCE why I wrote this review)
shrinks more than Standard 551
This is my first experience with a cone 6 porcelain in my studio. Before Elaine's I was using a self-mixed white stoneware recipe, then STANDARD V.P 551. From Standard Ceramic Supply's site: "C/6 Very plastic white porcelain. Good for throwing. Does not contain ball clay. Cone 6 Shrinkage 13.0% Absorption 0.3%. Product Number: 10551." At the time of writing this in 2019, I had issues with the VP and said it wasn't good. However, I wonder if they had changed the formula, because it is much lighter in color and had a toothier texture, like sand and butter. This was especially troublesome when trimming. But as of 2023, I am enjoying it very much. Did something change in the manufacturing process?
MY EXPERIENCE WITH STANDARD V.P 551 in the year 2019.
not as smooth in texture
collapsed often when throwing
okay for attachments
actually better than Elaine's for chattering and texture
not as good for reclaiming... tends to settle/hardpan
Apparently they both cost $38.50 for a moist 50lb box, but Sheffield offers free shipping for moist clay deliveries while the distributor for the Standard 551, The Ceramic Shop, does not offer free shipping. UPDATE: THIS WAS IN 2019. I do not know how the rates compare now.
Also, I have mixed trimmings from the two and reclaimed it, it was fine.
Something else I noticed: Elaine's porcelain leaves brown/ orange stains from the soluble salt and other mineral deposits, either coming from the clay itself or even my tap water. The stain is completely harmless of course, it disappears if I wipe it and it doesn't show up on pieces. I thought I'd mention it because minerals in ball clay will cause this coloration, and it's interesting because I really didn't find coloration from the Standard V.P 551 because it didn't contain any ball clay.
I do have an updated opinion/experience on the V.P 551 from May of 2023. Please check that out for more info.