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Mud Experiments

I had some dried out clay and thought it was a tan mid-fire clay. Nope. It’s Laguna’s chocolate clay. I don’t care for this clay. It’s finicky, any temp higher than ^6 results in the piece shattering. The only way I have found to use this clay is to mix it with another clay. I saw that the Laguna chocolate clay is a different color than New Mexico Clay chocolate clay. I squished both clays together, did only a bit of mixing, and proceeded to build a couple mugs. I didn’t have time to put on handles when I got done, so I put plastic bags over the mugs. This technique works well; the mugs are just the right degree of dry for attaching handles the next morning. Until some critter thinks mugs are either edible or toys. One mug was laying on its side relatively undamaged. The other mug was flat on one side. When I unwrapped the plastic from that mug, I saw that whatever critter came by tore the plastic bag in several places, and left poke holes in the mug. I put handles on the mugs. I figured the Deb & Critter collaboration could live as it was.


I haven’t been able to figure out what sort of critter tried to be an artist.

As you can see, the swirl experiment isn’t working well. There may be some color differences that will be visible after glaze firing, but I’m not counting on that.

For my next swirl experiment, I mixed chocolate clay with white stoneware. Visions of chocolate swirled milk glass danced in my head.


See all the nice white swirls? Me neither.

Next experiment featured pinch pots.


These have a hint of swirl, but not what I was expecting.

I assumed that the lack of white showing was because I didn’t use enough white clay. I added more white clay before starting to build another mug this morning. No photos of that mug yet, but it looks a whole lot like the one above the pinch pots.

To give you an idea of the size of the pinch pots….


I use the textured part of the handle of a needle tool to measure how high to make my mugs.

There was one nice surprise this morning.


The first zinnia of the summer.



I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at:

7 thoughts on “Mud Experiments

  1. Hi Deb, I posted a comment & didn’t see it. I think it has to pass inspection? Then, I went back & saw place to check to get comments emailed.

    Hopefully it likes AOL since it wasn’t listed with Google etc.

    Just do BOLO for my comments. & let me know if you get them.

    I asked a few questions about your ceramic including if you thought about adding to what the critter started. You sure it’s not your cats?

    I signed as Dina Leah c this email address.

    New to this comment on blogs:)

    Diane Little or my Hebrew name: Dina Leah

    אייפון שלי


  2. I don’t see my comment & didn’t see the box to receive new comments, so 2nd post for that.

    There is definitely a learning curve posting comments.


  3. Hi Deb,

    Perhaps add to the animal markings & turn it into a design.

    Will the white show better after firing in kiln?
    Do you ever use a ceramic paint for designs?

    Love the zinnia. I used to doodle zinnias on my high school notes!
    Did you make the pot for the zinnia? Or do you need a porous pot.
    From someone with black thumb for growing:-)


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