Laguna Clay
By Doug Kassebaum

Perhaps the most powerful feature of a hand-made ceramic piece is how it makes visible and durable the processes that created it. There, frozen perpetually are the potter’s finger mark, the sculptor’s knuckle, the glaze’s patina, and the form of the clay. Each remnant of the process is left intentionally, and the artist’s expression relies on this maxim: the artist must know the materials, and she must know their limits. Knowing the limits of the materials comes with years of work with clay, from repeated successes and failures. Materials that are predictable and consistent complement this mastery of technique, so that the artist may concentrate on pushing their limits, not redefining them. For this reason ceramic artists generally prefer blended clay bodies over local clays.

Traditionally, ceramists have dug their clay by hand from naturally occurring deposits in the region. Even today,

enthusiasts are uncovering clays with outstanding qualities. However, these deposits are generally small and varied, making consistency over time impossible. In addition, the clay in these deposits must be extracted by hand, transported, and hand-worked in preparation for use.

"Traditionally, ceramists have dug their clay by hand from naturally occurring deposits in the region."

Blended clays take advantage of components mined across the U.S. and the world. Each mine strives for the greatest possible consistency in its production. Once the components are collected at a manufacturer such as Laguna Clay Company, they are blended 

to create clay bodies with a wide range of properties. Whiteness, color, plasticity, firing temperature, resistance to temperature change, and porosity are some of the principal characteristics that can be adjusted to suit the needs of the user. And when these characteristics are suitable, they can be reproduced year after year. All of the clay bodies are packed in manageable quantities, ready for transport to the studio and immediate use.

Laguna Clay offers over 50 different stock clay bodies, a palette that fulfills the requirements of most every application. For ceramists who have unusual processes or specific color needs, Laguna produces custom blends. Either way, the goal is the same: to provide the artist with a consistent, predictable material supply that will allow him to focus on the possibilities of the material, and the remnants he leaves in it.