Potters often blend several clays to get the right properties. On the other hand, crude ground fireclay, china clay (kaolin) fine sand, and/or grog reduce plasticity (make it less sticky and shrink less).
I regularly add some common brick clay to add character to my pottery.
Color and iron spots look more natural and give a warmer feeling.
Some Native American potters make beautiful polished black pottery from self-dug clay.
Black is achieved by smothering the fire at the end with ashes so that no air reaches the hot pottery and the carbon from remaining fuel blackens the pottery.
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Updated July 7, 2016, Marvin Bartel author bio Please visit to see my artwork and many other related topics.FIRING WITHOUT A KILN Kilns were invented to contain heat to reach higher temperature with less fuel.In tribal settings it is traditional to use an outdoor bonfire type of firing that is fueled with enough wood kindling under the pottery to exceed red glowing heat during the burn. Many cities and communities are very strict about open fires. The 'unkiln' firing begins with a pile of dry kindling wood. A stack of pottery is carefully piled on top of the kindling wood.Typically, tribal pottery is not glazed and is fired without kilns.Sometimes the potters use colored and white clay (slip) to decorate.Clay becomes pottery at temperatures at about 1,000 degrees F (the beginning of glowing red heat - about 540 C).