I was forced to make one big change. My claybody was a mixture of two clays, and one of them became very difficult to buy, due to supply shortages caused by the pandemic. My clay was still being produced, but the manufacturer could not produce several of their more popular clays, and therefore they would not make any shipments to my local supplier. Last fall, while I was still hopeful that the supply issues would be solved quickly, I had the manufacturer mail me 100 pounds of clay, just to tide me over for a few weeks. The postage cost as much as the clay.
So I had my speckles back and the glazes fluxing (almost) the same as before. I was still nervous about the color being slightly different. Would customers notice? Or care? It turned out I was way too close to the situation to be able to judge that clearly. I made over 450 pots for my first two shows of 2022, using the new clay. I sold all but five of them. I guess the slight difference in color is something only I can see. (Or it’s just in my head.)
Going forward, it’s possible I will switch back to the old clay, if the supply problems get worked out. The new clay does not present a shortage problem, but it does require a special order through my local supplier, which takes some lead time. (btw, my local supplier, Clayworks Supplies in Baltimore, was really awesome to work with through all of these tribulations. No doubt they were going the extra mile for countless other customers too.) Mixing in the manganese speckles also takes some extra work. So the old clay is more efficient, but only if it’s available. The way I see it, I have two good options now, which provides some insurance during times when supply chains are unstable.