The clays we use to make our pottery are Stoneware, Earthenware and Porcelain. Each clay body is made of a mixture of several different clays in one recipe. Kind of like making a cake. The clays come from all over the Southeast and the Midwest depending on what clays are needed for each recipe. Some of the clays are dug on our family's land not far away from the Pottery, the same place Ben Sr. dug clay.
The purpose for using differnt types of clay bodies is to take advantage of special properties of each. Some of our glazes are fired to high temperatures and certain clays will withstand the extreme heat. They also will be more durable. Other clays, such as Earthenware, will need to be fired at lower temperatures due to the high level of iron present in the clay. Iron can act as a melting agent and cause the earthenware clay to melt and eventually slump in the kiln. The Chinese Red glaze needs to be fired at a low temperature and works well on the Earthenware.
Another reason for choosing certain clays is for color. Stoneware clays will be tan to grey-brown when finished. Salt glaze works well with these colors of clay because the color of the glaze is actually from the clay color. Porcelain is a white to off-white clay and some glazes will be more intense on the white background.