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Saturdays With Sharleen - Red Clay

Hello Everyone...Happy Saturday.  I always look forward to the weekends as a time that I can work/play, uninterrupted, in my clay!

When I was trying to decide what to write about today, I remembered a post a few months back on the BOC Yahoo chat.  A newbie was asking, what kind of clay should I use?  A mention was made about red clay.  To which another BOC member responded "I don't know why anyone would want to use red clay."  So I thought that would be a good topic.  Why do I sometimes use red clay?

I like the look of fired, unglazed red clay.  I don't like the way it looks by itself, with clear glaze over it. But, with other glazed colors next to it, it can be beautiful.  Especially with blue, which creates a complimentary color scheme of blue/orange; the color really pops.

Using colored glazes over red clay gives a whole new look to the glazes.  The red clay dulls the colors of the glazes, and without any effort at all, other than changing the clay one is using, a whole new color palette opens up.

Here are some pictures of a few pieces I have made with red clay.

Red clay bead; with turquoise, green and blue underglaze, wiped off the raised areas to let the red clay show, and glazed with clear.

This is the reverse side of the above bead.

Another bead like the last one, but with a different texture.

Red clay beads with dark green underglaze and clear glaze.

Red clay bead with underglaze and some crystal glazes on top.

I left a lot of the red clay showing on this ornament, on the tree and also on the border.

I made this pendant a few years ago.  I rolled out the red clay, dabbed on underglazes and then added texture.  I glazed it with translucent matte.


  1. I like using red clays with unglazed sections as well...actually, I just bought a lovely reddish brown specifically for that so this was a very timely post for me...thank you!

  2. I love using red clay. For the same reasons. I just love how it changes the glazes. Deepens them, warms them. Lovely.

  3. Happy Saturday, Sharleen! I agree about the red clay, lots of palette options and left unglazed it's simply luscious! Beautiful examples!

  4. Ooohhh… I do love the way the clay looks peeking through. And that you also used a clear glaze in addition to the colored glaze in the areas you wiped the colored glaze away - keeps a consistent look… Beautiful work! So are these low fire? I've been dabbling with a Cone 6 Chocolate clay which I'm really loving too… Ahhh - colored clays! Great post!

  5. Fun to learn this! I don't realize all the potential clays that are out there, so this is fun to know.
    Enjoy the day!

  6. Yes Marsha, it is low fire red that I have used. I'd like to try the chocolate brown sometime too. My kiln doesn't fire high. I have a Groupon to play at a studio near me. Maybe that will be my project there...brown clay.

  7. One of my favorite combinations - I love how the red clay shows through the glaze. Very nice.

  8. Love how you have shown us so many ways that red clay can be used to advantage in beads and pendants. All are lovely. Thanks you so much for sharing these with us.


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