Feldspar is commonly used to make dinnerware and tiles, but crafters also use Feldspar as a flux for glass production and ceramics. Feldspar works well as a flux material to lower the melting temperature of another material. In 2022, the Feldspar mining market is expected to each up to two billion dollars due to the growing demand for mining, improving technologies, and emerging markets. However, the production of Feldspar does face obstacles such as worker safety and industry regulations.
What Is Feldspar?
Feldspar is actually a group of minerals containing alumina and silica, including aluminum silicates of lime, soda, or potassium. Feldspar is the single most abundant mineral group on Earth, accounting for approximately 60% of soils, clays, and exposed rocks, and makes up principal components in rock classification schemes.
History Of Feldspar Mining
Mining history for Feldspar dates back to 1874, when General George Armstrong Custer led an expedition into the Dakota Territory. In the Black Hills, General Custer and the 7th Calvary discovered gold as they were camping next to a small stream. Here the mining town of Custer, South Dakota, began, and in 1928 the first Feldspar milling operation opened for business. Now, high-quality Feldspar is still being produced from the rich ore deposits and pegmatite of the Black Hills mines and many states across the country.
How Feldspar Is Mined
Feldspar is mined from massive bodies of granite, sands, and pegmatites. Pegmatites are formed during the final fluid stages of crystallizing granite. The granite becomes concentrated in small vapor-rich pockets and liquid that promote the growth of very large crystals.
Because Feldspar is a significant component of the Earth's crust, its supply is more than adequate to meet demand. Hard-rock mining of Feldspars is primarily done by open-pit methods by contractors and mine owners. Once the Feldspar ore is drilled and blasted, it undergoes a secondary breakage with a conventional drop ball. The ore is then loaded onto trucks using hydraulic shovels and hauled to a crushing plant that is usually located next to the flotation plant.
Substitutes For Feldspar
Even though Feldspar is a primary material used in high-end glass making and ceramics, it can be substituted with alternative sources. Minerals that can be replaced for Feldspar include clays, pyrophyllite, talc, and quartz mixtures. However, the abundance of Feldspar makes substitutions unnecessary for crafters for the foreseeable future. When working with pottery and glass, Feldspar is still one of the best choices of materials.
Finding unique items to collect and put into your home should be one of your top priorities. If you want one-of-a-kind decorative items for your residence, then you need to think about investing in custom-made pottery and coasters. The same process used to make these items is also used to make decorative shawl buttons and pins.
Every year, consumers in the United States spend billions of dollars on ceramic products. As a pottery enthusiast, finding out more about the processes used to create these items is a good idea. Raku pottery is extremely popular around the world. Read below to find out more about this process and how it is used to create breathtakingly beautiful bowls, pins and buttons.
What is Raku Pottery?
Roku pottery is a process that requires a kiln to be heated up much faster than traditional Kiln firings. Once the material reaches these higher temperatures, the potter will remove the piece while it still has its molten orange hue. After the piece is removed from the kiln, it is put into a container with combustible substances like sawdust. By placing the hot pottery piece in these conditions, the potter is able to create unique textures and colors on the surface.
Where Did Raku Pottery Originate?
In the 16th century, the Japanese invented the process of making Raku pottery. The main purpose of the development of this process was to promote the beauty of the pieces being created. Traditionally, potters that used the Raku method would shape them by hand rather than using a wheel. This handcrafted approach gave these pieces more beauty and individuality.
The Raku wares constructed in Japan are still some of the most highly-valued and sought-after items in the ceramics world. Over the years, Raku potter has been considered the embodiment of Zen, which is why it is so desirable to collectors.
What Does Raku Mean?
The rough translation of the Japanese word Raku means “happiness in the accident”. Many Japanese elders believed that Raku was a process of achieving enlightenment. They believed that the tea bowl used during this process represented the Earth. These same elders believed that the heating process used to make Raku pottery was representative of enlightenment.
The Clays Used For Raku Firing
As any pottery enthusiast knows, the quality of clay used during the crafting of a piece is extremely important. In reality, any type of clay can be used during the Raku firing process. However, there are specially designed clays designed specifically for Raku.
Typically, Raku clay has much better thermal shock resistance and a lower shrinkage rate. Using the right glazes is also crucial when trying to create Raku pottery pieces. Usually, low-fire glazes are used during this process. If you are buying Raku pieces from a reputable potter, they will use the materials mentioned here to craft their works of art.
Now that you know more about Raku pottery, it is time to check out the pieces offered by LickinFlames.
Many people may not realize that pottery can be made from different types of clay, each having unique properties that produce an intended result when used. Each type of clay consists of different colors, flexibilities, and textures that determine uses, color, firing temperature, and yielded results. With the various types of clay available on the market, knowing what you are buying will help ensure your next project is successful. Let's take a closer look at thefour types of clay used in pottery and the intended use of each.
The oldest and most commonly used clay is Earthenware clay. Earthenware clay is very beginner-friendly as it is high in plasticity. This type of clay is primarily found in warm colors such as red, brown, grey, and orange, which show well after being fired. Artists like to work with Earthenware clay as it is easily decorated withpaints and glazes. Sculptors find Earthenware clay precious and versatile, unable to be had sculpted or wheel-thrown. However, if the finished product freezes, it can crack.
Ball clays are highly plastic and contain minimal impurities and a high percentage of quartz. Because ball clays occur naturally as sediments and have very fine minerals, they tend to lose color on firing. At the greenware stage, ball clays may be grey then obtain a light buff color after firing. When appropriately fired, some may produce a white hue, which makes it a famous clay among potters. Ball clays are also used in floor tiles, vases, and tableware.
Stoneware clays have stone-like qualities and are rigid, nonporous, and moderately plastic. These clays vary in grey, white, and brown colors when wet. Firing temperature affects the final color of the product. Containing small amounts of mica and quartz, stoneware clays are easily worked and painted with underglazes, glazes, overglazes, and enamels. Stoneware clays are a popular material for tableware and are suited for both hand-building and wheel throwing.
Porcelain, or China, clays are popular in dinnerware. These clays are the least plastic of the four types of clay; hence they are pretty challenging to work with. Porcelain clays are created with a large amount of mineral kaolin, giving them a very light greyish tone at the greenware stage. After firing, porcelain clays are white to off-white and can be glazed with enamels. Also known as kaolin clays, porcelain clays fire at high temperatures and produce hard water-resistant products.
When choosing the suitable clay for your next project, consider the character of each of these four clays to ensure you select the right materials for your needs.
Jim writes most of the dribble for our Banter. Sometimes it's serious, but often not...then, neither is Jim