Pit firing is one of the oldest techniques used for baking clay. The process can be traced back to thousands of years ago when pits were dug and pots were placed inside and burned. It is a fun and rewarding activity that takes some practice to get good results.
If you are eager to master the pit firing technique, then the trick lies in choosing the right clay suitable for the process. We’ll introduce you to the best clay you can use to breathe life into some amazing creations.
So, are you wondering what it would take to form myriads of colors and patterns on the surface of your creation using the pit firing technique? It depends on the quality of the clay that you use. The process of firing converts ceramic work from a weak form into a durable and strong crystalline form. Pit firing also burns the organic materials in the clay.
What is the best clay to use for pit firing? Not all clays are formulated to withstand high temperatures. If you fire the clay too high, it can result in the deformation of the clay. Poor quality clay melts at higher temperatures. It is essential to pick a type of clay that is able to withstand direct heat, like low-fire earthenware or micaceous clay.
We have thoroughly researched the best clay available for pit firing in the online market. We have carefully studied them to provide you with all the information that you need to craft beautiful pottery products. Here are the best clays available in the market today.
The Best Clays for Pit Firing
|Rocky Mountain Pottery Clay
|Earthenware, easy to work with, kid-safe
|Activa Blackjack Low Fire Clay
|White low-fire clay, can be glazed
|Laguna Clay Company Mid-Fire Pottery Clay
|Great for beginners or masters, cures white
|Bastex Low Fire Pottery Clay
|Terra cotta, 5lbs, non-toxic
|Amaco Moist Earthenware Modeling Clay
|White low-fire earthenware, 50lbs
1. Rocky Mountain Pottery Clay
This nice moist clay is basic white earthenware clay. It is ideal for creating sculptures and for throwing on the wheel.
If you are a beginner learning pottery, then you will find this clay extremely easy to work with. This versatile clay is also good for advanced pottery hobbyists.
You get 10 pounds of de-aired moist clay when you purchase this product. It is safe, moldable, and easily absorbs water.
- Ideal for throwing on wheel and sculpting
- Low-fire red terra cotta clay
- Easy to use
- Versatile clay for both advanced potters and beginners
- Safe for kids
- Easily moldable and dries quickly
- Absorbs water easily
- Dries really quickly and this property may not be appealing to everybody
2. Activa Blackjack Low-Fire Clay
This clay is a special blend of several natural clays. It has a smooth consistency and feels silky to touch.
It has been formulated especially for ensuring optimal workability. It is ideal for modeling, sculpting, wheel throwing, and craft projects.
Active Blackjack Clay has the perfect consistency for working on a range of clay projects. It is ideal for both beginners and professionals.
The clay is of superior quality and promises superior results. This clay can be fired at low temperatures. The best thing is that it can also be glazed.
This clay is preferred by professional ceramicists. It has superior strength and resists falling and sagging. Activa Products are known for their highest quality materials.
The manufacturers offer the right products for artistic expression. The products promise proven consistency and performance.
- A special blend of natural clays
- Has a silk-smooth consistency
- Ideal for modeling and sculpting
- Promises optimal workability
- Offers perfect consistency for a range of clay projects
- Ideal for both beginners and professionals
- Promises consistently superior results
- Can be glazed
- Bonds without any difficulty
- Dries and cracks in minutes
- Not an ideal clay for children
3. Laguna Clay Company Mid-Fire Pottery Clay
Laguna Clay Company is a premier manufacturer of pottery clay. The clay blends offered by them are extremely superior in comparison to other brands. It is perfect for crafting ovenware, tableware, hand-building, and throwing.
Laguna has a good absorption rate and shrinkage rate. The clay is light grey in color when wet. Upon pit firing, it assumes an off-white color upon oxidation. This clay is preferred by master potters all over the world.
This product is ideal for creativity. It delivers proven performance and consistency. This product is 100% safe to use and is non-toxic. Exceeding all testing standards, it is a high-quality product preferred by designers, crafters, and artists.
- Can be fired at low temperatures
- Dries white and can be glazed
- Ideal for craft projects, modeling, and sculpting
- Quality clay that is excellent of individuals of all skill levels
- Offers consistently superior results
- Has the perfect consistency required for executing a wide range of clay projects
- Ideal for wheel throwing
- Preferred by master potters all over the world
4. Bastex Low Fire Pottery Clay
This natural red terra cotta clay has a rich terra cotta color after firing. This clay is organic and made using non-toxic materials.
It is ideal for use in different crafts. You get five pounds of clay in this pack. It is not suitable to air dry this product as it will turn brittle after coming in contact with water.
This moist clay block acts as a natural plasticizer and has all the perfect traits desired by potters. It is 100% safe and exceeds all standards.
- High-quality material for creativity
- Has quality and consistency
- Is 100% safe and non-toxic
- Has rich terracotta color and is organic
- Acts as a natural plasticizer
- Exceeds all industry standards
- Blocks of this moist clay develop mold sometimes, but is not harmful
- Air drying renders the products designed from this clay brittle
5. Amaco Moist Earthenware Modeling Clay
This nice workable clay is suitable for hand modeling and wheel throwing. This low-fire earthenware modeling clay is ideal for white art.
It can be used for all methods of modeling. This 50-pound moist clay can be used for several purposes. It has superb plasticity and can be glazed.
- AP certified clay
- Versatile moist clay
- Ideal for a white finish
- Workable clay perfect for wheel throwing and modeling
- Offers economical value
- Versatile clay can be used for numerous purposes
- Suitable for hand modeling and wheel throwing
- Can be glazed
- Holds more air bubbles than other clays
Choosing the right kind of clay depends on what purpose you want to use the clay for. If kids are using the clay, then normally you need to go for a non-toxic and 100% safe variant. For pit firing, you need to use clay that can withstand high temperatures without cracking or melting.
You can go through the pros and cons of each variant before shortlisting one for your needs. This will help you identify which one would be the most suitable for you. If you are confused about choosing a clay variant, you can consider the ones that we have reviewed in this article. This will help you make an informed decision.
Let us know which one you chose and how it worked out for you!
Can this Clay Be Dried in a Regular Oven?
You can fire clay in a kiln or bake it in an oven as per your requirement. However, it would not be as durable as it would be after pit firing.
You can dry the products in an oven if you don’t want them to be as durable. Make sure to go through the manufacturer’s specifications to determine the suitable methods of firing your particular clay. Some clay variants either melt or explode in an oven.
Can These Clays be Used to Make Planters?
Yes. Most of the clays reviewed are suitable for making planters. You just need to follow the firing instructions in order to render the products crafted durable.
Are These Clays Non-Toxic?
Almost all of the clay variants reviewed are non-toxic and 100% safe. Most of these can be used by children as well. Most of these are sulfur-free.
Are These Sturdy?
Almost all reviewed clays are sturdy. Care must be exercised in following the appropriate firing techniques mentioned by the manufacturers. Bastex Low Fire Clay can turn brittle if you are just air drying it. The recommendations given by the manufacturers must not be ignored.
Up Next: The Best Pottery Clay for Beginners