by David G. Wright

Neuman Clay

I began using red burning clays after my experience in graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. In fact, the word "Colorado" is Spanish for "red or reddish". The landscape of the desert Southwest has always held a tremendous fascination for me since I was very young! I knew it would affect my artwork, but I was unsure of how or when.

Several years later, I found myself living in New Jersey to be close to my family, but longing to be near the desert southwest. My desire to be in the Southwest manifested itself by developing clay bodies that provided me the color, texture, and feeling of that region. I began my search for a deep reddish color, cone six, oxidation fired, throwing body with good working qualities.

To get a red clay at high temperature though, I needed a primary clay that was reddish, so I tried Redart, but quickly learned that it only gave me browns. I then remembered as a student, using a red clay called PBX Valentine fireclay. Unfortunately, PBX was no longer available, so I needed an alternative.

I found a clay called Neuman Red, mined in Sacramento, by H. C. Muddox. *Neuman has a bright orange color and is very refractory, having a PCE (Pyrometric Cone Equivalent) of 19-20. Although, the company considers it a ball clay, as 41.7% of its particle size is -200 mesh, the dry clay feels toothy like a fireclay.

Using a combination of Neuman Red clay with Redart clay I quickly achieved the results I wanted. Neuman provided the color while the Redart made the clay vitrified. The Redart, which would normally go brown, was now able to stay a terra cotta color at higher temperatures.

At the same time, my friend and teacher Bill Daley, was also in search of a red clay. Bill had already developed a red vitrified stoneware using PBX in 1973, as a result of a commission he had received from the Ritz Theater in Philadelphia. He was interested in matching the red brick structure, so he had to develop a red clay body that could withstand the elements, since it would be outdoors. Up to that point, Bill had been using a brown colored clay body that was fired in a reduction atmosphere. He found himself enjoying the new red clay color and also liked the consistency of oxidation firing. At the time, no one else was using a high temperature red stoneware, and it made Bill's pots even more distinctive and original.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before PBX had stopped being mined, so Bill along with many others, had to change his clay formula to something else. I began using the Neuman clay in 1993 and introduced Bill to it soon after. We did a lot of tests and shared our information, developing the D/W body listed below. Bill ultimately refined his own clay body using more Redart clay for greater vitrification and a darker color.

Other Claybodies

I tested many clay bodies afterward for cone's one through six, as I liked to work at a variety of temperatures. As I tested, I became more and more interested in the many types of clays I discovered. I was fascinated by the variety of color and texture of the clays available. Like the desert Southwest landscape, I wanted clays that were rich and warm, but that could be produced consistently in an oxidation atmosphere.

In the end, I developed a variety of different reddish clay bodies using this combination. Along the way, I discovered clay bodies that were not only red, but also orange, tan, brown, chocolate, white and maroon. I have shared these clay bodies with countless students, who along with myself have had great success using them. I would like to share these recipes with Ceramics Monthly readers.

* A chemical analysis of Neuman Red along with other information can be found in Bulletin #99, by Waldimer Dietrick, at the Bureau of Clay Resources and Ceramics Industry of California.

Neuman/Redart Claybodies


Neuman Fireclay 40A red burning stoneware that is better for hand

RedArt30building than for use on the wheel.


Ball 10

Total          100%

Bentonite 2%

Fine Grog   5%

Barium Carb.  1%


Neuman35This is my current body. It has a nice color and is

RedArt30very forgiving!


Ball clay10

Total         100%

Bentonite  2%

Barium Carb.  1%


REDART 120This is Bill Daley"s current body based on our

Neuman  80original D/W body, it is less red, but as tight as a

Fireclay  60drum at cone six oxidation.

Ball 40

Total           300%

Grog  10%

Bar. Carb.  1%


Neuman 40Beautiful Orange-Red, but not as tight as the

RedArt  25others. Perhaps 3-4% absorption at cone six.

Fireclay             25

Ball   10

Total           100%

2% Bentonite

5% -120 Molochite

1% Barium Carbonate


Redart40Deep rich Maroon Red. Very tight at cone six.

Neuman40It is extremely short, but good for sculpture.

Ball  10

Flint  10

Total           100%

Add: Bar. Carb.  1%


Neuman5013% Shrinkage and 3% Absorption at cone six.

Redart20A little more red than Wright "RED" Stone, but not

Ball10as plastic either.

Neph. Syn.10


Total         100%

Add:Fine Grog  5%

Bentonite  3%

Barium Carb.  1%


Neuman1/3 by weightMy best throwing body.

Redart1/3Deep reddish color and very tight!

Ball clay1/3

1% Barium Carbonate

Grog optional


Chocolate Body C/1-4

RedArt Clay      50 lbs.A fairly good throwing body with

Ball Clay        20 lbs.moderate dry strength. Fires to a sweet

Barnard Clay    20 lbs.milk chocolate color with about 2%

Fireclay        10 lbs.absorbtion at cone one oxidation.

Total     100 lbs.

Bentonite 2%

Bar. Carb. 1%

RED Throwing Body C/1-4

RedArt Clay      70 lbs.A fairly plastic body for throwing or

Ball Clay         20 lbs.handbuilding. A good, tight body, with 2%

Fireclay         10 lbs.absorption at cone one. A Red-Brown color in

           Total      100 lbs.            oxidation. An addition of 10% Neph. Syn.

                                                                     will increase vitrification, but darkens

Bentonite 2% the color considerably.

Bar. Carb. 1%            

#18 RED C/1-4

RedArt Clay  80 lbs.A smooth, short body for throwing.

Ball Clay    10  lbs.A deep Red that gets darker when heat

Flint    10  lbs.            increases. Beautiful deep red at C/4.

           Total  100 lbs

Bentonite 2%

Bar. Carb. 1%

David's Toast Body C1-4

RedArt Clay     100 lbs.            A high iron, very workable clay for

Ball Clay       100  lbs. throwing and handbuilding. A Toasty

Fireclay         50  lbs. brown color in oxidation.

Barnard Clay     50  lbs.

  Total     300 lbs

Bentonite 2%

Bar. Carb. 1%

Grey Stone C/1-4

Six Tile Kaolin30 lbs.I use this clay on occasion. It works well

Fireclay30 lbs.and has a lovely grey color.

Ball Clay20 lbs.

Neph. Syenite10 lbs.* Iron Chromate is not very healthy to breathe!

Flint  5 lbs.* Try to work wet and keep down the dust!

Fritt 3124  5 lbs.

       Total      100 lbs.

Add: 2% Bentonite

Add: 10% Iron Chromate*

Add: 5% Alberta Slip

Other Claybodies for Cones 5-6


Ball Clay 125 lbs.A nice all purpose clay!

Fireclay100 lbs.

Redart   75 lbs.

Total              300lbs.

Plus: 5% Fine Grog


Six Tile Kaolin    125This sweet white porcelain is my favorite!

Kaopaque 20            25

Ball Clay    20

Neph. Syn.     65

Flint 200m    65

         Total    300

Plus:Talc   5%

Veegum-T   1.5%


Six Tile Kaolin    100This porcelain is short but fun to work with, as it is 

Silica Sand    100extremelyrough and toothy and has a nice textured

Nepheline Syenite     50           surface.

Flint      50

Total   300

Plus: Talc    5%

Bentonite    3%

TOASTY STONEWAREA nice all purpose toasty warm stoneware for

RedArt1/3  by weightelectric firing.

Ball clay1/3


Grog optional


Neuman Clay