Welcome to DMS and doubly so to Fired Arts!
Clay and glazes:
For the hobbyist potter in the DFW, your best bets are Trinity Ceramics in Dallas and American in Fort Worth. I personally recommend Trinity to all new and returning folks. They know most of the local studios and if you need any help in shopping, just let Kay or Conor know that you are firing at DMS.
Our community firings are cone 04/05 bisque and cone 6 glaze. So Cone 6 is a good beginning selection. The stonewares Fire great at 6 and are a good basic clay. I’m going to throw a bit of opinion out really quickly, I am not personally fond of the cone 6 porcelain Frost. I love porcelain but Frost is tricky to dry, throws well mind you, but prone to weird cracks. You have to dry it very, very slowly. My cone 6 alternative of choice is T-Mix, no grog and it fires pretty darn white. Throws beautifully as well. There are several more cone 6 clays available at Trinity that will give you an assortment of colors/effects. For glazes, again, a good place to start is with mid-fire glazes. Some glaze suppliers muddy the waters by using ‘High Fire’ to mean 6 while most consider ‘High Fire’ to be 9+. Ignore the text and check for the cone range to be sure. Amaco 5/6 glazes are a nice place to start as they have a detailed website and a strong community so you can find a lot of information/photos or results. Their Celadon line is formulated to be mixed (which is novel in glazes) and their Potter’s Choice line runs deep and can be layered for fantastic results. Spectrum, Coyote and Mayco also have excellent glazes, I use them all!
If you find Trinty’s hours difficult to manage, you are not alone! My availability for the next two weeks is poor, but in general, I can usually make a trip out there during the day to pick up bigger orders for folks, just drop me a line before you call so we can coordinate schedules. Another option is to revel in home delivery with Clay King and Big Ceramics online. They both have great prices on glaze and frequent sales that make new tools extra appealing. If you reach certain order totals, shipping is free for most items.
You’ve joined at an excellent time! We are working to grow our clay and glass community and group activities. Committee meetings are the first step to find out what all is going on and to meet people (4/24 @8). Thursday evenings can be a weird time to work with all the tours, but you’ll also get a chance to talk to folks. There has been a lot of discussion DMS-wide of having committee ‘Office Hours’ and I think that s a great idea. Definitely something for us to discuss in the next comm. meeting. In general, if you are looking for a quiet time to work - mornings are excellent. If you are looking to work alongside others and have a groovy communal studio vibe going on, evenings are your better bet!
If you have any other questions, please let us know. We have a delight of artists back in Fired Arts, if whomever you grab doesn’t have the answer, they’ll find someone that does!