When I first became interested in ceramics one of the things I wanted to try was formulating my own glaze. I did not know anything about the chemistry and even how to go about it. So to start I read a book by Mimi Obstler on glaze rate materials and ceramic surface, which title excites me even now: Out of the Earth into the Fire. The author describes the heat transformation of the glaze and the clay body as formation of magma. She is telling me the inside my electric kiln there is a small living world of the earth's interior.
Clay is a fantastic material that I think everyone should try. It is such an intimate material that lets me play with the fundamental elements of the world we live in - the water, the earth, the fire and the metal. Working with clay is a collaborative work with these elements.