Architectural terra cotta is a general term for ceramic sculpture that is specifically designed for the inclusion in an architectural setting (ceramics for buildings). The clay that I use is specially formulated to allow for the creation of large sculptures that can withstand the stresses of the kiln as well as the abuse of the elements and general populace. If you have experimented with creating sculptures in clay you will know that it can be a challenge to get the finished creation dried and fired without it warping or cracking in the kiln. Architectural terra cotta typically has a high percentage of aggregate (like the gravel in concrete) which makes it resistant to shrinking and warping. Although well-suited for large-scale sculptures, our clay is terrible for throwing on the wheel – you would be hard-pressed to make even an ashtray with our “SG TC Special Reserve”.
The colors on the surface of the sculptures are a result of ceramic slips which are fused to the sculpture in the firings. These colors are highly durable (they are fired to 2000 degrees F in the initial firing) and will conceivably remain vivid for life of the sculpture (think of the ceramics from Pompeii). Guaranteed to last for thousands of years – especially if entombed in volcanic ash.