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Pottery, Clay and Ceramics: Decorating with Slip

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Forum: Pottery, Clay and CeramicsReplies: 24, Views: 179
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ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

February 26, 2012
5:53 AM

Post #9020364

Ever use slip to decorate your pottery? It's really kinda fun, I put the slip in a sqeese bottle and drip it on. Makes for neat textures, I like to use celedon glazes over these.

Here are some pics of a few things I made yesterday (still wet) and a bowl I made a long time ago.

Thumbnail by ItsMeChrissy   Thumbnail by ItsMeChrissy
Click an image for an enlarged view.

mommacat11
Stafford, VA
(Zone 7a)

February 26, 2012
10:08 AM

Post #9020684

ILOVE the effects the slip makes!! It looks GREAT!!!!!
Deb
Anniesfollies
Carlsbad, CA
(Zone 10b)

February 26, 2012
11:13 AM

Post #9020760

The slip designs are so simple but lovely. It adds a very nice dimension.

I'm so glad you posted this now as I've been planning on making a set of individual appetizer dishes as a gift and have been stalling while I debated how to decorate - with glaze or by carving out a pattern. But since they'll be used for food the carved out sections would collect dried food and might be hard to clean so I think using slip will be just what I want. And the way you've done your designs is random so there are no mistakes, thus something my tremmory hands could do.

Have you ever mixed the slip with glaze or glaze powder to add color to the slip? Somewhere I've got an article bookmarked about doing this but where oh where . . .
Plants4myPots
Palm Bay, FL
(Zone 9b)

February 28, 2012
6:33 AM

Post #9023062

Slip is such a fun way to decorate pottery!

I usually color my slip with Mason stains and just brush it on, but the trailing technique you use is super fun too. If you get powdered slip it's easier to mix the powdered Mason stains in it, and experiment with how "rich" you want the color to be. Usually 10% of the weight of the slip will get pretty vibrant results.
ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

February 28, 2012
2:52 PM

Post #9023646

I've never colored my slip but I have bought some black slip that I plan on using some day :-)

One thing to note is that if you do little dots with the slip (like on the finished peice in my picture) make sure not to leave them pointy (sometimes they want to look like hershey kisses) because the points can be real sharp -- but it's an easy fix must dab the dots lightly with your finger right after applying the slip. (or if you forget you can sand the pointy tips off before or after bisque firing)
friendofcat
Seattle, WA

February 29, 2012
10:06 AM

Post #9024576

sounds great but what is slip?
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

February 29, 2012
11:00 AM

Post #9024605

Slip is just a term for liquified clay. Slip is used for joining wet clay pieces together. It can be as simple as clay mixed with water to form the right consistency. To use for decorating, often slip will have colorants added. There are recipes for special slips, just like glazes. When used for decorating, slip is typically painted onto greenware (unfired clay pieces).

Some forms of slip are called "engobe" or "terra sigillata". Terra sigillata is specifically formulated for polishing to a high gloss in the greenware state, and then fired and left unglazed.
ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

February 29, 2012
11:10 AM

Post #9024626

Slip is clay suspended in water, usually the consistency of thick cream. May be colored and used to decorate surfaces, or may be cast into plaster molds to create ceramic forms.

You can make your own slip by soaking dryed out clay in a lot of water and running it thru a strainer to get rid of lumps or you can purchase it at any ceramic supply company.

Here's more on Slip: If you haven't decorated with slips, you're missing out. One of the benefits is that the slips stay put, so designs don't blur or run, unlike many glazes. This also means you can make textures in the slip that will stay exactly as you made them. And you can make designs that won't work with glazes since glazes need multiple coats (ie splattering.) You can squeeze slip out of a bottle into designs (slip trailing) and use it for sgraffito (coat with slip then scratch designs in the slip exposing the raw clay.) (Note: sometimes decorating slips are called engobes, and the terminology isn't tightly defined; they are generally the same thing.) Slips are best applied to leatherhard greenware, but may be used on bisque also. They may be used on low-fire and high-fire clay. The slip must be similar to the clay however, so the shrinkage between the two is similar and the slip doesn't crack or peel off.

denimangle
Oakwood (Butler,TX), TX
(Zone 8b)

March 1, 2012
5:10 AM

Post #9025510

OH MY another fun thing to play with .. note to self add to list of things to try :)
mommacat11
Stafford, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 11, 2012
8:02 PM

Post #9038823

Evening all,
I just placed yet another order with CLay King.. I should have stock in that place... anyway... I ordered some colored slip.
Question... do I use it when the clay is wet... leather hard.. or after it has been greenware fired to bisque?

Love you all! :-)

deb
denimangle
Oakwood (Butler,TX), TX
(Zone 8b)

March 11, 2012
8:15 PM

Post #9038842

good question Deb .. Id like to know too :)
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

March 11, 2012
9:52 PM

Post #9038944

Leather hard.
ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

March 12, 2012
5:08 AM

Post #9039084

Slip is most often applied to leather hard, but you can also apply to wet pottery (but not bisque or dry greenware) the dripping I did in the bowls pictured in original thread were done on freshly thrown bowls, I do it then 'cause I tend to forget that's what I wanted to do and if the peice gets too dry you're out of luck.

Have fun!
mommacat11
Stafford, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 12, 2012
7:21 PM

Post #9040311

OK got it..leatherhard..
what about wax resist???
Deb
ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

March 13, 2012
4:35 AM

Post #9040653

Slip is just extra wet clay so if, for some reason, you have slip on the bottom of the pot it doesnt have to be wax resisted when you bisque fire. It isn't really needed when using slip at all unless you wanted to use it when creating your design (whereever you put the wax resist, the slip should not stick)
Hope that answered your question.

Ohh, ohh... I saw a video recenly where a guy made a pot using darker clay, when it was leather hard he layed some wet leaves on it (they stuck) he then applied a white slip all over the pot, let it dry a bit (but not totally) then using his pin needle he removed the leaves so that the darker clay showed where they had been. It was a really cool effect! You could possibly use wet news paper cut into shapes (instead of the leaves) or stickers of some sort but I'm not sure if theyed pull off as easily; would have to play around with that :-) .

mommacat11
Stafford, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 13, 2012
5:05 PM

Post #9041622

HUH?????
My wax resist will be delivered tomorrow... HOW does it work??
Deb
ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

March 14, 2012
3:45 AM

Post #9042067

wax resist = Melted wax or wax emulsion used to prevent slip or glaze from adhering to a clay surface, either in decorating, or in preparing work for glazing.

Most common use of wax resist is to apply on the bottom of pots to ensure no glaze sticks there allowing you to set the pot directly on the kiln shelf when glaze firing and it won't stick to the shelf.

But it can also be used to decorate, you can first glaze with one color then apply wax resist in some sort of design and glaze again in a second color, whereever the wax was the original color will appear, elsewhere it'll be a blend fo the two colors. Or you an put wax resist diercly on the pot before glazing and the actual pot/clay will show whereever that wax was.

When I make my animal figures, I glaze the small features (eyes, beaks, etc) then put wax resist over that glaze 'just in case' I bump it with the brush while painting the body. This makes it so I can wipe any 'accidents' off of these leaving the original glaze in place.
imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

March 14, 2012
10:41 AM

Post #9042535

I typically use wax resist on bisque when I'm working with multiple glazes and I don't want the glazes to blend. But it can also be used on greenware. There's a fantastic technique called "cuerda seca" that uses thin lines of black-tinted wax to keep glazes from blending on (usually earthenware) tiles so the designs are really crisp. The black colorant stays on the tiles and looks almost like grout lines. Of course you can do the same thing with untinted wax, too.

A reminder that the wax put on the bottom of the pot before glazing doesn't do actually anything to keep the pot from sticking----it just keeps the glaze off that area, or causes it to bead up. The bottom still has to be wiped off to remove any glaze that may be on top of the wax. I see students struggle with that concept, as they think the wax does something in firing, but of course it just melts off almost immediately when the heat comes on.

The downside of wax is that if you get it on bisque somewhere you don't want it, it's almost impossible to get off. Sometimes I've been able to melt most of it off with a small torch, but there's always a residue until the pot is fired. I've had to reglaze more than one pot because I accidentally got wax somewhere I didn't want it.
ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

July 19, 2012
12:53 PM

Post #9211579

Just read this today and thought of this conversation so decided to share:

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-decorating-techniques/slip-trailing-for-beginners-a-primer-on-a-great-ceramics-decorating-technique/

The article is just "OK" (IMO could have a bit more detail)

but I really enjoyed reading all the comments :-)
Plants4myPots
Palm Bay, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 7, 2012
6:19 AM

Post #9232788

Chrissy, didjya glaze any of those new bowls yet? I'm curious about the one in the bottom right of the pic... that's my favorite pattern out of the three in the pic!
ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

August 7, 2012
7:51 AM

Post #9232890

The bowls are glazed and in the kiln right now!!! I believe I used a green celadon on all 3 of them, but could be wrong about that as I did the actual glazing a couple months ago. I was waiting for it to cool off a bit before firing up the kiln (gave up on waiting but the forecast of 89 is better than the high 90s/low 100s we had a few weeks ago!)

In the kiln I also have 2 piggy banks, about 5 chicken pitchers, a platter and 4 small plates and a ton of test tiles, can't wait to open 'er up! Just fired it up this morning so should be able to remove them within the next 24-36 hours!

ItsMeChrissy
Union Grove, WI
(Zone 5b)

August 21, 2012
4:46 AM

Post #9248601

Ok.. here they are all fired, sorry it took so long to take the pic and post.

Thumbnail by ItsMeChrissy
Click the image for an enlarged view.

imapigeon
Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA
(Zone 9a)

August 21, 2012
5:15 PM

Post #9249422

Really like the color you chose---it brings out the slip decoration beautifully.
Luvmypond
Troy, OH

August 23, 2012
2:31 AM

Post #9250835

Really nice. Yes, the color was a great choice.
Plants4myPots
Palm Bay, FL
(Zone 9b)

September 5, 2012
4:45 AM

Post #9265477

Nice! Can't go wrong with a great celedon-y green!

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