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same clay slip trailing

updated fri 17 apr 98


Wilkinson on wed 15 apr 98

We have a finely grogged or smooth red clay that fires to ^06 - 02 and
would like to use that same clay to slip trail or write on the thrown or
hand built piece. We do not intend to glaze it so therefore want to use
the same clay body. My question is what do I add to the clay and water mix
to keep it in suspension and at the same time it will stand up in relief
and not change color or pop off? Any thoughts? TIA

Lori Wilkinson
Tim & Lori Wilkinson

Cindy on thu 16 apr 98


I have done what you're proposing, only with stoneware clay. I see no
reason it won't work on your clay as well, though, you'll have to find that
out for sure by experimenting, of course. I use throwing slurry, dried to
thicken, or clay dust mixed with water. Because I want my "slip trailing"
to hold its shape (actually, I think this technique is called "tube
lining"), I mix to a fairly thick consistency--I'd say about the
consistency of clabbered cream. To apply, I use a cake decorating bag and
couplings and round tip. Of course, if you want to get fancy, you can use
other decorator tips, but I've never used any other than the round one.
Didn't want to make too much of a cake of myself.

If the slip is difficult to squeeze out of the bag, you have it too thick.
It should be barely thick enough to hold its shape. Oh yes, don't forget to
sieve it. Nothing worse than lumps **shooting** out at high speed. If you
do make a mistake, just wipe it off with a damp sponge. The slip should be
applied at the barely leather hard stage if possible, but not before
applying handles, knobs, etc. If you do have to apply the decoration to
dryer clay, I find it helps to spray the surface lightly with vinegar,
apply decoration, then cover and dry s-l-o-w-l-y.

Because the tube lining holds its shape so well, you may find strings which
do not touch the walls of the pot. Gently nudge them into place with a damp
finger or sponge. Ends of lines can tend to come to sharp points. When the
piece is bone dry, sand *very* gently with fine steel wool. Obviously, you
must avoid any pressure on the dried tube lining until the piece is fired.

Cindy Strnad
Earthen Vessels
Custer, SD