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slipping up

updated fri 16 aug 02


Snail Scott on wed 14 aug 02

I was just reconsidering my earlier comments, about
how slipping (or glazing) greenware is best done as
soon as possible, as the absorption of the clay is
lowest while it's still wet itself. Martin had said
that his pots, when slipped leather-hard, were still
absorbing enough water to destroy the handles and
such. Well, it occurred to me that Martin lives in
a very damp place (England), while I have always
lived in desert climates. It's possible that using
the same slip, over the same clay at the same
dryness, that my slip would dry before any
significant absorption could take place, while
Martin's would sit, still damp, for long enough
that the moisture from the slip might penetrate
quite deeply into the clay. So, just 'cause it
works for me may not mean jack to him. Any
Southerners or other wet-climate dwellers out
there who can speak from a more relevant base of


Ned Ludd on fri 16 aug 02

Snail Scott wrote

>Martin had said
>that his pots, when slipped leather-hard, were still
>absorbing enough water to destroy the handles and
>such. Well, it occurred to me that Martin lives in
>a very damp place (England)

....Fiddlesticks! In fact England is no damper than, say,
Vermont, and gets much less annual rainfall than Puget Sound or
Maine, I believe. The idea that Britons go around in the fog in a
constant downpour is one of those strange but amusing ideas about the
UK often found this side of the Atlantic.

I suggest Martin try other claybodies and see if the issue clears up
with one or more of them. In England I potted with more than a few
clays, from smooth red earthenware to grogged stoneware, and seldom
saw handle problems. Certainly never as a matter of course. Yes, they
included pots with pulled handles, slipped at leatherhard or drier.

My two cents .... rule number one for handled pots that get slipped
is Pot Generously. No thin walls, no thin or thick handles. Make them
ample and comely. When you make handles, think of pleasure,
groundedness and grace.
Don't worry. Nervousness or struggle makes for weak pots.

Some clay bodies _are_ better than others for doing pulled handles
which stand up well to the slip treatment. How to find out? Look for
potters who do slipped handles well, and ask them about their clay
and process. Something they may tell you might help. Else, it's trial
and error - and doggedness.
If you find the same problem with all the clays, either the standard
of commercial clays for studio potters in Britain has gone to the
dogs, or you need to change your technique.

good luck