Kate Johnson on thu 27 jan 05
Hi all--for those who are following my advenures into the past of pottery, I
put up some photos of my recent experiments with the 18th C. style slip
trailers that I made a few weeks ago. They photos are in the Pottery in
Progress album at
(The duck one was just me being playful with the effigy
concept, I haven't really seen one made that way.)
I tried experimenting on styrofoam plates to trail onto, so I could reclaim
the slip as someone suggested, but the surface was too slick to get the
proper edge definition. I went to colored paper, which had just enough
tooth to mimic clay.
With this type of trailer, which acts by gravity rather than
squeeze-pressure, you really have to have the slip at the proper
consistency. It requires a bit of experimentation, too! I'd definitely
want to start out with paper before I jumped right into a clay surface of a
plate or platter.
I tried the trailers out without the straws to extend them, but just got a
single line--even on the 4-holer, everything just ran together. (I haven't
tried that one again yet, because I need thicker straws, the holes are too
In the period they would have most likely used hollow reeds or bird quills,
but I don't have enough of those on hand from my calligraphy pens, so will
try that sometime too...for now, cocktail straws are standing in for crow
quills. I need to find a way to anchor them in place that will still allow
me to remove and replace them if they get clogged, but it was exciting to
see the same kind of sure, bold line you find on 18th and 19th C.
Kate the Time Traveler
Ivor and Olive Lewis on fri 28 jan 05
Dear Kate Johnson,
A great body of work.
The "Duck" is a delightful creation.
I think Bob Mason started us doing slip trailing in slump moulded
plates using earthenware round about our third or fourth lesson. Did a
lot of work with dyes on silk using the same techniques.
thanks for sharing your ideas.
Kate Johnson on fri 28 jan 05
Thank you Ivor (also Bonnie, Lili, Rick and all with whom I've been
> Dear Kate Johnson,
> A great body of work.
> The "Duck" is a delightful creation.
Occasionally we can't resist a bow to our early influences! I have studied
Mayan and Hopewellian pottery, as well as later Native American effigy
My early interest in pottery/ceramics was sparked by the world-class
collection of Chinese art at the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery, across the
street from the Kansas City Art Institute.
Sometimes I enjoy making mugs with whimsical dragon handles (sorry for the
blasphemy, I DO always make sure they fit the hand comfortably)--I was quite
bemused, later, to find a similar image in one of my pottery books from a
very early Dynasty. There IS nothing new under the sun...
I didn't think they made cups with handles that early, either...fascinating
what you can learn when you keep digging in the past.
And the duck slip trailer works wonderfully, thank you, just the right
combination of size/volume/gravity to get the desired results--a crisp,
energetic line without the tendency to glob, stutter, or splatter that some
of the squeeze-bottles exhibit.
> I think Bob Mason started us doing slip trailing in slump moulded
> plates using earthenware round about our third or fourth lesson. Did a
> lot of work with dyes on silk using the same techniques.
Can you tell me more about Mason offlist, please? I'm unfamiliar with the
name, I'm afraid...
> thanks for sharing your ideas.
You're quite welcome. I'm delighted by the responses, both off and onlist.
> Best regards,
> Ivor Lewis.
> S. Australia.
Ivor and Olive Lewis on sat 29 jan 05
Dear Kate Johnson,
Bob Mason was a maths teacher at New Silksworth secondary modern
school during the 1950s and 60s. He also taught Tech Drawing. Some how
the school took possession of a small, say 1 1/2 cu ft low temp
electric kiln and three potter's wheels, (2 treadle and one electric).
Now Mr Mason learned his teaching trade at Goldsmiths College during
the time William Staite Murray so that is how I believe he came to
have skills in pottery. He introduced pottery to his youthful students
and opened up an evening class for adults under the auspices of Durham
County Council Dept of Further Education. All work was Earthenware
until I got hold of a couple of hundred weight of salt glaze clay for
five shillings (including firing students work) from Eltringham Pipe
Company. We were introduced to the whole spectrum of clay work except
No not some big shot name in the ceramic arts world. Just a dedicated
teacher in an obscure Durham mining village who passed his skill,
passion for clay and knowledge to me from about 1966 to 1968.