Slip Trailing

The Potter and the Baker

Posted by on Feb 13, 2012 in About Me, Slip Trailing | 3 comments

I love to cook; but baking was never a passion.  It had to do with 2 things: calories and messiness.  No matter what you bake, there are a lot of calories.  And, sous-potter, Jeff, doesn’t like breads or sweets, which means the bulk of the calories are mine to consume unless I can find some other sacrificial soul. The other reason I didn’t care for baking was the mess – flour everywhere and sticky hands.  But, working in clay has made me much more comfortable with sticky hands.  Whereas I used to stop every few minutes and wipe them clean, I’m more comfortable with messy hands and only stop to clean them when it is necessary for the task rather than repetitively washing them.  Pottery also taught me how to keep my work space tidy.  I am also more conscientious about using tools and putting them away immediately because no matter what the studio or kitchen size, there is never enough space so I’ve learned to protect workspace by keeping things orderly and out of the way. As I was making sugar cookies this weekend, I realized how much pottery has improved my baking skills.  I rolled out the dough much more evenly and I didn’t over work it (this may not be a benefit from clay but a result of laziness because most of the clay I wedge has air bubbles in it – I have never been guilty of over working clay).  And, I had a steadier hand when I was decorating the cookies – probably a result of a lot of practice slip...

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Scavenging for Scrolls

Posted by on Sep 10, 2011 in About Me, Inspiration, Slip Trailing | 1 comment

We recently hosted some of our Colorado family who chose to spend their vacation with us.  And, September is a wonderful time to visit Eastern NC (as long as the hurricanes stay away).  One of the places we took them to see was Tryon Palace in New Bern. It was a beautiful day and as I wandered around the grounds, I got so inspired by the wrought-iron patterns.  Wouldn’t some of these patterns look lovely slipped onto a plate or...

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A Potter’s Most Valuable Skill

Posted by on Apr 22, 2011 in Carving, Creamer and Sugar Set, Critique, Glazes, How-to, Plates, Slip Trailing, Surface Decoration | 0 comments

The most beneficial thing that I have gained by attending workshops is participating in critiques.  And, although subjecting my pots to open opinion was uncomfortable, I have had really positive experiences and gained a lot of insight. Self-critiquing is a powerful skill that is worth incorporating.  Since I have been conducting self-critiques and critiques with Julie, I am more cognizant and focused about what I want to make.  I have begun to balance awareness of my weaknesses with recognition of my strengths.  And, I know what I want to do and what I want to try which makes me feel more confident. For me, there are two main categories – technical (throwing questions) and aesthetic (design questions).  One of the most important aspects of a self-critique is the ‘why’.  Asking ‘why’ makes the initial and emotional responses to the pot tangible.  It also keeps me from being lazy and casually dismissing a pot. Here are a few things that I think about when I critique my pots: Technical Is it proficiently thrown?  (functionality, weight, rim/foot thickness, handle width) What is the first part of the pot that I notice and why? How does it feel (sharp, heavy, smooth)?  Is that what I intended?  Does it work? What do I need to be mindful of the next time I make this shape (more clay, throw thinner, leave rim thicker, clean up better, stronger attachment)? Aesthetic Does this pot ‘work’?  Why/why not? Is it balanced?  Should it be? Does the surface embellishment enhance/hide the pot shape? Does the glaze hide/enhance the surface embellishment? Does the glaze enhance/hide the pot shape?  Is that good?  Why/why not? Does the transition from one glaze to another work?  Why/why not? Is there an opportunity to enhance contrast (use a satin/matte with a gloss glaze; add complementary color glaze; incorporate more texture) What will I change the next time I make this form (glaze, texture, shape)? What questions do you ask yourself about your pots? Creamer – Swirl designs make the creamer feel fun. The raspberry glaze breaks wonderfully over the raised slip – more successful harmony between glaze and texture. Bowl Set – The rim is a good choice for carving because it gives a defined space for texture. However, some of the carving is lost in the raspberry...

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Considerations and Logistics: Slip Trailing

Posted by on Apr 9, 2011 in Casserole, How-to, Lime Fiesta, Mugs, Slip Trailing, Spring Snow, Surface Decoration | 4 comments

Insight:  Embellishing the pot surface is more complex than simply adding slip or carving a design. As with most things, one decision impacts several others  which means that there are several considerations and some logistics to work through as I incorporate textural elements into the pots. Among the many surface embellishments that we have been experimenting with are: Slip trailing Carving Brush strokes Tape and wax resist Implementation of each of these techniques has challenged technique, method, glaze response, and design. Technical – This has been the easiest of the logistics to resolve.  It included adjusting the consistency of the slip (less viscous for narrower lines and more viscous for dots and wide lines).    Also, in order to apply a slip line that is fluid with variable line weights, it must be done quickly.  I am practicing a lot in order to develop muscle memory.  Slip lines and dots have potential to be sharp, but smoothing out sharp edges can result in removing the slip from the pot.  A finger rub and dry-damp sponge seem to soften the edges without much design loss. Method – I have tried several dispensers to figure out which make the best lines and which are better for making dots.  So far, a narrow tip hair dye bottle and red bulb slip trailer are easiest for me to use and produce good lines and dots. Glaze response – Understanding the properties each glaze exhibits has been key.  Some of the glazes don’t break or are too pale and the slip gets lost.  The best glazes for enhancing slip design are translucent or break with contrast. Design – By far this has been the most challenging.  First, there is the question of what patterns to make on the pot.  I have been doodling and looking at fabrics to develop some ideas.  Then there is the question of how these patterns relate to the pot’s form.  I have begun to change some of the pot shapes in order to designate space for slip design.  This allows me to build in a ‘frame’ where I can start and stop the slip.  I thought I had resolved some forms (like mugs) but slip has forced me to expand my shape...

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