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
- 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 vocabulary.