I can't remember who told me that. It's good advice; I wish I could say that I always follow it, but often I am scrambling to get the kiln loaded and the things that absolutely need to be fired, fired; too often I can't risk any bisqueware on something new. This time, however, I have no great urgency, and, after all, I have 100 mugs to glaze; I can take the chance that some of them will not come out well, and hopefully learn something and improve my skill at the same time. Since brushwork is an area that I could stand some improvement, and since I was having visions of mugs that contrasted romantic and stark qualities (and also playful/stark), I am trying my hand at some more-or-less botanically correct roses, in plain black stain. Alright, if not botanically correct, at least recognizable.
I am in hopes that the soda will soften the stain in one direction, while the other side will remain more clear. I may paint a few more - it's a nice day and I am working out on the deck, first time this year. The stain I used is 60% Gerstley Borate and 40% Mason 6600. In past it has only worked over flashing slip when the slip was bisqued on already. After I finish brushing, I spray the pieces with laundry starch so that I won't smudge the work when I handle the mugs to glaze the inside, and to load them in the kiln.