Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Slip Trailing

Decorating with thick slip is one of the most relaxing things I do in the studio. Making all those tiny dots or squiggles can be quite hypnotic. I use a white and a brown trailing slip, one each made from the clay bodies that I use in the studio, which are Miller Clay's B-mix 10, and their #700. I used to mix clay from my own recipe; I stopped, but that is a whole 'nother post. Today I mixed up brown trailing slip.

Every studio should have a blender. I got mine at the Salvation Army for $4, (after hubby fried my old one, also a thrift store find.) I also use a palette knife, just in case I have to stick something in the blender to work the clay mass loose. Even if the appliance is unplugged, those blades are sharp!  I fill the blender about halfway up with slurry from my recycle bucket, then hit "liquefy" on the settings. I'll have to add water a couple of times, trying to get to a cake-batter consistency.After pouring it into a plastic tub, I thump the container on the tabletop maybe about twenty times, to get the air bubbles to rise up and pop. This is an important step; if you skip it you will be slipping along, making tiny little dots, when your bottle will suddenly make a flatulent noise and spit out a messy splatter of slip, and you'll have to sponge it all off and start over again.
My brown slip trailing bottle has two tips. (I use seperate bottles for the white slip.) The broad tip is great for fluid lines; the pointy tip makes dots.
And here's another 'tip' for you: you can star making those fluid lines off the side when you are decorating a platter, so that the "starting blob" is left on the tabletop not on the platter. 
I get inspired to do slip work looking at Steven Hill's platters, like this one.


klineola said...

I like the idea of using the wide tip. Do you use a glue container? I have a container of carpenters glue that has a tip like that and you just push the tip down to close. I'm planning on working on my slip trailing again in the new year. Thanks.

Linda Starr said...

Thanks for the tip on the blender and to start trailing before you get to the platter.

Like Michael's tip on a glue container too.

I found a bottle at the beauty supply with a nozzle that is slanted (it's used to dye hair I think). I haven't tried it yet, but a friend used it to glaze her pendants and thought it was nifty.

Patricia Griffin Ceramics said...

Great tip on trailing before the platter so the initial blop doesn't land on the platter. Great pictures too!

Unknown said...

Just finding this post. Gotta love Pinterest! I will now be confiscating our blender! hehe


Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

What would happen if I used white slip (stoneware? The kind at the studio) on porcelain?

Lori Watts said...

HI Jen! You could use that slip, for sure! You will want to sieve it first, though - it gets some boron crystals in it that can clog up the tip.