Saturday, August 21, 2010

Butterscotch Slip

My intention was to make an insect body shaped spirit jar and then drizzle some of that local clay slip down the sides of the black clay form. I planned to make a pedestal for it to stand on with a tray at the bottom. I am hoping a tray will catch the slip in case it runs when the pieces fired. If the slip doesn't run so much the better. Do you ever make catch basins for unknown glazes or slips to fit under the pieces you make?

Remember the big pile of clay I got the slip from? At the time I didn't think it was local dirt. There is another construction job going on a mile or two away from the original pile of clay. Guess what? There's some of this same red clay there too; maybe this is local clay. I mixed up the slip in a little dish and it looked just like the color of butterscotch pudding, so I'm calling it butterscotch slip.

It looked real creamy when I mixed it up, but when I rubbed it between my fingers it felt gritty, sandy. Well this is Florida I should have expected it to feel sandy. I decided I better screen it. Then I realized I have no idea where my screens are located. They must be packed in a box somewhere. I rummaged around in a few drawers and saw this tea strainer so I decided to use it.

Luckily I strained this stuff because I only got a small amount of the slip, the rest was all sand. It took forever to get even a small amount of strained liquid. I filled up half the strainer closed it and shook it over the bowl till the liquid came through then dumped the sand. Then I filled the strainer again and so on. Then I took the syringe and filled it with the slip and squirted it over the jar.

I think I'll make another one of these jars; I want the size and shape to be more like my sketch. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  1. Hey Linda,
    One of the first studios I took classes at was a community college with lots of students. They religiously fired EVERYTHING on shards of clay so that any drips wouldn't make it to the kiln shelves. In the past, I've made my own clay 'biscuits' to put under my work when I fired at locations that had 'crappy' shelves so as to protect the feet of my pots. Now, I keep a few handy for when I'm firing a new glaze or combo I'm not sure of. I brush them with kiln wash and use them multiple times.

    That black clay is very cool!


  2. I love that you made yourself some slip from local clay! I need to become a little more creative in that sense!

    Sounds like a cool field trip for the kids too..

    I do have old tiles that didn't work out for whatever reason, and I use them when firing something questionable or whenever my fiance makes a creation with me. He tends to be messy with the bottoms even though I remind him he will ruin my shelves! ;)

    Thanks for sharing w/ us! Cheers, Chrissy :)

  3. If it has that much sand, maybe try mixing the slip thinner with a couple drops of sodium silicate and let the sand settle. Then pour off the slip. Kinda like making terra sig?

  4. so many kitchen tools eventually end up in a potter's studio!
    can't wait to see how your slip looks when fired.

  5. Hi Miri, thanks, I wonder if things will warp if they are up on shard though, maybe not vases, but plates might. I was thinking of a making a little flat tray, but I guess if I did that if a glaze ran it would stick to the bottom, but I could put the kiln wash on that and use a torch to separate them. this black clay fires real black, it is supposedly the blackest clay in the industry, but doesn't take glaze well and can only be fired to cone 4 due to dunting, it's mostly for sculpture, but I love it.

    Hi Chrissy, thanks, yeah kids would love digging for the clay they could bring their pails and shovels. Old tiles now that's a good idea with a little lip around the edges.

    Hi Brian, thanks for the tip, I will try that next time I make some up, especially if it does some nice things. I might also try leaving it sandy for a textured piece.

    Hi Michele, thanks, yes I have meat tenderizers, spatulas, hand mixers, etc. I can't wait to see it too, but it will be a while cause this fires to Cone 4 and I have 50 pounds to use before I fire a load. I can bisque it regular though and that will set the slip, still and all it might melt during the glaze firing.

  6. Linda,
    Absolutely a concern. I remember volunteering to load the kiln so that I could choose the nice big shards for my pots... These days, I make biscuits that are large than the foot of the pot that will sit on it. Yes, with plates, that would be a very large biscuit... I don't make many plates... ;-)

  7. Hi Miri, thanks, I must make a bunch of bisquets and trays and just keep them handy and then when I need them I'll have them already dried and bisque fired.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment