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Low Fire Friday - Slip trailing with white slip

Meagan Chaney Gumpert - Friday, November 02, 2012

The following was originally posted March 12, 2009. I'm taking this opportunity to edit and update the info for this month's edition of Low Fire Friday

A few years ago I started incorporating clay slip trailing into my work and have been having lots of fun with it. Here's the recipe for you to try.

Pete Pinnell's White Slip
40 OM4
40 Talc
10 Silica
10 Nepheline Syenite

+10 Frit 3124
+7 Zircopax

(You can also add a few drops of sodium silicate - a deflocculant that helps reduce viscosity and makes the slip easier to apply with a slip bottle.)

There are a variety of slip trailing bottles out there in many shapes and sizes. You'll want to experiment with a few until you find the style that you enjoy most. Some things to think about 1) the size of the tip opening can have an effect on line thickness it creates 2) how hard is the plastic? You're could be squeezing for awhile, so you want a bottle that's softer and easier to work with. 3) how much slip do you want it to hold?

Try drawing a practice line first to check thickness and to make sure the bottle isn't clogged. A sewing needle can be used to unclog the tip if needed.

Squeeze and draw away! It's a lot like decorating a cake. I like to wait until the clay is leather hard because the clay forms are easier to hold and work with at this stage.
A sample of slip stippling.
A group of unfired, slip decorated Minis.
A few glaze fired sample of how glazes will "break" and pool over the slip giving the surface added depth and dimension.
More glaze fired samples.

The glossy glaze used in the above samples is the Base 4 that was shared in August's edition of Low Fire Friday.

Here's a more recent Tile Plaque also incorporating this same slip, but with a different finished look.


Happy Glazing!

Sue commented on 02-Nov-2012 07:54 AM
Love the forms and I also love to use slip to decorate pieces. Will have to try the slip recipe you posted. Thanks.
Henry Pope commented on 09-Nov-2012 02:53 PM
Another sure-fire slip that can be put on thick:
neph sy 20
EPK 20
Silica 20
OM-4 40
I was given the recipe by Rob Forbes, long gone from pottery; though I've seen other sources of the recipe. In his clay day, Rob put the slip on really thick with a large house-painter's brush and fired around your temperature.

Anonymous commented on 27-Feb-2013 01:35 PM
Hi Meagan,

Thanxs for you super posts !
I am new at pottery and am totally enamoured with all that is clay. I wish to prepare my first home made slip following your Pete Pinels white slip recipe. how much water would you say you would mix with dry ingredients? Thank you so much

Elise S, from sunny isles Florida and Quebec, Canada
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 06-Mar-2013 04:24 PM
Sue, Henry, and Elise - Thank you for your comments! I apologize for my delayed response. I am still learning how to navigate my new website and blog. Whew!

Elise - I generally add water gradually and mix until the sip consistency is between buttermilk and yogurt. Hope that helps! I'd love to hear how your first homemade slip experience went!

Cheers Everyone!
Ale commented on 09-Apr-2013 02:40 AM
Hi Meagan,

I'm also rather new with pottery and I'm willing to try your recipe. I never done slip decoration. Do you add slip decoration just to unfired pieces? How do you glaze after bisque-fired? I'm wondering how the slip decoration remains white while the rest of your tile is colored. Thanks
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 11-Apr-2013 03:34 PM
Hi Ale,

Thank you for your questions. I apply slip to un-fired, leather-hard clay. I have heard of some artists who apply slip to bisqued work though, but this has never worked for me because the slip seems to chip off.

After the piece has been decorated with slip trailing and fired, I typically like to apply a transparent glaze overtop of it. The transparent glaze will "break" or pool over the various surface textures/levels. Here's a link to a post with the Base 4 glaze recipe I use over the slip.

Or since you're just starting out, you could just try a transparent commercial glaze like this one:

The slip remains white because I am using a white slip (the OM4 in the recipe) on a red, earthenware clay body. A red/brown slip could be made using Red Art instead of OM4 if you didn't want the contrast.

Hope that helps. Best of luck to you and if I can answer any other questions, just let me know!
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