[Clayart] Making slip

Snail Scott claywork at flying-snail.com
Wed Aug 14 15:26:58 EDT 2019

> On Aug 14, 2019, at 12:37 PM, Bob Johnson <impaladrive at gmail.com> wrote:
> When you make slip for slip trailing or similar decorations, what mesh
> sieve do you use?  I make my slip from B-mix trimmings and would like to make it as thick as
> possible but also get it smooth…

I wouldn’t bother to sieve a slip or engobe at all, unless you suspect non-clay contaminants in your trimmings. When you mix your slip, start with dry ingredients, crushed up small. Add some water to the bottom of your container, add the dry materials, then add enough water to cover the dry. LET IT SLAKE! Do not start mixing until it has fully slaked (soaked until it’s fully wet right through.) The size of your chunks will determine how long this takes: if nothing is thicker than 1/4”, a half hour is likely sufficient, though it does depend on the clay body. (I make slips from B-Mix, too.) If you have thicker chunks, wait longer. Don’t disturb it until then, or the portions of the mix that have already slaked will become slip, and coat the remaining unslaked parts. This will actually prevent them from slaking, resulting in annoying lumps. If allowed to slake properly, you will get a very smooth slip even without mechanical mixing or sieving. After slaking, pour off excess water, then mix. It should end up at a mayonnaise-like consistency. You can always add more water back in if you want it thinner. 

Snail Scott
claywork at flying-snail.com

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