I have been itching to get back in the studio, but it’s closed for the holidays and doesn’t open again until next week. So, what’s a potter to do when stuck at home with the bitter cold outside? Find another way to play, of course.
I don’t generally work out of my house, but one thing I can do at home is slip casting. My pieces don’t need a lot of space; and if I’m careful, it isn’t very messy. I’ve been slip casting during the last couple of brutally cold days, because I don’t want to venture outside. And with the snow storm today, I’m not going anywhere.
Reading comments from various articles, I get the impression that slip casting sometimes gets a bit of a bum rap in the ceramics world. I might have been guilty of such thinking myself; then I made a slip casting mold. I’m relatively new to slip casting, having made my first molds only within this past year. It’s not as easy as it looks: both the mold making and getting a serviceable piece out of the mold. Now when I read a comment about how slip casting potters aren’t really potters, I think the commentator has never actually tried it themselves. (Never mind the amazing pieces that are out there, which couldn’t be made out of clay any other way.)
Until now, most of my focus was on fixing imperfections in my molds and improving my rate of getting a good piece out of the mold. Feeling I’ve gotten a handle on timing and reading the wetness/dryness of my molds, I can start thinking about altering or adding surface designs to the pieces I’m generating.
I’m stuck at home so I don’t have a lot of supplies here. I decided to try a bit of slip trailing using the same bucket of slip the pieces are made from. The slip I’m using is Elaine’s cone 10 porcelain. It’s a more fluid slip, less viscous than other slips I’ve used; and it dries very quickly. While it’s not the ideal slip for trailing, it’s what I have on hand. Despite its limitations, I’m having fun with it.