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Here you can learn how to effectively use decorative techniques to finish your clay creations.

Woman Painting Pottery



Useful Objects: Brush, sponge, hair dryer.

Slip is coloured, watered down clay. The clay is coloured using manufactured stains, or metal oxides.

Slip is best applied to leather-hard clay. This is clay that is firm to the touch, which holds it's own weight, and has lost some of its moisture.

You can apply slip onto your piece using a brush or sponge for full coverage, or to illustrate your piece.

Slip can be brushed or sponged through or around a stencil as well.

One layer of slip may suffice, however for bold and vibrant colour, you will want to apply two to three layers of slip. Layers can be dried quickly using a hairdryer, or you can wait for them to dry naturally.



Useful objects:

Italian for "to scratch", it is a method of scratching through a layer or layers of slip to create patterns or illustrations on the surface of the clay body. 

To begin, apply a layer or two of slip, drying after application. 

Using a pointed object, (a biro, fork tip, etc) scratch through the layers of clay to create your pattern or image. 

If small balls/lumps of clay (burrs) gather around your scratching, don't try to remove them while the clay and slip is wet. Either wait till the clay drys and hardens, or speed this process up with a hair dryer. Once the clay burrs harden they can be brushed off with your fingers or a brush.




Useful objects:

Carving or incising refers to



Useful objects: Rolling pin, textured fabric (doily, hessian), leaves, flowers and other organic material, letter or number stamps, shape stamps (ie Indian woodcuts etc).

You can roll textured fabrics, or organic materials into your clay to leave an imprint. If you are using slabs, the textures should be rolled into your clay before constructing your piece.

If you wish to texture a coil pot, you may support the pot from the inside while you press the objects into the clay.

If you are using fabric to impress, a rolling pin is useful.



Useful objects: Butter knife/ fork, brush, sponge, cup of water,

Relief work refers to sculpting clay onto the surface of your piece.

The key to any relief, attaching clay to clay, is scoring and slipping. Ensure both surfaces that are going to connect are thoroughly scored, and if your clay is dry/ drying, wet the surfaces that are going to be attached, building up a muddy surface.

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