my website

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Back In The Saddle Again

I was back working in the studio long last. All the tidying is finished, shelves are up, kiln working and floor mopped umpteen times.
I wasn't out for long, but I managed to complete a batch of terra sigillata and used it to do a test on a small pot I had laying around. You can find a video showing the process on my YouTube page.
Terra sigillata is a thin slip suspension which is used to give the surface of the pot a shine without glazing. The theory is that the particles in the slip are so fine that they seal the clay body. I used about five parts water to one part clay (just slops I had in a tub, I wasn't particularly scientific! Around five litres in total) and mixed in three or so teaspoons of calgon (until the mix felt slippery). Then I mixed the whole lot, like mad, with a plasterers mixer attached to my drill and left it to settle for a couple of days. The mix divides into three layers: A top watery layer, the middle layer which is the terra sig. and a bottom layer of large heavy particles. I just took a tube and siphoned off the middle layer. It seems to work well and is definitely something I will be using this year. I think it should work well on bowls and similar open shapes and is another notch on my list of single firing techniques.
I also have been working again on my extruder idea. Hopefully I'll be able to post a video soon (If everything goes according to plan). It all seems to be going well, but I have some important parts to make tomorrow from clay. I will keep you updated. Sorry to be so cryptic but I don't want to spoil the surprise.
I'm going to be doing some exciting glaze experiments over this next week so am throwing test pieces tomorrow. I've had one of my crazy ideas and will find out if it's viable or stupid only by testing and finding out....keep an eye out for updates!
Thanks for visiting.


  1. I saw your YT video on Terra sigillata. The polished results are very nice. One of these days I'm going to give it a try.

  2. I can't wait to give this a try. Wouldn't be trying this if it wasn't for your youtube video. Thanks for all you post. It really helps a lot of people.

  3. Tinkerfeet: Thank you for your generous comment. I'm pleased that my fumbling experiments are an inspiration. This, to me, is the point of my blog and my YouTube channel: Sharing my experiences with others who can gain knowledge and know that there are other people in the same place as them. Sometimes watching and reading things on-line can set the bar so high that it can be depressing. I've just finished "The Potter's Book" by Bernard Leach and it was nice to discover that he made lots of mistakes too! We are all learning, but having others to turn to for help and inspiration just makes the process a little easier.


Welcome to my blog. Feel free to leave comments. Please leave your name so that I can reply to any questions you may have.