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Slip Inlay On Groggy Body


Magnet

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Hi all,  I've been trying to inlay a black slip into fine lines I've carved into a leather hard slab of white stoneware. The problem is that when I go to wipe off the excess slip, it smears into the clay and can't be cleaned off -- a problem that seems amplified by the groggy clay I like to use. I've also tried inlaying the slip after bisque, but that also doesn't work well. 

 

I've read about/seen clips of others doing this with a porcelain clay body, and I'm wondering if that's what I need to use? I assume the smoother nature of the clay lets you wipe away the excess slip more cleanly... Does anyone have experience with this?

 

I'm familiar with the mishima technique, and using resist then carving through and inlaying -- but I don't want to use either, if possible.

 

Thanks for any advice.

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Many people are fist coating the piece with wax resist (while leather hard) and then carving into it. You then lay down the black slip or underglaze, and let it set up overnight before wiping it down with a sponge. If there's any haze after bisquing, it can be taken care of with some sandpaper (with proper respiratory protection worn, of course). It's called wax Mishima, and it gets you a nice, thin, crisp line.

I've also seen the scraping on the technique Marcia describes done with one of those Do All trimming tools.

Why are you trying to avoid the wax resist?

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I make jewelry focals and marbles by carving into the piece and inlaying soft clay of a contrasting color. When it's dry I wipe it with a sponge to shape it a little and smooth it generally, then when it's nearly dry again sand it with your basic plastic pot scrubbie. Finally I dust them with a soft brush or just blow the remaining dust off. FYI it makes a ton of dust but works really well.

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Thanks for the replies. I'm trying to keep the process as simple as possible. Applying resist takes time and material. Also scraping changes the shape and texture that I've established.

 

Maybe I didn't let the slip or underglaze dry enough, but I'm pretty sure I did... 30+ minutes. I've tried both slip and underglaze. It would get wet when wiping away anyway... 

 

This is what I'm talking about:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBlorlmBMjs/

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By not drying, I meant the inlaid slip or underglaze drying all the way to the bottom of the mark in the clay. This is a problem if you are trying to fill a deep or wide mark.

A very groggy clay could make the smearing worse because the underglaze will happily go into any little air spaces around the grog.

A smooth clay sets up a clearly defined line so you get less bleeding.

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A friend who does a lot of slip inlay usually leaves hers overnight before removing the excess. I've only tried it a few times myself, but I found her method quite effective. You also have to have your incised lines quite deep. I've heard of dip pens with the tip sharpened with sandpaper being used, or a sewing needle held in a mechanical pencil.

That specific kind of very thin and crisp, pen-like line you're trying to acheive can indeed be labour intensive to get in clay. I'm not a fan of working in an inefficient or material-intensive manner either, but sometimes adding materials or a step saves way more work in the end. I still think wax is a friend you haven't met yet. But if you're dead against it, another option might be one of the many print methods out there. But that again, is an additional few steps and even more materials. Even a decal of some kind would add more materials, plus maybe another firing.

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I suggest that you apply several thin layers of grog-free white clay body over the leather hard stoneware; and after the sheen is gone from the slip, compress the slip layers with a roller or soft rib.  This will provide a grog-free surface to carve on. The compressing step forces the slip to bind tightly to the stoneware and reduces the tendency to form surface cracks when drying, especially if you use a porcelain slip. 

 

Think of the slip layer as a 'gesso' for a clay canvas.

 

The technique works great for pet headstones with crisply carved decorations and lettering on a sturdy body. 
 
LT

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i agree with LT. laying down a claybody slip and then carving sounds like a good idea. 

 

you've got to do something. either wax or slip on the body first. 

 

though to be honest with you i find wax to be much easier. i dont see how you can save time. i dont see wax taking any more time but definitely cost factor. with wax you apply the slip or underglaze and you can wipe right away. i've done it with a damp sponge, not wet sponge. you save the scraping time to apply wax and let it dry. 

 

with inlay its hard to figure out the just right temp. so depends on how leather hard your body is. of course i am in a high heat area. if the body gets too dry then the inlay slip just pops out of the 'hole' line. 

 

with inlay a good sharp scraping tool is a must. makes work so much easier. 

 

with mishima i also make thicker deeper lines. if i am not using a stamp. and then i prefer to fill it in with a needle nose bottle to avoid as much scraping as i can. 

 

if i want thinner lines then i prefer wax resist and apply the underglaze with a sponge. 

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