Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Slip trailing frustration

Found this late 18th to mid 19th century slip trailer photo yesterday. I have some goose feathers coming from China and I think it would be fun to make one of these. Maybe by the time the feathers arrive, I'll be a bit further along with my slip trailing efforts.

Question of the day: How come I can slip trail fine on a bat and screw it up so badly, and repeatedly on a pot! What a frustrating time in the studio. Can't figure out why the same slip in the same slip trailer, a day later, is coming out thicker, on the pot than on a bat a minute before! AARGH!

I finally just gave up out of frustration and decided to finish decorating the tree, ordered Christmas presents for the grand kids, and made a very satisfying veggie and shrimp tempura, and rice dinner. The sake helped me forget the rotten time in the studio.

Jim got the village buildings set up under the tree and today he'll start on setting up all the little figures. It will take him most of the day to do that; but he loves it and does a great job every year. If you see a photo of the tree up on the blog tomorrow, you'll know I had another day accomplishing nothing with slip trailing on actual pots.

Since I'm a glutton for punishment I'll will try again today; but instead of starting on one of the slipped cups, I think I'll start on a plastic cup. Before I step foot in the studio late this morning,  I think I'm going to check out You Tube for some videos showing people actually slip trailing again and see if I can spot some of the subtleties of application. Watching someone like Hannah McAndrew who is so very skilled, made me think this would be a fun thing to learn; but obviously I wasn't watching as carefully as I could have, or should have. So I will look for any subtle parts of the technique and see if I can spot what I'm doing wrong.  I might also try a different slip trailer. A while back I made several of the type that Mary Wondrausch and Hannah McAndrew use, made of bicycle inner tube, a cork and the tips of inexpensive ball point pens.

If you hear screams and groans coming from Southern Oregon this afternoon, just ignore. It's only me having another crappy day teaching myself how to slip trail, and failing miserably!

I'm planning a comfort dinner which should heal any wounds of the day  - an old fashioned tuna, noodle and broccoli casserole with crescent rolls. And since I'm thinking that I might need more solace after what may be another frustrating slip trailing, self training, session, I might just make some chocolate pudding for dessert, since sake would not be a good pairing. Anyway, I finished what was left in the bottle last night, and the chocolate pudding is a better choice for a 60's comfort dinner - don't ya think! 


  1. June, I went to one of Hannah;s workshops and those trailers are very nice to use. A couple of thoughts. Are you moving the trailer slower on the slipped pot than on the bat? Maybe the trailed slip is clinging to the bat but flowing more on the pot ?

  2. Lucky you Dennis, to have taken one of her workshops? Did you take the one she did with Doug Fitch? I'm not sure if I'm going slower on one or other; but I might be going slower on the pot. I think my slip is a wee bit thicker than it needs to be so next time I do it I'm going to thin it down a wee bit more. Did Hannah give any indication of the thickness of the slip she uses for trailing? Did they give out any recipes? I'd love to know her or Doug's recipe for black slip. I got a good one with stain but that's pretty pricy and the other blacks I tried with just oxides weren't true black.

  3. June, I went to the workshop at Dan Finnegan's. Both Hannah and Doug are just as nice as you could imagine.So is Dan. They gave no SPG on the slips other than it needs to be thick enough to hold its shape. Complicated recipe- ball clay + water ! Be careful not to drag your tip into your surface.

  4. Dennis, I think I was dragging the tip which is why I messed up. I'm going to practice some more today since our electricity is going to be off for at least 4-5 hours while we have the electrician here to hook our generator up to everything.