Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Take a Look Inside My Studio - Slip Trailing

This is how I make my Aqua Mist stoneware mugs. I decorate them with slip (liquid clay) the technique is called "slip trailing". 

By the way...Doesn't that latte look heavenly? It comes from my MOST favorite coffee shop - Bello Mundo Cafe in San Luis Obispo. It is the best latte I have ever had! 

Aqua Mist Stoneware Mug

It all starts with a ball of clay...

Then I make the body of the mug on my potters wheel (its called throwing)...

Centering the Clay

Raising the Walls

Shaping the Body
Waiting to be cut off the wheel...
Lots and lots of mugs...

I wait for the mugs to firm up a bit so they can be handled. Then I turn them upside down and trim the bottom.


I add my signature swirl, initials and stamp each one Back Bay Pottery

Now it's time to attach the handle...

Attaching a handle to the mug body. 

I use a handmade stamp to stamp the base of the handle. It makes it pretty and helps it to firmly attach to the body of the mug. 

Using a Flower Stamp

Beautiful Handles 

Time to mix up the slip...

Putting the slip through a mesh sieve to remove all the sand & grog. 

I love this technique because it combines my love of ceramics & drawing. It is a little tricky though because you have to squeeze the bottle just right. I make my own slip from clay & water. I use a hand mixer to get it nice & smooth.

I carefully but quickly draw my design on the mug with the slip. The quicker you draw a line the smoother the line will be. It takes LOTS of practice.

Sliptrailing Design

I am a fly by the seat of your pants type of girl so I don't usually have a precise plan on my designs. I just do it! I absolutely love handmade & one of a kind things so I make each piece a little different. 

Drying Pottery... Little Bird Dish Bowls

The pottery has to dry out for a week or so before going in the kiln for it's first firing called "bisque". If there is moisture trapped in the clay it can cause a small explosion & ruin your hard work.  This is when the clay is turned into a stone. The kiln takes between 12 to 15 hours to reach about 1900 degrees Fahrenheit . It takes about 12 hours to cool. After that it is ready to glaze. 

Freshly glazed pottery waiting to go into the kiln...

Glazed pottery in the kiln ready for the glaze firing. 
After the pottery is glazed it goes in the kiln one last time.  This time the kiln temperature reaches about 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. The glaze turns into a glass like coating and becomes one with the ceramic piece. 

Just opened the kiln! 

Just unloaded from the kiln...

The finished product!

Aqua Mist Stoneware Dinnerware by Back Bay Pottery


  1. I love your technique, Christine!! So happy to hear you have such a beautiful outlet for all that creativity. Your recent collection reminds me of one of my favorite art posters. Just like all the delicious food I remembering you create, your pottery is unique and lovely!!

    Susanne Leasure

  2. I'm impressed. Nice to see how you work and how you take care of the details in your work. And you chose the most beautiful color to the pictures :) thank you for this moment of pleasure:*

  3. These dishes are just beautiful. I'm a fly by the seater too, so I appreciate your results. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Love your work. I'm a relatively new potter and just getting into slip trailing. Do you have any tips you can offer that help make sure the slip trail adheres to the pot?