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Large Figure 3: Slip on clay

Once my large figure has dried enough to hold its shape when handled carefully I pour slip over it. This time, to have a contrast of colours again, I'm using a white clay slip.

I need to start this process at the beginning of the day as it takes longer than presumed. I apply some slip and blow on it to get an even distribution. They it will have dry enough for me to be able to turn the piece over and repeat the process without smudging the previous slip application. I don't want the drips to all go into one direction which would suggest a definite up and down of the figure.

The next step is to carefully carve in some lines. This time I also tried to make sure that these lines didn't have too many distracting burrs.

Interestingly quite a few of men commented at this stage how much they like this. I guess it may have something to do that it has a look of combat fatigues. Maybe something for future development...?

Then I left the whole piece dry out very slowly for about ten days before going on the next step.

I next painted my shellac resist leaving patterned areas to be washed out. This time I have used the boarder details, instead of the circular pattern details, I found researching Pueblo pottery.

When washing in away the exposed clay areas to reveal the areas below I had to make sure that I worked very cleanly and carefully to prevent any drips from contaminating the areas that aren't protected under a layer of shellac. This process took me a whole hour. Maybe it would have been quicker to cover all areas with shellac that I didn't want washed out.

Not only does the shellac resist help me to create contrasts between white and black areas but it also creates textured areas.

When turning the whole piece over this happened: part of the shellac resist got stock to the plastic sheeting underneath and it and the white slip pulled off. I had an inkling that there may be a problem with this slip and clay body. Let's hope it won't be too bad after coming out of bisque firing.

Hah! No such hope. When getting the figure out of the kiln it was obvious that there is a fit problem between this slip and the clay body. The slip had not fused evenly across the figure. So, I knocked off as much of the loose slip as possible. Luckily this has not taken me by surprise. Thus, I will take this as an opportunity to respond to this 'mistake' by incorporating the pale ghost shadows into my decorations.

However, at the same time I will look into mixing a different white slip and test it for a better fit with this clay. At the same time I'm also looking into trying out a different black clay.

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