Scottish Potters Workshop

Both Fiona and I had a really good time working with some of the Scottish Potters Association members last Saturday.  There were some really good discussions, and a breadth of knowledge.  I was trying to explain that sometimes I felt a bit isolated from other makers not just by geography, but because I have been going down a pretty individual path.  Fiona and I are very willing to share ceramic technology and some of the group were very keen on recipes and techniques.  Nowadays, as we saw on Saturday, there were many many photos taken on phones of individual little tricks and techniques but what I wanted to focus on in this post was the ceramic technology.  There were a few different areas that sparked more than an interest but these ones were ones that stuck out to me:

  1. Our slip recipe and adjustment of consistiency
  2. Mono type / monoprinting with ink and some questions about the ink I use for lino cut tranferring
  3. The clear lead free glaze we were using to finish the work


For the slip recipe itself, please follow this link: Slip recipe

As for the changing in consistency, the easiest way to gel a defloculated slip is to use ordinary distilled vinegar.  You can also use Calcium Chloride or Epsom Salts, but these are best used in an absolute solution.  This is done by dissolving one of the ingredients above in a small amount of water until no more is dissolved.  A couple of drops of this absolute solution, and the slip will freeze and gel like cream cheese or buttercream icing.  It is very powerful, and I prefer to use vinegar as it might not go as far as the icing consistency, but it is easier to control.


As for the ink Fiona and I used in the workshop on Saturday, it is a glycerine based Iron and Copper ink.

The recipe is below:

33 Red or Black Iron Oxide

33 Copper Carbonate or Oxide

34 China Clay

Total: 100

Mix glycerine in thoroughly on glass with a palette knife to taste… It should flow off the knife but still have some stickiness.  The more glycerine added, the fainter the image will be and the chance of the print sliding will increase.  Black Iron Oxide is stronger than Red, Copper Oxide is stronger than Carbonate.  Experiment and develop your own palette to personalise your work.

Some thoughts on my linseed based ink I use to print on my work can be found here Linseed based Ink


The final subject in this post is about a reliable lead free clear glaze.  The easiest way I’ve found to get a proper and consistent melt to happen at earthenware temperatures is to use a frit.  I have used one glaze at earthenware temperatures for about 10 years… adjusting it to suit different work and applications. 

BBLA clear on far left, with 3 line blends of commercial glaze stains

It is based on Linda Arbuckle’s Majolica glaze.  She has always graciously offered her technical investigations free on her website as she is a very high level instructor and promoter of ceramics in America.  Please visit her site here for more information Linda Arbuckle 

If you are interested in finding out how I’ve got Linda’s Majolica glaze to behave a little better, please follow this link to a previous post BBLA .

I think that is it, but if you want to get in touch about something, please do not hesitate to email with a question.

Thanks for reading, and best wishes,