It’s A Long Way To Tipperary…

It’s been a pretty good week of painting resist and I managed to get the first coat on the dozen medium sized bowls (and 2 coats on a couple). I’m with Sofia for the weekend, so no more work til Monday. We went out walking Sunglasses this morning and found a garbage man’s cell phone in the alley. Didn’t have my “reading” glasses with me so I figured I’d wait til we were home and try to call one of the friend’s #’s on the phone and figure out whose phone it was. Not far into our walk, I received a call and arranged a rendezvous with three sanitation workers. They thanked me and seemed surprised that it was all so easy. Speaking of the devil, Sunglasses is going on 50+ hours with no eliminations in the house (of course, as I type this she might be ending the string). We’ve chew proofed much of the house and if I could only train Sofia how to play with her, we’d be almost there. Anyway, here’s a shot of the greenware after a coat of resist…


Here’s a couple closeups of an experiment I’m working on. Like most experiments, I won’t know until after bisqueing if it has a chance of delivering the desired effect.



I’ve received comments asking about this process and I will try to elucidate it concisely and clearly. This is for the two pots shown as my new experiment. After the pot is trimmed, I have slathered on a layer of slip that is of the same clay body. Then black slip is flung or splattered in a kind of pollacky way into the white slip. Some of this black slip actually embeds itself and makes dents like throwing stones in soft mud when you were a child. After this has dried, a coat of resist (shellac) is applied over the black and past the edge of the black slip by about 1/8″ all the way around. This repels water. After this has dried, the exposed areas are carefully sponged with water dissolving the clay and creating a step down into the clay (a relief). After this has dried, more black slip is carefully painted into the depressed or etched areas. After this has dried, more resist is applied over what it was applied over before plus another 1/8″ or so over the newly painted black slip. After this has dried, the exposed areas (much smaller than before) are carefully sponged again creating yet another step down into the clay. Theoretically, what should result is black spattery marks with a white “halo” going all the way around them, with a black stepped down “halo” go around them, with a stepped down white are filling the remaining space. Hope this makes sense. No way I’m gonna get paid enough for these.


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13 Responses to “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary…”

  1. Michael Kline Says:

    Wow! I love seeing the process. I did some porcelain work while I was a resident at Penland, (’98-’01) that involved shellac and what I fancifully called “hydro-abrasion”. Which, as you can probably guess was a sponge and some water and lots of careful wiping. If I get to it, I will try to post about it. I still have a few of the pieces around.

    God bless you (and keep you) for carrying this torch. I think someday you WILL be rewarded for your hard work. It’s really unique and beautiful.

  2. judy Shreve Says:

    What a cool process — can’t wait to see your experiment completed! Your work is truly unique & beautiful — I second that.

  3. Joel Blum Says:

    Your nutz! That’s kind of what I figured you were doing. That’s a huge amount of work… but Oh baby they are gorgous! You create some amazing surfaces.

  4. Meredith Says:

    you do this because you “have” to and no way will you ever be paid enough for your wonderful work- but one can always hope!
    PS Mark, that guy who lives with me- was green over your beer post. The guy loves a good beer the more bitter the better!

    • jim Says:

      hi meredith, a man after my own heart… bitterness is a much maligned and overlooked taste.

  5. judi tavill Says:

    You SOOOO will NEVER get paid enough!
    Really Rockin’… Can’t wait to see the final product!

  6. Miri Says:

    Beautiful work. The layering is exquisite. Great depth going on: can’t wait to see the final result.

  7. Michael Mahan Says:

    Really wild looking surfaces. I like. Are the pots in the pictures still in the raw stage? Bisqued? Or Finished?

  8. Michael Mahan Says:

    Sorry, I just noticed that my cursor brought forth a little tag that said “greenware” when I placed it on the pictures. Can’t wait to see them finished.

  9. gary Says:

    Tres difficult and involved, TRES beautiful result!

  10. Eugene Hon Says:

    Very abstract expressionistic indeed, yet a craft approach. Can,t wait to see them finish. What temperature are they going to be fired to. Luv your meticulous approach to your work – shown it to my students last week. They were very impressed indeed. honugenius

  11. Amy H Says:

    thanks for this post. how interesting…. yes, you will not get paid for all of your work. I’m one of the ones who has been interested in the process. Of course, I’d love to see a video too. 🙂

  12. Jerry Says:

    Your pots are beautiful at every step of creation so far. What a treat!

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