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neverfail red/orange terra sig recipe

updated fri 31 jan 97


Jean McDonald on sat 21 dec 96

Please Help. I am going to be smoking some pots and need the above recipe to
get the look I want. Any help appreciated. Thanks. Sarasota Potter

Vince Pitelka on thu 2 jan 97

>Please Help. I am going to be smoking some pots and need the above recipe to
>get the look I want. Any help appreciated. Thanks. Sarasota Potter

Jean -
I left for vacation the day you posted this, so you may have already found
what you need. I am not sure there is such thing as a neverfail terra sig.
It is of course not just the terra sig that determines success. No matter
how carefully you prepare your terra sig, also critical are the method of
application, the dryness of the surface being coated, the roughness or
smoothness of the surface being coated, the firing method and temperature,
etc. I have gotten to a point where I can use terra sig with relative
sureness of success, but it has taken a great deal of research, trial, and
error. To avoid peeling/flaking (the most common problem with terra sig), I
get the best result applying terra sig to a bone-dry surface which is
slightly rough, as from sanding. A very irregular surface does not have to
be sanded, of course, and seems to hold a terra sig surface very well. A
previously burnished or polished surface which is then coated with terra sig
is most apt to peel or flake. The method of sanding the dry surface, as
practiced by the Pueblo potters before slip-coating and burnishing, seems to
work extremely well for terra sig. Multiple very thin coats of sig will
still give a very smooth surface when you are done - a surface which is far
less likely to peel or flake during drying or firing.

Terra sig made from Cedar Heights redart clay gives the color you are
seeking. If you are primarily seeking color, and not necessarily a high
shine, then you do not really have to go to all the trouble to make an
super-refined terra sig as I have outlined in previous posts. A simple
deflocculating, settling, and decanting should give you a very functional
slip. This brings up a good point. The recipe I have previously posted for
super-refined terra sig enables one to get a high satin-gloss without
burnishing. It does not at all mean that terra sigs made by other methods
are not perfect adequate for many decoration applications. It all depends
on what you want on your own work. Feel free to email me with questions, or
if you need a copy of that earlier detailed post on ultra-refined terra sig.
- Vince
Vince Pitelka - vpitelka@Dekalb.Net
Phone - home 615/597-5376, work 615/597-6801
Appalachian Center for Crafts, Smithville TN 37166