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pit fires and cracks/terra sig

updated sun 28 feb 99


Vince Pitelka on sat 27 feb 99

>Are you implying that terra sig is a slip? I'm pretty sure that it is not,
>or at least it is not used in the same sense as slip. terra sig is
>traditionaly aplied in a thin layer so thin that absolutly no detail is
>lost, and then using terra sig in the method you have suggested.

Matthew -
Yes, terra sig certainly is a slip, although a very specialized one. You
can check out my spiel on terra sigs on Tony Hansen's IMC webpage at

It is clay in water suspension, so that pretty much makes it a slip. And
terra sig can be applied in multiple layers, so that it does cover detail
completely. It is up to the individual. It is possible to let a piece get
bone dry, sand it smooth, and then apply repeated layers of terra sig to
completely conceal the sanding texture. If one wants to burnish the
surface, then this is a logical choice, as terra sig makes an excellent
burnishing slip. A bit of lard or crisco smeared on after the terra sig
will help the burnishing.

We learn something new every day. One of my students applied the terra sig
and lard to a sanded pinch pot, and then had to leave. Came back the next
day and burnished the pot, and got a surface like glass. I have never tried
that, and have always taught that one must complete the terra sig-coating
and burnishing in one continuous operation. Hmmmm . . . . . .

Best wishes -
- Vince

Vince Pitelka -
Home 615/597-5376, work 615/597-6801, fax 615/597-6803
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166