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slip conundrum / mason stains

updated fri 25 aug 00


CINDI ANDERSON on wed 23 aug 00

I want to paint designs on my pieces with mason stains, then either
leave as is, or cover with a clear or transparent glaze. I fire cone 6
electric, usually on groggy, non-white clays.

As a medium, slip is probably the best for applying the mason stains.
But because I do this part time, it is very hard to catch pieces at
leatherhard. So I want slips that can be applied when bone dry, or
between leatherhard and bone dry.

A primarily clay based slip is probably not the best, because the piece
has already done a lot of shrinking by the time I apply the slip. But,
if I use a more glaze based slip (with fluxes), will I still be able to
cover with glaze after bisque'ing without there being problems?

I guess this really is similar to multiple glaze firings, which I
haven't done either so I don't know the difficulties.

Finally, if I make the slip from the clay itself rather than using a
recipe, would I add some flint and/or feldspar as fluxes?


ps If anyone is an expert on Mason Stains... the color chart shows that
only about 30% of the colors are able to be used as "body stains" which
I presume applies to slip. (These are marked with a "1" on the color
chart, plus it says "most" browns work, although I find that vague since
some browns are specifically marked with a 1...) But most potters I ask
think all Mason stains can be used in slips. Does anyone understand
what is behind this, why a stain would or wouldn't work as a body stain?

Kim Lemonakis on thu 24 aug 00

If your using a white body you could make it into a slip with a blender and add the color to taste. Pretty much what you see is what you get. I use to do a low fire white talc body (hardly any grog) and would get it to a heavy cream consistency and add the colorants. It worked just fine. Its probably better to apply it to leather hard clay. If you'd like a water color/stain look just take the mason stain and combine it one part stain to two parts gertsley borate & water.
Hope it works. One other thought to consider is that a lot of the mason stains will burn out at higher temps. Its usually indicated on the chart.