Of the decorative techniques I’ve fallen for while I’ve been studying wheel-throwing, inlaying is one I could spend years experimenting with.
I carved a detail on a plate, filled it with white slip, simply wet clay coloured with a mineral, and scraped back the dry slip to reveal the ornament. Now I’m trying this on an entire bowl.
After throwing a bowl on the wheel, turning the base to reveal the curve and give it a foot-ring, I drew a design and carved it out. I like to keep a project like this covered in my kitchen, and pick it up when I have a moment to work on it. I think I could easily have stopped there, and will on another piece. I like the carving all by itself!
Once I was happy with the design I filled it with slip. My teacher made a dark grey slip for me, deepening the colour with powdered manganese. I painted it on in layers, allowing it to dry and building up a thick coating over the carving.
And then a bit of delight in scraping away the surface of the slip, not unlike scratching a lottery ticket. This piece of inlaid pottery will be biscuit fired, and then I’m going to attempt a thin white glaze. We’ll see if the pattern shows through, it’s definitely an experiment. I would happily draw on more pieces all day long, but I’ll test this little bowl first.