Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Slipware is a type of pottery identified by its primary decorating process. A thin slurry of clay called slip can be placed onto the leather-dry clay surface by dipping, painting or splashing. Slip produced to a specific recipe is sometimes called an "engobe." If the piece is dipped for a uniform coating, it is usually to give a finer smoother surface to a rough clay body or to create an underlying color for additional decoration. Slips or engobes can also be applied by painting techniques, in isolation or in several layers and colors. Sgraffito involves scratching through a layer of coloured slip to reveal a different colour or the base clay underneath. Several layers of slip and/or sgraffito can be done while the pot is still in a raw state. However, if done carefully, one colour of slip can be fired, before a second is applied, and prior to the scratching or incising decoration. This is particularly useful if the base clay is not of the desired colour or texture.
Many pre-historic and historic cultures used slip as the primary decorating material on their ware. These include most prehistoric cultures of the Middle East, many areas of Africa, most pottery making cultures in the Americas, early Korean ware, Mycenean ware, the pottery of Ancient Greece, and pre-industrialized potters in some areas of Great Britain. Later cultures combined the use of slip with the application of high silica glazes.
- Hamer, Frank and Janet. The Potter's Dictionary of Materials and Techniques. A & C Black Publishers, Limited, London, England, Third Edition 1991. ISBN 0-8122-3112-0.
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