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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Fortnum

Guest blog - Slip-casting

This week (September 10th - 14th) I've got Ellie with me on work experience, she has written a guest blog.

I hope you enjoy the read.


Slip-casting is a ceramic process that intrigued me as soon as I was introduced to it in the first year of my degree in BA (Hons) Design Crafts at De Montfort University, Leicester.

This ceramic technique involves using plaster to create moulds which you pour liquid clay- called slip- to create a shape.

Slip-casting moulds can be reasonably simple- like a one part ‘drop-out’ mould- to extremely complicated- like the work of Peter Pincus and Hammerly Ceramics.

Slip-cast moulds can be created in various different ways; they can be created using a whirler or a lathe (a tool which rotates), cast from thrown shapes that are leather hard or bisque fired, or creating moulds from existing items or found objects.

I have a growing interest for creating moulds from every day, mundane objects which most people wouldn’t look twice at- but when they are cast in clay slip they become beautiful.

Some objects I have used to create moulds have been every day plastic measuring jugs and food jars. I have recently been collecting vintage bottles from charity and vintage shops- including old medicine bottles and antique Bovril jars. I also used simpler moulds to create plates and hanging planters.

Something else that I am keen to explore throughout my third year and leading up to my degree show next June, is experimenting with layering coloured slips and decorating moulds with slip- which I did begin to experiment with in second year, but am excited to develop.

Layering slips can be created by casting a coloured slip on top of another.

The slip-casting process works by pouring liquid clay into the mould - waiting a certain amount of time, depending on the desired thickness- then pouring the slip out to create a shell of clay in the mould. This happens because the plaster absorbs the moisture from the clay on the walls of the mould. Once this layer is touch dry, you could add another coloured slip on top and repeat. Otherwise, you must wait until the piece shrinks away from the mould and is able to be removed.

If there has been two or more coloured layers to the piece, the inside and outside will be a different colour.

Another technique I would like to experiment with is carving away at the outer layers of slip- a technique which artists such as Sasha Wardell and Forest Ceramico use.

Overall, I am so excited to beginning third year and start experimenting more, as well as starting to plan my future as a designer-maker!

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