Compressing the clay surface of a pot once it is built and leather-hard is one of the simplest and most ancient techniques to decrease the porosity of the vessel. A burnishing tool in the form of the back of a teaspoon or a smooth pebble will render the surface glossy and smooth, and this gloss will stay as long as the firing temperature doesn’t go above 1080 degrees C.
Sara Scott has been experimenting with this technique, using coloured slips (which are basically liquid clay with added colourants) since her arrival in New Zealand in 2005, having spent the previous couple of decades burnishing clay bole under the gilded surfaces of picture frames.
Recipes for the slips will be provided and one or two will be made up as a demonstration. Sara will bring leather-hard terracotta clay tiles and clay to construct a dish using a slump mould (which supports the dish and helps dry it out). Scraffitto and inlay will be demonstrated, as well as the method of applying the slips and burnishing them. The decoration is best done quickly and decisively.
Tools will be provided but, if possible, participants should bring the following: soft brushes, a potter’s knife, rubber and metal kidneys, a needle and a pebble or spoon.
Bisque firing of finished pieces can be arranged for an additional cost. Details will be available at the workshop.
Sara Scott trained at Central School of Art (now Central St Martins) in London, and taught for several years in pre-school, primary and secondary education in the UK.
Since coming to NZ in 2004, she has been President of the local pottery, Vice-President of Ceramics New Zealand, and has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand.
She sells mainly through The Moray Gallery in Dunedin and Origin on Hardy in Nelson.
Her speciality is working with coloured slips and bodies as a form of decoration.