Making Slip!

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I made a bunch of slip the other day. I usually don’t make this much, at one time. I normally just make enough for what I need, but I have some plans for this slip. I can’t tell you yet, though! It’s a surprise.

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When I roll out a slab, I like to use up as much clay as I can. The little pieces I can’t use gets recycled into plastic freezer bags, some for wedging later, and some for slip. When I’m ready to make some slip, I break up the clay into little pieces, it takes less time that way. I put it in a plastic container, then I add water, and a secret ingredient I’ll tell you about in a little bit. Then I let it sit for a little while. When the clay starts to break down, I put it in a mixing bowl, so I can stir it.

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Every once in a while I give it a stir, until I think it’s ready to be strained. When it’s ready, I strain it into a clean bowl. I use a spoon to swish it around, because of the little lumps of clay still in the slip. If the lumps are too large, I just take them out and put it in a bowl for later.

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And here it is, one batch done…two more to go! Doesn’t it look yummy!

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Here’s a close-up view!

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Then I put it in a clean container!

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The secret ingredient I was telling you about before…is distilled white vinegar. When I first started making pottery I only used water in my slip. But then a few years later I met a potter who used white vinegar. At first, I thought it was kind of strange, and kind of smelly too. He told me that it made the clay beak down faster, and made the slip more sticky. So, I was curious! But, I didn’t try it right away, then one day I did! He was right! It breaks down the clay faster, so it takes less time to make slip, and it is stickier. So it’s great when you need to attach handles or anything else. I’ve been using it for 20 years now, and it works great. I don’t have any measurements for how much vinegar to add, I just wing it. I use mostly water, and eye-ball the amount of vinegar.

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Three batches…all done! I made them with different thickness, one is on the thin side, for attaching things like handles, the other one is little thicker, and the last one is even thicker. Now I just have to put the lids on.

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And now, it’s time to clean up!