Surface Decoration Techniques: wax resist and underglaze/ slip inlay

I have been creating, soda firing and documenting simple straight sided cylinders with a variety of surface treatments for examples for my classes and this blog. The original idea was to create demos to show students that aren’t specifically “my pieces.” The fun result of this project has been that it’s given me an excuse to return to things long forgotten, or try something new.
Watch out for upcoming tutorials with lots of pictures and slip and glaze recipes.

Wax resist and underglaze/ slip inlay
A great way to make a clean line without too much mess, step by step.


Step 1: Paint slip on leather hard piece.
I used several porcelain slips (grolleg mixed with Mason stains) on Lillstreet Soda Clay 

Step 2: After the slip dries (no longer tacky), paint wax over entire surface.

Step 3: Using a small loop tool, carve in your lines.
Step 4: Paint underglaze into the carved lines.Step 5: Wipe away any excess underglaze.
This is a great way to get make a nice clean, sharp line in the leather hard stage.


The inside of the piece is glazed with a simple matte black glaze, and soda fired to cone 10 in reduction.
Because the line is inlaid, it’s protected from the soda and doesn’t “bleed” when hit directly.


Some close up images 

3 thoughts on “Surface Decoration Techniques: wax resist and underglaze/ slip inlay

  1. I love your blog and I love your work. This has given me some good ideas on surface texturing of my work this semester.

    I’ve been working with clay since August 2007, when my husband told me to take classes at the college so that I could have some ME time (my time was always spent taking care of many people’s children). He is always looking out for my best interest, and when I won’t put a project down and then start to get stressed with it, he’ll take me out to dinner or help guide me to take a break. He saw that I needed more than just a dinner break, so he encouraged me to explore avenues that he knew I loved — art and photography. When I walked into the ceramic studio, I felt like I was HOME for the first time in my life I’ve done two dimensional art my entire life, but clay is something wholly different. It is squooshy and plastic initially, and you can mold it into whatever you want and glaze and texture it an infinite amount of ways. It’s AWESOME! I’ve been immersed in clay (literally) ever since. Your blog has given me beauty, comfort, and ideas to learn from and develop. Thanks so much for your blog.

    much love

    1. thanks for the tip, and what a great comment from DJ. You are lucky to have such a wonderful husband. That is so important as we all need art and “me” time, whether we are a man or a woman.

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