Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: process, studio

I was painting some colored slip accents on pieces today. And found myself struggling to see the difference between the clay color and where I had already painted the slip. Then I remembered the “food coloring trick.” Luckily, I had a couple bottles of food coloring in my studio from the last time I did this. The flashing slip I was working with was Nichols Blue… but it looked very close to my clay color. So I added blue food coloring! Knowing that the coloring will burn out of the slip when it goes into the kiln. A quick trick to make my life easier! And it’s fun to watch…

In fact, I had already done it once to this batch of slip which is why it’s already a light blue tint. But I wanted more. I wanted to play. I wanted it bluer than blue. I wanted to do it again. And I knew if I did, I could take pictures and share with you!

The fun part is when the food coloring spreads over the “water surface” of the slip… emanating from the dark center where the drop landed. So I let it spread… loving the tie-dyed effect until it stops. Then, and only then, it’s time to stir it all up!

Special thanks to my pottery friend Emily Murphy who showed me this trick years ago when she used to be my studio neighbor. She may not be right across the hall any more, but obviously the tricks she shared still influence my work!



August 22nd, 2013

reminds me of crystalline glazes, or peacock feathers!

August 23rd, 2013

They look like pansies! Great trick. Thanks for sharing!

Stephen Durham

August 23rd, 2013

Getting glaze the color you want it should always be this easy.

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