Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: bowls, classes, surface decoration

A few weeks back, during my SURFACE DECORATION class, my students tackled Water Etching with Catherine Tweedie! I was out-of-town for the Minnesota Pottery Tour… and Catherine is always my number one choice for a class sub. And in this case, it worked out perfect. As she was available to sub for me when I needed her to… AND she is the master of water etching so she was the perfect replacement to fill-in while I was gone.

Prior to class, I had pre-made several bowls for my students to play with. I threw them, trimmed them, and added a layer of colored slip on the exterior of most of them.

Catherine brought the bowls down to class as a surprise for them to work on… GIDDY-UP!

Catherine started by showing them how to paint wax resist patterns on the bone-dry bowls.

And then when the wax resist is dry, they started to wipe-away the unprotected surfaces with COLD water! Gently wiping the colored slip away… leaving the wax protected areas intact. The more you wipe away, the more difference in depth you start to see. Eventually you can see and feel a crisp edge around the waxed patterns.

I kinda feel bad that I missed such a great water etching demo by Catherine!… but I will say, it was more than worth it with the Minnesota Pottery Tour! Looks like I left my students in good hands… and they made some really cool patterns on the bowls.

1 Comment

Sara Underhill

May 14th, 2024

This is so great! I’m a high school ceramics teacher and we’ve been talking about water etching and your blog came up. I’ve never seen this approach to water etching. Thanks, Catherine, Gary, and students, for sharing.

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