slip bowls and a piece of history

It’s not every day that you become a part of history.  It’s not every day that you become part of potting history, all be it a tiny bit.

Yesterday I was able to go to York and make some slip cast bowls, photographs will follow.

Slip casting is a way of making identical pieces out of clay by using a mould.  Slip clay is clay that has the consitancy of cream, and it is poured into plaster moulds.  The plaster moulds soak up the water in the clay and after a few minutes the clay nearest the mould has become stiff enough for you to pour the rest of the clay out of the mould and leave a ‘skin’ of clay that is your object.

I’d not done slipcasting since I was at university, but after a brief refresher I was up and running.

The end result was about 10 bowls to become my potting history.

I was making the bowls for a large installation piece that has been conceived by world renowned potter, Clare Twomey.   We are making 10,000 bowls, one for each hour that apprentices had to work over a 7 year period to serve their apprenticeship.  As this is a ceramic installation piece we have the apprenticeship of a potter in mind.

The York City Art Gallery is opening its doors this year after a major refurbishment which will give more room to display their ceramics collections.

These bowls represent all the potters who have made each of the pots, or part of the pots.

It’s our tribute to all the unsung potters.

I nearly took my S stamp to put on my contribution, but as I was celebrating the unnamed potters through out history, I left mine blank.



A rather blury, and in full flow, the lovely Clare Twomey IMG_1970

An empty mouldIMG_1974 My little production line of moulds full of slip clay

IMG_1969A slightly closer look at the wet slip

IMG_1973After the slip had been poured out, you can see the ‘skin’ of the pot, this one has been trimmed and is just stiffening a little longer before removing from the mould


Bowls dryingIMG_1977

Close up of one of my slipcast bowlsIMG_1976

IMG_1975The bowls will be fired when they are dry, and I’ll let you know when the gallery is open and you can see the hard work of lots of people who have given up their free time to make a piece of history.

Link to Clare Twomey Studio

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