Agateware pottery features swirling marbleized colors and was
probably first developed to imitate the qualities of agate, a
semiprecious stone with striated patterning. These swirling effects can
be created either by throwing with a prepared mixture of colored clays,
or by working with thin slabs of colored clay that has been layered to
create patterns. In today’s post, Michelle Erickson and Robert
Hunter demonstrate how to create agateware using the latter of these
techniques. Glazing isn’t the only way to create sweet surfaces!
For thousands of years, potters in many cultures have used slip or liquid clay to create decoration. The technique was elevated to a industrial level in seventeenth-century Staffordshire, England where potters produced a wide variety of dishes and hollow wares for the international market. American archaeologists unearth English slipware fragments in prodigious quantities from seventeenth and eighteenth century historical sites. Contemporary art potters have also found inspiration in these traditional English slipwares, popularized by the work of Bernard Leach and his students.
Rediscover a long lost technique for making marbleized patterns using contrasting colored slips.