Slipware is the name of hand thrown pottery decorated with colorful slips and glazed with a transparent shiny glaze.
This method is one of my favorites. I love using colorful clay over red fired clay. Slip is also known as engobe and is a white or colored clay in liquid form. However it is not a casting slip, that is something else. Slip is often used to coat red firing clay. Originally to lighten the appearance of the ceramic ware, to make the pot more noble one could say. It was mostly used on earthen ware , low fired and glazed at that time with a lead-glaze. The slip could coat the whole pot or only part of it, either on the inside or the outside. Decoration was done with a slip trailer which gives the characteristic appearance of the patterns or drawings. It has also often been associated with what is known in Germany as ”Bauernkeramik”, which translates as farmer’s pottery.
As mentioned it is one of my favorite way of finishing a thrown pot, even so it is very time consuming. Much more so then glazing simply on a white firing stoneware. It needs specially much care between the thrown stage and the dry stage. For it is then the slip is applied. I often coat the inside of my cups, bowls and jugs with a white firing slip and the outside with a white or colored slip, which I then decorate with a slip-trailer. Again in white or in a color.
What I like specially about this finish is the depth of colors, the tactility of the decoration, the spontaneity of line, the contrast in colors, the shine of the finished glaze ( no longer a lead-glaze, of course ) , the contrast between glaze and clay, the earthy nearness.