Poured slip decoration

Plate from Switzerland (exact place of manufacture unknown), slip-trailed and combed decoration on the lip, poured slip decoration on the wall, marbling on the well.

Poured slip decoration in CERAMICA CH

Poured slip decoration was a widely used variant of slip trailing. There is no universally used term to describe it in the German-language specialist literature. The visual effect was achieved by adding a slip-trailed spiral or concentric circles onto a vessel while its slip undercoat was still quite wet, and then placing drops of different coloured slip onto the spiral or circles at regular intervals, which would then run down along the vessel wall. As the drops ran downwards, they automatically carried the spiral along without merging with it. This created a wavelike streaky effect between the drops and the slip-trailed spiral pattern. The different colours of the drops and the spiral often ran together in the well of the bowl or plate where they mixed with the undercoat, producing a marbled effect (Film showing the technique being used from minute 5:00; Poured slip decoration in Ukraine).

Sometimes, if the slip was relatively thick, or if the potter wished to add more arches, the drops were replaced by a slip-trailed line which ran down to the well. The resulting effect was similar, but a little cruder than in combed decoration. Poured slip decoration was often combined with other techniques.

Poured slip decoration does not appear to have been used in England or the US; as a result there is no specific term for it in the English language. In France the technique was very rarely used (e.g. in the first half of the 19th century in the pottery-making community of Bord near Ravel, Puy-de-Dôme: Brongniart 1844, Vol. II, 16 and Vol. III, Pl. 57, F9).

Translation Sandy Haemmerle

Brongniart 1844
Alexandre Brongniart, Traité des arts céramiques ou des poteries considérées dans leur histoire, leur pratique et leur théorie, Paris 1844.

French: (suggested translation) décor aux gouttes de barolet descendants  – décor aux coulures

German: Laufdekor