Terra Sigillata (or "earth seal") is a slip containing very fine particles. It is created by a process of separation. We grind, using a ball mill, specially selected clays and water until the particles are extremely small. Deflocculant is added and the mixture is allowed to settle for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. The fluid left on top after settling is terra sigillata. Longer settling will yield a finer, higher quality product. After application, simple polishing with your hands or a soft cloth will shine terra sigillata to a high gloss. The smooth surface is ideal for decoration especially with smoke firing and other primitive techniques. After firing you will have a smooth, weather resistant coating much like a glaze.
History: Historically, terra sigillata has been used as a sealer and decorative coat on pottery for thousands of years. Common examples are the Roman red black pottery, and the black polished Native American Indian pottery of the Southwest. Contemporary uses include raku, smoke firing and other techniques that emphasize the surface.
Types of Terra Sigillata: We offer several different colors of terra sigillata which can be used to create an extremely wide range of effects. Our basic mix is a white ball clay. Used alone, it is a beautiful satiny white. We are also offering a red clay terra sigillata made from Red Art and a tan terra sigillata made from Gold Art. The white, red and tan slips can be inter-mixed to yield different tones.
How to Make Finer Slip: Our terra sigillatas are ball milled for forty-eight hours with deflocculant, water is added to a standard dilution and the slip is then bottled and ready to use. Stir the entire bottle including the hard layer in the bottom. As it settles, the terra sigillata will yield a finer product.
Applications and firing: Terra sigillata can be applied by spraying, dipping or brushing, at all stages of construction. Apply several coats and burnish or simply polish with your hands or a soft cloth when damp/dry to the touch. Polish between coats for the glossiest surfaces. Terra sigillata can be fired at any temperature but the polished surface will start to break down when fired over cone 04. Use as a slip/engobe up to cone 10 and above.
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Asheville Location: 828-252-6033
Florida Location: 727-553-9344
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