Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi

COMBING - Clay and slips.

ca: PENTINAT - Argila i barbotina.

es: PEINADO - Arcilla y barbotina.

Combing is to indent parallel lines into clay, slips and colors with any tools that have two or more fingers, such as forks and feathers. Feathers were one of the first instruments used for decorating.

Combing clay: push a fork into the clay and pull it, this will leave parallel lines with rough edges. These should be brushed and smoothed off with a damp soft brush before adding the colors. The lines indented form a pattern or texture and when covered with a transparent glaze or slip, the shadows caused by the indented lines will be accentuated.

Combing slips and colors: cover what is being decorated with one color, then decorate it with other colors by trailing or dripping and comb across them so the colors overlap and integrate. This can be done directly on to clay or bisque but if any parts are left without paint they must be covered with a glaze. The overlapping of different colors creates a nice effect.