Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi

INLAYING - Colored clay and slip

ca: INCRUSTACIÓ – Argila de colors i barbutina

es: INCRUSTACIÓN – Arcilla de colores y barbotina

Inlay is to force different colored clays or slips into clay of another color. Clay can be pressed in and slips added to fill up spaces which have been incised into clay. There are different colored clays that can be bought or you can make them up by adding stains. With colored clays, always use the same make and with slips make them up using the same clay. In both methods, the design is prepared on a flat surface and then the shape is usually formed using a mold.

1) Roll out the clay that is going to be the background for the design and then leave it until it is leather hard.
2) Incise or dig out your design, clean and smooth off any loose clay on the outside, then score and dampen the parts of the design.
3) (a) Fill the spaces up with the different colored clays or the slip.
4) When dry enough, scrape off the surplus colors to the height of the background and you can see your inlaid design.


1) (b) Roll out different colored clays all to the same height and cut out the required shapes.
2) Lay them on to a flat porous surface to form your design
3) (c) Roll out the clay for the background and lay it over them.
4) (d) With a rolling pin, gently roll over the clay until it flattens and is completely integrated with the design.
5) (e) To turn it the right way up, lay another piece of wood on top, like a sandwich, and turn it over.
6) The imbedded sides will have to be sponged to leave a smooth surface.
7) If it is a flat design, the outer edges will have to be cut to the shape required.
8) (f) There are many instruments that can be used with this method, the following are three of them biscuit cutters, press molds,hand tile cutters and they are made in different shapes and sizes.