Defining Space with Slip Trailing, Sgraffito, and Underglaze


Ben Carter thinks about design at every stage of the game when making pots. When he is throwing and altering, he is specifically considering the decoration that he will apply later.

In today’s video, an excerpt from his brand spanking new DVD Design for the Soft Surface: Throwing, Handbuilding, and Slip Decorating, Ben shows how he uses slip trailing, sgraffito, and underglaze painting in his work, and explains the thought process in deciding where the marks go. Though Ben works with earthenware at the low end of the firing range, but the colored underglaze technique can be used at any temperature range with a suitable transparent overglaze. –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.




This clip was excerpted from Design for the Soft Surface, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Daily Shop!

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carterdecfinishedTo learn more about Ben Carter or to see more images of his work, please visit

  • Hello, thanks for your video!
    How did you apply the base slip (white slip all over the dish)- did you dip the dish into the slip? I always have trouble with that… either it doesn`t cover it properly or it is not smooth like yours…M

  • Thank you Ben. This was a very nice demonstration of your techniques. It help me to realize I don’t have to be so overly controlling. I like your fluidness and the way you shared your learning about Chinese brush techniques. Do you teach? You seem to have that kind of demeanor. Your sort of a Mr. Rodgers of pottery; so articulate and friendly. I deeply admirer Mr. Rodgers. And I love your pottery. Do you have a website? Marko

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