Pottery Decorating Video: What a Stretch! How to Use Sodium Silicate to Create Crackled Texture on Pottery Surfaces

Today’s pottery video is kind of like a two-for-one deal (except, of course, you don’t have to pay for anything!) In this excerpt from the DVD Pottree: Wedge to Fire, potters Don Ellis and Randy Brodnax demonstrate a couple of variations on the same technique in tandem. The technique involves using sodium silicate and a heat gun to quickly harden the outside surface of a freshly thrown pot. Then the pot can be stretched from the inside, creating a lovely cracked texture on the surface.

The video is as entertaining as it is informative because Don and Randy are longtime pals who jokingly rib (not in the pottery sense of the word) each other as they work. Enjoy! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

 


 

Stretching the Possibilities with Sodium Silicate

by Don Ellis and Rodney Brodnax

 

Having trouble watching the video?

Please see our Video FAQ to troubleshoot.

 


 

This clip was excerpted from Pottree: Wedge to Fire, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore!

Order online and get free shipping!
(Free shipping applies to U.S. orders only)

 

For more interesting throwing techniques, download your free copy of Five Great Pottery Wheel Throwing Techniques: Tips on Throwing Complex Pottery Forms Using Basic Throwing Skills.

 


 

Comments
  • I’ve also done this with a layer of colored slip before the layer of sodium silicate, to give the color around the crackles without having to mix colorants with the sodium silicate beforehand.

  • I have been trying to watch this since it was first posted and its not working. Please fix it soon. I’m dying to see it. Thanks for all your good work.

  • I am having problems to watch this video. I can’t download it!!

  • Sorry folks! I believe all of the technical issues have been solved now! What a Monday!

  • What a great post! Don and Randy are very entertaining and interesting. I love to see variations on a theme. Time to get the heat gun out!

  • I love their workshops, and they are the best potters. Thanks Don and Randy keep on playing in mud…..

  • I will try this technic in my atelier. It is very interesting. Thanks for these artists.

  • What temperatures are used to do the firing on stoneware with the sodium silicate? See its actually liquid glass?

  • There workshops are great: Don also has a technique using a black oxide glaze. Would love to see it in a video.

  • mi piacerebbe vedere il risultato finale, dopo cottura . che meraviglia, le possibilità con la creta sono infinite. bravi

  • i just tried this for the first time today and it worked awesome! however i am wondering how to fire these pots? any recommendations on temperature?

  • Very interesting.I’m wondering how to fire these pots also.

  • Tried this method today and turned out great. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge

  • Im also wondering ,how to fire these pots?

  • Yes, How do you fire these pots??? Will someone please answer. Does the DVD say?

  • The last part won’t play – just goes to the end…

  • Can a blow dryer work if you don’t have a heat gun or blowtorch?

  • Greta, I just did it with a hair dryer. It works alright! It’s great fun. Try it!
    Evelyn, in the DVD Randy fires the pot in the gas kiln in the backyard. I will bisque fire them in the electric kiln and then try to pit fire the piece. Don’t know what the sodium silicate does in the heat of the flames… Hmmmm. Randy??

    Evelyne

  • Greta, I just did it with a hair dryer. It works alright! It’s great fun. Try it!
    Evelyn, in the DVD Randy fires the pot in the gas kiln in the backyard. I will bisque fire them in the electric kiln and then try to pit fire the piece. Don’t know what the sodium silicate does in the heat of the flames… Hmmmm. Randy??

    Evelyne

  • Still no answer to firing questions about these sodium silicate pots! Does Anyone have a clue???? Thanks, Lyn

  • Evelyn, there’s a part on Randy’s DVD that shows that he fired the pots in his gas kiln in the backyard. Do you have the DVD “Hot damn potree”? Btw: last Friday, April 20, I have sent an email to Randy Brodnax asking him a question regarding the hair dryer (instead of the heating gun). Alas, never got an answer. Maybe Randy is out of town at the moment… Will ask in the forum and keep you in the loop.

    Hair dryer is working alright. It worked for me!

    Evelyne

  • Evelyn, there’s a part on Randy’s DVD that shows that he fired the pots in his gas kiln in the backyard. Do you have the DVD “Hot damn potree”? Btw: last Friday, April 20, I have sent an email to Randy Brodnax asking him a question regarding the hair dryer (instead of the heating gun). Alas, never got an answer. Maybe Randy is out of town at the moment… Will ask in the forum and keep you in the loop.

    Hair dryer is working alright. It worked for me!

    Evelyne

  • Ok, I asked in the PC forum and ceramists there said to fire the sodium silicate cracked pieces according to the clay you use, so for a high fire clay you can fire the piece either in electric or gas kiln, in Raku kiln or Soda firing, or in a wood kiln. I will try to fire an object in the pit when I do my next pit fire in May. Will tell you the outcome.
    (Same for low fire clay, only then by low fire temps).
    Evelyne

  • Ok, I asked in the PC forum and ceramists there said to fire the sodium silicate cracked pieces according to the clay you use, so for a high fire clay you can fire the piece either in electric or gas kiln, in Raku kiln or Soda firing, or in a wood kiln. I will try to fire an object in the pit when I do my next pit fire in May. Will tell you the outcome.
    (Same for low fire clay, only then by low fire temps).
    Evelyne

  • I had the honor of meeting Randy and watching a demonstration. He is so funny. And his work is magnificent.

Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Larger version of the image

Send this to a friend