Mary Johnson Ceramics

made by hand, drawn from life

frog blue slip

I often make pots with frog decorations on them. The design comes from drawings I have made sitting by the pond in the spring. I love the way that frogs float with their arms and legs outstretched, suspended in the weeds. I impress circles with the end of a wooden spoon to mark on frog spawn and then dip the pot into white slip and paint on a swirl of blue water.

frog slip trailed

With a slip trailer I draw on the ‘bones’ of the frog and tadpoles. I have to let this dry out a bit.


Then I add the body of the frog. You need a bit of confidence and a brush full of very thick white slip to do this effectively. You don’t really see the results until the end, as the slip layers reveal themselves under a good glaze. Experience will tell you how thick or lightly to paint.


A few dabs of green and black slip are painted over the body. When it is dry enough  details in scraffito can be drawn through to pick out eyes and fingers.


The finished frogs float in the bottom of pond bowls or hang on the sides of watery jugs. They are fun to make. I was never very disciplined with paint and so this splodgy style suits my working temperament better than neat slip trailing patterns.

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