Mike Stumbras – Surface and Depth: Slip Trailing and Water Etching

Wanna learn how to level up your surface decoration?

In this online pottery workshop, Mike Stumbras will give an overview of two surface techniques that work together to build up a dimensional quality on wheel thrown pottery: water etching and slip trailing.

Mike will give an in-depth technical demonstration of both techniques, and speak about his design philosophy as it relates to historical production pottery.

Glaze recipes, equipment information, and technical notes summarizing the critical points of these techniques will be provided.

After this workshop you could be making amazing work like this:

When you buy this workshop you get:

✔ Watch my Workshop
Watch my workshop demo and Q&A.

After our online workshop, we will meet up for a Q&A where you can ask me any questions about the process.

Lifetime Access to the Replays
The workshop Q&A will be recorded, and you will have lifetime access to it. You can watch it online, or download it to your device to watch offline at any time.

Equipment List as a PDF download.
Here I have listed all the things you need to get started right away, and the links to buy them online, in one easy printable PDF document.

About Mike Stumbras

My work explores the beauty and horror of our existential uncertainties as creatures seeking meaning through labor and investigations of history. These wheel thrown, and cone 10 reduction fired vessels combine inspirations from historical production ceramics with contemporary studio art practices. 

My work addresses design elements from 18th and 19th century European slipcast ware. The historical work that inspires me presents a criterion for beauty that often seems empty in regards to contemporary considerations regarding the human condition. Although much of the work I am inspired by involves the use of commercial production techniques, my pieces are created with the immediacy and individuality attributed to hand processes and alternative firing methods. In this dialogue between the tangible past and immediate present, the work appears both conspicuously old fashioned and relevant to contemporary concerns. 

It is the strong connection I feel to the chaotic and imperfect nature handcraft that, to me, highlights the victories and tribulations in the labors of the handmade. I embrace the errors of the hand and artifacts of the heat from firing because, although pots themselves may be inanimate know-nothings, they still have something to teach us about the natural and the arcane. 

I place an emphasis on making ceremonial pieces that speak to the passage of time and embrace the propensity for ceramic vessels to be heirloom objects. The work seems to suggest that it bears witness to the ebb and flow of civilizations, of ideas, and of people. As vessels that exist through time as humans cannot hope to, these pots whisper to us to confront the knowledge we share of our progression toward inevitable demise and our march into obscurity. It is both a liberating comfort, and a savage terror that the dead cannot return, except in stories and dreams. 


Stumbras was born in Chicago, Illinois. He studied at St. Olaf College, where he received a BFA in studio art and a BS in biology in 2007. He completed residencies at 323 Clay in Independence, MO; The Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY; and The Carbondale Clay Center in Carbondale, CO. Stumbras received an MFA in Ceramics from Louisiana State University in 2017. Formerly a visiting assistant professor at the College of William and Mary and a Lecturer at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Stumbras has exhibited work nationally and internationally. He is currently an artist and Studio Manager at 323CLAY in Kansas City, Missouri. 



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  • Lifetime Access. Download or watch online
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  • Price: $39

Ratings and Reviews

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1 Ratings
What's your experience? We'd love to know!
Jennifer Buchanan
Posted 1 year ago
Pleasure and learning

Mike is an inspiring teacher, and in this video he provides all the information you need to bring this learning back to your studio. It was helpful to hear about his process as he creates his surfaces; not only did I gain information to improve my skills, but I feel like I gained a sense of how he thinks about things, which is inspiring. The video and sound quality was good.

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