Guy Van Leemput – Porcelain slip balloon bowls

Guy van Leemput
Guy van Leemput

Guy van Leemput has a wonderful technique of placing coloured porcelain slip onto balloons.

Using balloons as a base allows him to create very thin and fragile looking translucent bowls that seem to change dynamic as the weather changes.

In his earlier work he simply painted white porcelain slip into the balloons, and then decorated them with a wide range of textures. And over the years, his work has developed into a very beautiful style.

Scroll down to see how his work has changed over the years.

Guy Van Leemput - 2013

In 2013, Guy Van Leemput was very much inspired by nature.

Can you guess which of his pieces are called "Flower" and "Pineapple"?

As with nature, the simplicity and repetition of the marks leads up to a wonderfully complex textured surface that plays with light and shadow.

In the gallery below, you can see his patterns and textures got more complex in 2014 and he started to depend less on nature and create his own style.


Guy Van Leemput - 2014

After studying in China in 2014, which he recalls as a "Shocking event" - he started using colour in his work, as seen in the gallery below.

This is achieved by firstly laying down a thin layer of white porcelain on a plaster slab on your table, waiting for it to dry a little bit, and then painting on top of the white porcelain with different coloured slips.

This means that when the sheet of porcelain clay dries, one side of it is white and the other side is painted.

Guy Van Leemput - 2015

By cutting this slab into thin strips and alternating the sides which appear on the outside of the balloon, he creates a piece that changes colour depending on the lighting if the room. Sometimes the colour from the inside is projected outside and visa versa.

Guy Van Leemput - 2016

"For this series of translucent bowls I found inspiration in ancient Italian fresco paintings, both in colour as in technique. The same freshnesh in colour is achieved by using stains for colouring the kaolin and using these coloured slabs to roll into the walls of the bowl. Both inside and outside. The pattern on the inside is interfering with the pattern on the outside, depending on the amount of light falling on the pot. Thus the spectacle changes during the day and the seasons."


And whats the secret to firing these very thin translucent bowls?

These pieces are fired upside down on a support of un-fired clay. Firing at a high temperature (1300 °C) gives the bowls their strength and translucency. The woodfiring process gives the bowls their beautiful white colour.

Anyway, this is a great little project to try at home, as all you need is:

  1. Balloons (Experiment with different sizes!)
  2. Porcelain slip
  3. A paintbrush
  4. And if you want to be more adventurous, then you also need:

    1. Coloured slip
    2. A block of plaster to dry your painted porcelain slip.

So why not buy some balloons tomorrow, make some slip, and see what you come up with!

Do you want to learn more about using slips in your work?
Then why not get this book, Techniques Using Slips.

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  1. Thank you Ceramic School for sharing my work and technique. I will tell many more secrets in my workshop. Coming very soon in The Ceramics Congress Australia. Hope to see you there 😉