Jan. 31st, 2019

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It's been a busy week. The kiln has been loaded, fired, unloaded, rejoiced/lamented over, and I'm getting a moment to catch up here before it all begins again. A couple of entries back, I promised to show you my latest tile project, a bathroom back splash. I talked about how to make tiles during a previous project, so consider this a sequel: The Glazening.

We start with a stack of tiles, all bisqued. The difference in color is probably from slight variations in atmosphere in the bisque as organic matter burned out. It won't have any effect on the finished tiles. You'll note the texture on the back, ideal for gripping the mastic. Less ideal for waxing, so I only apply liquid wax resist to the edges. Any glaze that gets onto the back--and it will--will have to come off with sponge and probably a tooth brush. After they're waxed, I lay them out in order and number them on the back with black stain. This will help the tile-setter to lay them in the right order and, preferably, right way up. (Don't laugh, it happened once.)

I've made a tile holder out of the remains of an old wire whisk. I suspend the tile over the glaze bucket while I pour a uniform coat of glaze, then rotate it 180° and pour a second coat. Holding it at an angle allows the last bit of glaze to run off at a corner, and I dab any drips or splashes with a sponge. After it's dry, I can turn it over and clean up any overrun.

Glazing goes much like any of my pottery. I work eight or ten at a time, first drawing the lines with black stain, then coming back to fill in the colors. I have a numbered chart with thumbnail sketches that I consult as I go, to keep everything organized. This client wanted some white spaces in the pattern, so some tiles only have a bit of branch, or leaves, or flowers on them.


Finally, they're all finished. I wish I had a good panorama function on this camera. Since I don't, here's a badly edited-together picture of the entire sequence.


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