offcntr: (Default)
The best part of a project is, of course, it's successful completion! The tile backsplash is out of the kiln, the customers are very happy with it, took it away this morning, and paid me! They're off to look at paint samples to match, and I, who took advantage of the sunshine yesterday to shoot pics of all the finished tiles, thought I'd share a few with you. You can see the whole series on my Flickr account.

My favorite part of a job like this is scenes that span more than one tile. Sometimes it's just a little overlap, something to add a little interest to an otherwise blank space.

Sometimes it's a more elaborate filler...

Sometimes it's an entire scene:

And sometimes (my favorites, I must admit), the scene doesn't stop with just two tiles.

This project had twenty-two image tiles in all, plus four spacers with angled edges, to span the corners. Twenty-three individual birds all together, comprising fifteen different species.

Someday, we gotta do something like this for our house.
offcntr: (Default)
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.

Flat stuff

Dec. 15th, 2015 10:15 pm
offcntr: (live 2)
I'm starting to work on one of my winter projects, a series of tiles for a kitchen remodel, eighteen in all, in a couple of sizes. Hand-painted, of course. It's times like this I'm really glad I bought that surplus slab roller from the UO Craft Center back in 1998.

Tonight I'm starting on the first set, six 4x6" tiles for a backsplash. First, I roll the slab to the proper thickness--about a quarter inch--with my slab roller. I lay a sheet of latch hook rug mesh between the slab and canvas and roll it again. (This gives a texture to the back side that will help grip the tile adhesive on installation.)

I then flip the slab over and smooth the top surface with a rubber squeegee (thank you, Goodwill) and silicone rib. I cut out the tile with my punch cutter, transfer it to a piece of drywall, then eject it with the built-in spring-loaded piston.

Keep cutting tile until I run out of slab, then wedge up the scraps and roll again. Finished tiles are stacked between sheets of drywall scrap; slow, even drying will keep the tiles flat. I can fit two tiles on each piece of drywall. Edges are sealed with duct tape to keep crumbs of plaster out of my clay.

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