Tag Archives: Tile

Open Studio Update, 4-5-11

Things clicked along pretty smoothly today. I did take a green tea break at one point, as I found myself tired out. It tasted good and perked me up. Lifting things in and out of the damp room and expending brain power on tricky projects = break time. Later, we went out for lunch. Gary wasn’t in the studio today. We all missed him, but he showed up near the end of our lunch, so there was a nice bit of continuity.

"Girl with a Tea Cup," by Harold Gilman

Update: Formed the lid to the bird house. It’s a low, wide cone and, at present, is resting on yellow foam rubber with wadded newspapers underneath. The rolled out slab was too damp and it cracked. The cracks are now filled with clay. Fingers crossed. Paper clay RX if that doesn’t work. Glazed the oil lamps. I can’t wait to experience the soft, golden light of an olive oil lamp. Ovid said, “The lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean.” On another note, I am waiting for a Happiness Engineer from WordPress to transfer the contents of this site to another. It is supposed to be a seamless process. In the meantime, I am trying to learn about SSL and IP. I will continue to cram until they get in touch. If I have a shop front through Etsy.com, I may not need the SSL. Also, I am considering whether I need a dedicated IP address…and I am now looking at HostGator, too, since there are more hosting services to choose from for this swap out.

"Sunrise," Terra Cotta with Shino glaze

PLANS: I took my ‘Trees’ mold to the studio to today, intending to make some more tiles, but ran out of time. Therefore, I brought white clay home and will make about eight more tiles this week. Even though they are made from the same mold, none of them truly look alike, as I vary the treatment with each one. Am rather partial to ‘Trees.’  The new ones I make will be thinner, less heavy. Several years ago, I made a small tile, a reproduction of the famed rose designed by Dard Hunter in the mid-1900s. I thought of molding the tile I’d made, but decided it’s sub-par. I am going to carve another, fire, and mold it. I adore this stylized rose and want to see it with more finishes. In addition, I am going to mold something else that has taken some consideration, as it is personal. But it is so lovely, I want to share it. My “Sunrise” tile was made for our cottage, Sunrise Cottage, and the name for both comes from an exquisite silent movie filmed by German filmmaker Murnau, who was noted for expressionist cinema. Below is a photo of our cottage in the snow….

Our home, Sunrise Cottage

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Open Studio Report, 3-29

STUDIO: It felt so good to be back in the studio again after a week’s down time because of a sore throat. I missed my projects and the conviviality of my studio mates. At this point, I am officially behind on my bird house and may miss spring nesting this year. If that happens, it’s okay, as it will still look nice hanging from our wide-leaf maple tree, but I’d rather it be done and up. Also, after I started undoing the wrappings on my project, I remembered I hadn’t looked up the dimensions for the hole in the bird house. Skipped that step and made the ball-shaped knobs that will go on the bottom and top and repaired a crack with homemade paper clay, slip and tissue bits. Think I’ll bring the project home and work on it over the week, as time is of the essence. On Tuesday, I also started experimented with draping and folding some terra-cotta. Rigged a temporary mold of odds and ends and worked with  a 1/8″ thick terra-cotta sheet, but even that was too thick. Now, I must investigate techniques for increasing malleability and rolling out very, very thin….

Bisquing: I finally placed my wheat tile and oil lamps on the Cone 6 firing shelves, so next week I can make a mold of the tile and start drying it. Maybe, just maybe I’ll make the mold this week. Ge a jump on it…

Plans: I liked the effect of white underglaze with Shino over it, so think that is what I’ll do when I glaze the original wheat tile next week…will look golden and beautiful with the wheat motif. Also, I’m going to start making smaller, thinner tiles, ones that will dry faster and cost less to mail. Beforehand, I will start developing some more Arts & Crafts motifs. Time, time, I am going to start dividing my time differently: working at home more. The focus of Open Studio time will change, be devoted more to things I cannot do at home: using the slab roller, glazing and firing. I want to pick up the pace a bit and I love working at home, so I look forward to these changes.

HOME: Today, I made three ‘trees’ tiles and a slew of brown sugar medallions. At least one of the tiles will become a “Snowfall,” but I’m not sure about the others. It’s spring after all! For the medallions, I used Cathy Camley’s suggestion for forming a nice rounded edge: place plastic over the clay, then push a cutter down over the plastic and the rolled clay. Works very well!

Plans: I also booted up etsy.com and will sign up for it after I finish this post. I am considering either joining a team or forming one. More on that later, but first I’ll join on my own. This week, I engaged WordPress‘ Happiness Engineers for a guided transfer from .com to .org. I had so wanted to go with Laughing Squid for a hosted service because it’s an indie that supports the arts. However, I am not a techie, it’s not a WP option for a transfer, so must forego it. Instead, I am going with Blue Host, which has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. I am also ordering my greenhouse kit today, so am very excited about that. That got me thinking about clay garden markers, but one thing at a time….

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Open Studio Report, 3/15

Oh, it was a gray and rainy old day today! It’s always a treat to arrive at the studio to spend time with my companions, though, no matter what it’s like outside. It was warm and bright indoors around the big table, although I felt less industrious today than last time. I continued to work on my conical bird house, trimming it a bit to make it perfectly upright. I also cut out a round of clay that I will insert next week after it dries a little. It will become a platform for nesting. Next week, after I place it, I will make horizontal scratches up to the hole I’ll cut and this will be the ‘ladder’ the fledglings will climb when they’re ready to leave the nest. Now, I have to research how big I want the hole to be, then factor in shrinkage rates and cut it. I also want to consider a squirrel-proofing addition. The photo above doesn’t show much yet, as the cone is covered with damp paper and plastic, but it is slowly taking shape. I also made a pattern and cut out the lid, but it will have to dry for a week before I create the low, squat conical shape and stuff it with newspapers to dry. A tile had come out of the kiln and while it has its charms, I am not perfectly satisfied with it. Because the white clay I use turns light gray when fired, I covered the whole thing with bright white underglaze, then Shino. I adore Shino and it was the perfect way to allow the glaze to show its stuff. The tile has a lot of texture, so there’s nice variation. I had some underglaze problems, so will be doing another. Pauline gave me some good ideas about how to prevent them the next time. Then, I checked on some things I have in the damp room. I mentioned I’ve made a mold of an escutcheon tile. Well, it’s drying nicely and soon I’m going to be able to start experimenting with small tiles made from it. You can see the vine and berries clearly through the cornstarch used to prevent the clay from sticking to the tile I molded it from. I want to hang things from the keyhole, as a decorative effect and have one skeleton key so far. Not much, as I don’t want to overdo it. The piece must stand on its own. Next, I checked on my little olive oil lamps, the design of which was inspired by Roman and Parthian lamps. I can’t wait to fire these little guys up to see how they work. I’ll probably make others that will be replicas of actual lamps, but I want to test them first. I already have my wicking at hand. The lamps are leather hard now, so I uncovered them in the damp room and will be able to fire them soon as they’re quite small. I will only glaze the bottom portion…clear glaze over the burgundy and turquoise glaze. These colors should look nice against the dark terra cotta. I made some house numbers with the turquoise and red clay and it’s quite nice together. And, lastly, my sheaf of wheat tile… It has been drying, uncovered, but I want to hurry the process a little because it’s starting to drive me a little nuts. (Patience!) After this tile is fired, I will mold it, too. I have some plans… One thing I’d like to do with one tile is to write around the edge, line-for-line, in cursive style with my new Kemper pen, which I have yet to use. Better start practicing… I won’t be able to do it till I’ve bisqued a tile from the mold I’m to make. So, to hasten things, I set it on a plaster mold and will let the remaining moisture wick from it till I can get to it again. Over the week, till I head back to the studio, I have some ideas I want to start working on at home with the red and white clay I have here. The tile looks a little ratty in this photo, what with mold and paper towelling stuck to it, but the mold is actually a sign that I’m using good clay and it and the paper will burn off just fine. I let it dry very slowly because I didn’t want the small bits to crack and it worked out well; everything’s intact. Phew. All’s well that end’s well.

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Open Studio Report

It felt like I got a lot done at the studio yesterday. I brought home three things:

Navajo Red bowl, bottom left unglazed, inside and rim glazed with Red Chrome. This glaze interacts with the iron in red clay, causing a lovely gray mixed with wine and hints of blue.

Reglaze job worked well on the low box. White clay, Red Chrome glaze. No gray but hints of blue.

Kitchen scrubber holder done. Red clay with Red Chrome…nice gray accents.

I didn’t use my cart yesterday because I didn’t want anything to break on the way home but, next Tuesday, I’ll roll my supplies on down the hill to the studio again. Let’s see…I continued working on my bird house. Forgot to take my camera, so didn’t get pics of it, but it’s coming along well. Next week, I’ll make the top. Because the bottom half was so big, I cut it down. Now it’s not nearly as tall or wide. As David Jason says in the The Darling Buds of May — “Per-fic.”

What else? Oh, yes, I glazed a white clay relief tile for my husband’s Auntie Marj. It was created from mold I made of the ‘Snowfall Tile.‘ Before bisquing, I painted the whole thing with white underglaze and textured it. It’s been bisqued, now, and looks startling white. In the background, leaves of gold, orange and red are falling. Yesterday, I glazed the top surface and sides with Shino…we’ll see how it turns out. I want some fall color action and am hoping the Shino creates a rich gold and dampens the brilliance of the leaves a bit.

Did I do anything else? Oh…I made a mold of the escutcheon tile I’d made, using corn starch to prevent sticking. Also, my Sheaf of Wheat tile has finally dried to the point where I can leave it completely uncovered now till it’s bone dry. Gads it’s taking a long time, but it is well over an inch thick and had very thin parts on top, so I was extra careful.

I had done some Qi Gong exercises before I left home and the clay work itself was very grounding, so I felt doubly good when I got back home! Next Wednesday, I’ll post another Open Studio Report….

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