Sunday, May 17, 2009

Deep Relief Tile Workshop

This weekend I was lucky enough to participate in a tile workshop instructed by Joan Gardiner, hosted by Manassas Clay. Joan was a great instructor, and her cheery instruction was only surpassed by the incredible pieces she brought to show/inspire us.
Rabbits stewing the hunters:
We were asked to bring an image that we could try to replicate in a tile. I brought two pictures that I took while on my honeymoon in Hawaii (both are available in my Etsy shop):
Joan encouraged me to pick the plumeria photograph because the blooms were particularly interesting with one behind the other, and the petals bending back on one and coming forward on the other. And, in her words, sometimes flowers on a stem can look like a "meatball on a stick." First we had to sketch the image onto paper.
We then traced the image through the paper and onto a 6 inch square of clay. I was too engrossed to take pictures while my prototype was in progress, but this is what it turned into.
Once the tiles were done, we put a wooden "box" around them to contain the plaster, and sealed it with clay. Pouring in the plaster mix.
We left the molds overnight, letting the magic happen.
(Gary Heller's "And no one was there," available through his shop on Etsy.)
This is how I found my mold this morning:
We pulled apart the boxes and extracted the clay, exposing the plaster mold.
And we began making tiles...
We also got to play with some blank tiles Joan had already bisque fired, using her glazes and some wax resist. I may do another post on those tiles, if they become anything to write home about.
In other news, I brought home some finished pieces this weekend. Here is a sampling:
This piece was interesting. I used the smokey brown glaze with white glaze, the way I have been lately. Applying the glaze was a comedy of errors - the bucket of glaze blurped up when I dipped it, which I tried to fix, and then I accidentally touched it while it was still wet, which I tried to fix, resulting in even more problems with the glaze. I finally quit, figuring I had ruined the piece. But somehow the kiln gods smiled, and the glaze ran in rainbow-y pools down the sides.
In other other news, before/while and after I was in Paris, some major progress was made on my studio. The flooring is finally finished, a utility sink was installed, and my husband surprised me by having a flat screen tv installed on the wall, and connected it to FiOS.


Anna said...

As a fellow student in this class, I will add that while the mechanics of making tiles were beautifully taught, Joan had an even greater talent for helping us find the joy in the process.

NewDominionBlues said...

Yes indeed! So glad you found me, Anna!

loneweever said...

Several things I love in this post:

Rabbits stewing the hunters.

The tile workshop .... what a great way to combine your skills - photography, drawing, working with clay ....

"...the kiln gods smiled ..."

you have a new utility sink and a new wall-mounted TV in your studio .... wow. I don't know which is more exciting.