Tile Project

If any of you follow my personal blog (Sometimes You Get So Confused) you know that I have a practice of doing art drop-offs, where I leave art (usually clay) in parks or other places for people to enjoy and if they like, to pick up and take home.

I am working on a small project of tiles to leave out in the world.

I was prompted to do this project by the news that this year’s Tile Festival at the Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, PA, is cancelled. Every May for the past 10 years or so I have done this show and I will miss participating this year. I felt sad.

I wanted to try something to cheer up people around me even if just a little. And me, too. I always feel better when working on art.

Yesterday, I took some commercially-made 4″ x 4″ terracotta tiles that I had on hand. All I needed to do was come up with their decor, since they are already bisque-fired. I decided to make two series – one with a bird and one with a person’s head. In this way the tiles could be similar but different, in case I set more than one at a location.

I used stencils for the images, flipping them to have the figures face different ways, and then I added individual details.

I colored them with Velvet underglazes. I’m showing them to you with the color on, dry, and ready for the next stage. In the past I have left the tiles unglazed, enjoying the matte surface and the look of the colors. I’ve decided to glaze them just to be doing something different.

Things went fine, except for when I knocked over a bottle of underglaze. Thankfully it was a small one. The amount on the table was about 25% of what went on me or on the floor. Good-bye, Light Red. I will get some more when I have the chance…

Clay tiles in process for giveaways 3-20 (1)001

When these are done, I will find locations for them, depending on circumstances. I do not have to rush to set them all out at once, I remind myself. Let everything go as it goes.


OK, here are the tiles in their current state.

20 thoughts on “Tile Project

  1. Pingback: Tile Project – Let’s Glaze | Claudia McGill and Her Art World

  2. galeriaredelius

    It must be a joy to live in your area, with the chance to run into one of these! I’m wondering if your generous outdoor free-to-take art is a “well known phenomenon” by know, in the way that people look extra when they go for walks… I would, for sure!

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. Usually I leave the various things in the parks I run or walk in, and though we can still go to them, I’ve been sticking closer to home. So I think the usual park users (before the virus) recognize that I have left things, over time, but I always make sure not to be seen doing it. However, I have gotten notes left in the locations, and a couple of times people have tracked me down (most recently the sister-in-law of a woman I worked with at a local art center found the art and through that connection we met). In my own neighborhood, though, it will be a new thing. I hope to leave them in sites that are public (I never leave on private property) in our town, where people can enjoy seeing them where they are or else take them with them if they want. In any case, I think this project is mostly for me. I feel so unable to do anything for others. I hope this will make someone smile here and there.

  4. galeriaredelius

    I think you underestimate how much this is worth and valued by others! Even if they don’t know you, who you are or that it was you who put it out there, they will at least recognise that someone, a fellow human being, has not only created something, but is sharing it generously, to look at or to hold. I’m sure you make people smile here and there! But if you didn’t enjoy it yourself, perhaps no one else would, so doing it for yourself is perhaps the best starting point?
    On another note, it’s so nice to be in touch again. I do my day job from home these days, so it frees up a lot of the time I normally spend on commuting. And these are rare, scary and humbling times, for all of us. Take care, stay safe.

  5. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you, And you are right, just making things has always made me feel I am doing what is most “me” – I am a doing kind of person, not a thinking or planning one. My response to everything is, all right! what do I do about it? Your words made me feel good, I have worried about this being trivial in light of the world events, but it is what I have to give. And, I am so happy to see you back here again. I took a jewelry class last summer and it reminded me of you – I especially remember your work inspired by train wires. I too wish for you good health and staying safe and making art, and that our world will right itself and we will continue on.

    And I do like that word “gossamer”. It has all kinds of feelings associated with it for me – summer and airy and warm and light. A good word and your earrings made me think of all these things.

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