Tag Archives: ceramics

Clean Up

Here are a couple of home tiles. The living room is already orderly and now it is time to do the wash.

Velvet underglazes on handmade tiles, fired at cone 06, December, 2017.



For the past several years we have eaten Thanksgiving lunch at the Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA. I can recommend it very highly.

One year I took a photo of the chef at the omelet-preparation area, and made a tile.

I did it again. And now, again. Here you see the tiles from 2015 and 2016, and now…2017. All are 6″ x 6″, done in Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06.

Artifacts Found at My House -Two

Here are the remaining “artifact” tiles I mentioned in the earlier post. These tiles are the terracotta version.

I stopped after the step in which I washed on Velvet underglaze Jet Black and fired them at cone 06.

Here are the finished tiles. I like the strong contrast between the clay color and the black underglaze.

I am more likely to try this kind of tile-making than the colored/glazed versions. I like the look and the process and I could get interested in what items I use to stamp into the clay. I especially likethe one in which I used the sawn-off end of a split tree branch.

I like doing other clay things better, though, so…we’ll see. Add this one to the archives and I’ll always be able to try it again later if I want to, right?

Versions of Sunflowers

I love sunflowers and so I return to them as a subject for art pieces over and over. Here are a couple of versions from October, 2017.

Abstract and a little less so. Sunflowers have a lot of personalities.

The abstract version, 4″ x 4″ on a commercially-made terracotta tile. The less-so, 6″ x 6″ on a commercially-made white tile. Both with Velvet underglazes and fired at cone 06.

Artifacts Found at My House – One

A little while back I made some “artifact” tiles. I used a glaze process that I had not tried before, explained in Artifact Tiles Part 1 and Part 2. Take a look at those posts for the full background on how the project came about.

Anyway, I’ve made a second pass at this technique. I impressed objects into white and terracotta clay and fired them.

I then washed them with Velvet underglaze Jet Black.

When they were fired, I was happy with the appearance of the terracotta tiles as they were. I’ll show them in another post. But the white ones – no.

I decided to cover them with various Velvet underglaze colors and to try the breaking glaze on them. What did I have to lose?

I fired them and here are the results.

I am lukewarm on these tiles. I think these worked out well as far as no glaze failures or kiln mishaps. But I just can’t get that excited about them. Thinking about it, it’s because I don’t much enjoy the creation process, and the results don’t thrill me enough to go through it. Lesson learned.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending January 19

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Another week and here we go!

On January 14, I worked on tiles. I am currently focusing on 4″ x 4″ tiles, terracotta, commercially made. This tile size sells very well for me and so I need a good quantity – and because they sell well I have a low inventory right now. I bought a case of 80 and my plan is to work through about 40 before I take a break from them.  I had prepared four tiles with Velvet underglaze Jet Black and I brought out some plain ones to cover with the same, as they could dry while I worked on the first four.

I like to work in groups when I’m making tiles. My technique requires that the color dry some but not all the way, so that I can scratch into it effectively. If I made one tile at a time, I’d be sitting around waiting – a lot.

I spent the afternoon working and got eight tiles ready for drying and then later on to be fired. The colors look very vibrant because they are still wet – they become chalky as they dry.

AD 1-14 #5004

If you were tiny and walked around my work table, by the end of a session this is what you’d see. What a mess! I clean up the table after each session so that when I next want to work, I don’t think – oh, I can’t do anything, it’s not cleaned up.

Earlier in the day my husband and I went for a walk in the Plymouth Meeting (PA) mall before it opened. It was too cold to be outside. I took a couple of pictures with the mall in the background looking through the glass covering the entrance into the Boscov’s department store. I like reflections.

On January 15 I was busy all day but at night I worked on a page in my next Large Artist Sketchbook. This book usually stays in my studio next to whatever I’m working on and gets its leftovers and offcuts, from which I create pages in this book. It’s just for fun. Anyway, I had paint on a page and decided to collage on top of it while I wateched TV in my PJ’s. I have a plastic box for portable collage making; and in one picture you can see my blanket, the cat, and warm sock feet as we all relax on the sofa at night.

On January 16, I loaded the kiln and ran it. I am showing you a small part of the electrical grid running around the kiln, the firebrick of which the kiln is composed, and a sensor that determines how the load fires and when it is done.

I also did some painting. I worked on a new larger painting, 18″ x 18″. It was inspired by my living room (you might be able to see my reference photo at upper right) and includes a chair I saw in an old issue of Architectural Digest.

I also worked on the latest group of small people portraits.

AD 1-16-18 #3008

The artist sketchbook made its way back to the studio and you can see a page in process. There is no telling where things will end up with this page.

AD 1-16-18 #6005

Now we come to January 17. It snowed and I spent the day indoors.

AD 1-17-18 #7004

In honor of the snow I made tiles with a snow theme.

I also opened the kiln but did not unload it as the tiles were still too hot. Maybe the top layer can be handled but as I go further into the kiln they are blistering hot.

AD 1-117-18 #10001

On Friday, January 19, I worked on more tiles, the 4″ x 4″ kind. I am making good progress and I think within a couple of weeks I will have made the goal number I have in mind for tiles. The show I am working toward is not until May, so I am in good shape. I will see how my paintings are progressing and consider what clay projects I might like take on – some more sculptural work, I think. But that’s inthe future. Here is today’s work.

This first photo shows tiles in an early stage. You see pencils and a tool in the middle of the picture. I use the pencils to make a rough sketch on the tile before I start to color – the pencil burns out in the kiln.

The tool  has a ball-tipped projection at each end and is intended for making lines in wet clay. I use it to scratch through the color down to the black. I have worn away the ball on one end and almost finished off the other – when that happens I will need a new version…

AD 1-19-18 #2003

Tiles are adding up on the transit table. You may recognize the bird tile from the kiln pictures seen earlier. I was not satisfied with some details so I did more underglazing and will send it through the kiln again.

AD 1-19-18 #4001

The work table is a mess at the finish of a session. As I said before, I clean it all up when I’m done as I hate to start a new work session by clearing away the old.

AD 1-19-18 #3002

I’d like to mention my portable heater. I take it from place to place inside the house. The basement, where I am working today, is chilly – nice in summer but in winter it’s hard to take. When I first came in it was 60 degrees F – I feel comfortable when I have this friend sitting close to me, even if the rest of the room does not warm up.  The basement environment is a good one for clay work, though – the coolness means all clay work dries slowly and evenly.

AD 1-19-18 #1004

I also had some time over several days to do a little more work on the people portraits. I hope to get to them and complete them next week.

Now for the unsung administrative tasks: I did not take photos of these activities, but I also spent time entering a show for next August(!); painting black edges around completed paintings; writing up a class description on making ATC’s; and taking and processing photos of the clay work and paintings recently fired/completed. It’s easy to overlook this kind of work as being art-related and yet if I do not do it, my work is not totally finished.

OK, that’s it until next week. See you then!