Tag Archives: ceramics

Cat. Just a Cat. That is Enough.

A clay tile done in October, 2017. For details on the creation process, look here.

For details on what this cat is thinking…you will just have to guess. Cats do not tell.

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Little White House Again

I’ve got a photo of a nondescript small white house. This photo fascinates me and I don’t know why. It’s just another house on a street like any other, but I really like it. I’ve made a small painting of it:

Now here is a tile. I warn you, I have a bigger painting of it, too, that I haven’t posted yet. Just wait.

The tile is 6″ x 6″, Velvet underglazes on a commercially-made white tile, fired at cone 06, October, 2017.

Faces in Clay – Two

More clay faces made in October, 2017. For information on the process, look here.

Faces in Clay – One

Here are clay tiles I made in October, 2017.

I made my own tiles from terracotta clay (I mention this because sometimes I use commercially-made tiles). I roll out the clay, cut it into approximately 6″ squares, and fire it once at cone 06.

Then I use Velvet underglazes to created the faces. First I apply a layer of black and let it dry. Then I add the colors. I scratch through them when they are still wet to reveal the black (the thin lines you see); I also leave space between colors (the larger black irregular areas). I don’t draw anything out beforehand – I just go right to it.

Another firing at cone 06 and we’re done. Faces looking at you!

Artifact Tiles – Part 2

For Part 1, look here.

At the end of the first post, I had put the tiles into the kiln for their glaze firing. Opening the kiln is always exciting – a combination of apprehension and hope. I had fired these tiles at cone 05, appropriate for the glaze/clay combination I was using. The firing took about 6 hours and I then had to let the kiln cool over night.

When I took out the tiles, I was happy. There were no failures of the materials (meaning nothing exploded, ran, blistered, cracked, etc.)

I’ll show you the tiles and discuss my thoughts. But remember, I consider none of these tiles saleable or even much to look at. I did get a lot of good information from them, though, and that is what I wanted.

This first group is composed of yellow and light green underglazes, on terracotta clay, with the bluebell glaze. You can see the breaking effect.

I was also happy that many small details were preserved, such as the slots in the screwheads. I had thought they might be filled up with glaze and washed out. Even better, the tiny threads in the large screw showed up. That’s great news for designing later on.

These are all black underglaze, the left two with Transparent Pearl and the little one with Bluebell. Additionally, the left tile is white clay, the other two, terracotta. Different clays react with glazes and underglazes differently.


This purple group is a mix of clays, underglazes, and glazes. The two on the right are both white clay tiles, and the underglaze seems thin to me (could be my fault in not applying enough or it could be how it interacts with the glaze). But I like the color combos, thinking they have good potential.

This red group pleased me. Top left is terracotta/red underglaze/pearl glaze. Its neighbor is white clay/red underglaze/bluebell glaze. The bottom one is terracotta/red underglaze/bluebell. You can see that changing the clay makes a real difference. I like the white clay example very much for the clear red color, but the terracotta clay adds a certain depth to the color. Hmmm…

This green group is interesting to me. All are terracotta clay – The left two are the same green underglaze color called leaf green; Bluebell glaze on the left and Pearl on the right. But the far right one is a very much darker green underglaze, with Pearl glaze, and yet it looks much like the other two. Once again, you cannot predict what results you will have when you start combining things.

These tiles are both terracotta clay and an underglaze color called Electric Blue, with Pearl glaze on the left, Bluebell on the right. What I like about this duo is the rich blue color both of them have, one a little warmer than the other. And you know, as a straight underglaze, Electric Blue is a very harsh bold color, not my favorite. Here it really does a nice job.

These are both terracotta clay and a chocolate-brown underglaze. The different glazes are readily discernible. I really like both of these. A lot.

This is a terracotta tile, medium pink underglaze, Bluebell glaze. I am very happy with this tile; it is what I need I think I need to be shooting for in terms of raised and lowered areas. It is easy to see how the glaze is supposed to work and there is a great level of detail retained. Some of the other tiles had a lot of open areas – this one is more successful because of its busyness, I think. My challenge would be to include this amount of detail in coherent designs. Well, I think with practice it is possible.

Now I will show you my failures. Interestingly enough, most of them are on white clay. I do think the terracotta clay adds body to the underglaze color, no matter what color it is, and that is important in setting up contrast.

Plus, some of these color combinations are just – ugly.

There are other combinations I haven’t tried yet – I didn’t have enough tiles. Let’s say I didn’t like that white clay/avocado/Pearl tile, for instance, but I haven’t tried terracotta/avocado/Bluebell, have I? There is still more adventure waiting for me.


Now, the question is, do I want to go further with this avenue? I think so. On the plus side, it is a different creative process from my pictorial tiles. The tiles themselves are somewhat sculptural and the design process is very different from painting a scene. Choosing objects to impress would be challenging and fun, and there is the possibility of working in a series (the kitchen implement series, the basement toolbox series, I think you get it…!!!)

On the negative side, there are a lot of not-so-interesting parts to the production process. Painting on the underglaze and glaze has to be done in steps with drying time in between. It’s not quick. The thinking part of creating these tiles ends when the tiles are made and the colors chosen. But, I also find doing this kind of work soothing, if I am not in a hurry. Rote work is not always a bad thing.

My conclusion? I’m intrigued enough to explore further. I think there is plenty I could do with this idea and I like the change of pace it offers. So… I hope to show you more of these artifact tiles in the future. Thanks for reading and following me on this foray into something new.

Out Into the Sunshine

I have been nominated for a blog award by Doctor Kandinsky. Now, I don’t do awards, but I always appreciate the feeling behind the nomination. It is very meaningful to me to have my work make enough of an impression on someone to merit being singled out, and I am very grateful for it.

I am writing this post as a thank you, and because I was intrigued by the set of questions posed, I wanted to answer them. I feel that I got the better of this situation, certainly, by being able to express some opinions and think about some issues. I’ve also taken the opportunity to post some images from the past – this blog has been going on since February, 2013…

Thank you, Doctor Kandinsky!


The questions posed and my answers:

1. do you think there’s a difference between art and decoration? why?

This question has been debated by better minds than mine. I will say that I do not like hearing someone say, as they look over my work in my booth at an art fair: “Do you have anything in (fill in color)? I need something for my living room.” – or – If you had a picture of a (fill in animal, object, whatever), I would buy it, because I collect pictures of them.” If you say these things in my booth, I will get a cold look on my face very quickly and I will try very hard not to sell you anything. I’m not kidding.

From February, 2013.

2. who’s your favorite painter (or writer)?

No favorites. There are just too many choices and each one offering something the others don’t. Let me just keep choosing from the endless buffet, that is all I ask.

collage, July, 2013.

3. when you look at art what are you looking for?

I am looking for something that stops me in my tracks.

Tell me
Artist trading card, 2013

4. do emotions have colors?

Yes, of course they do.

2″ square paintings, 2014.

5. do you think that concept art is a joke?

I am not really sure of the definition of concept art so I can’t answer. If you want to be taken seriously by me, then sincerity must shine through.

August, 2014.

6. does blogging help you to be creative?

I answer this with a 200% yes. Having this audience has meant everything for me.

Moon over the ocean. Clay tile, January, 2015

7. Da Vinci or Van Kooning?

Neither.

“Ghost House”
20″ x 16″
May, 2015

8. do you believe that artwork (paintings, photos, sculpture, literature, …) is more likely to speak to our mind or to our soul?

I do not think there is a line between soul, mind, or body. Art, like every experience, is to me something that rushes in wherever it can and roots itself in the places it finds best suited for it.

“Four Square.” September, 2015.

9. what is more important to you: technique or spontaneity?

If there is no technique, there is nothing to work with in a spontaneous way. I think in art, as in everything, skills have to be learned and exist in order to have a means of expression. I think the question needs to be: what is more important, planning or spontaneity, and I would say, my experience is that in every endeavor each one of these comes in waves, alternating with the other.

January, 2016.

10. is street-art vandalism?

Like so many other things, it all depends.

June, 2016.

11. how about young children as teachers in art schools?

No.

October, 2016. Clay tile.

12. why do people whisper when they talk inside of museums?

Because: they are intimidated by the look and atmosphere of the place, in the more haughty ones. Don’t like to attract attention to themselves in any situation. The acoustics of many museums amplify the least little noise. Were told by the teacher on that field trip so long ago that they’d in trouble back at school if they didn’t shut up right now. Are afraid their opinions will be overheard. Are afraid their opinions are uninformed or ignorant or embarrassing and will be overheard. Are shushed by the guards. Are shushed by other patrons. Are shushed by the people they’ve come to the museum with. Or, all of the above!

March, 2017.