Friday, May 15, 2009

In the studio, tiles

These are freshly carved 8" x 8" tiles for a house in the Columbia River Gorge. The images are of various scenes from the Gorge, along with a couple of custom views specific to the house, plus a tile for the fireplace with the name and date of the house.

The house burned down in a summer fire last year. The owners are rebuilding it with two other couples as partners, creating their own sort of private time-share. I think it's a brilliant way to get the most out of a second home for all parties, as well as making the replacement house more affordable for the original owners.

The (white) tile are covered with a black slip that I carve through. The tile are once fired resulting in a matte or semi-matte surface. The unfired color is red because the black slip has lots of red iron oxide in it. I developed this technique so that I could render images with more fine detail and less glare from a glossy glaze than my other process (slip-trailing) affords. I like the result, but the process involves inhaling* toxic dust (manganese) and my fingers get really sore from the pressure of carving with the fine tool on the hard clay.

*I know, I know, but I hate wearing a dust mask when I work.


  1. I am going to e-mail this post to my friend in White Salmon. Those tiles or similar ones would be perfect as they look at the mountain out their of their home, have a peek-a-boo view of the Gorge and drive the highway often. How perfect!! Good work by the way.

  2. :(

    Wear the damn mask anyway, Barbara! Thackeray will say the same.

  3. I like the way you both are looking out for me!


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