I think when most people walk into a mid century bathroom and see the ubiquitous square pink tiles, they cringe. There was probably I time when I did as well. These days, I’m really drawn to the color pink. It just makes me happy. I’ve been meaning to paint the small bathroom off my bedroom for a long time. Since I’m the only one who uses this bathroom, I didn’t hesitate to pick this color. When I saw an adorable sink backsplash featuring tiles designed by Emu Tiles on Instagram, I thought it would be fun to make a cool little backsplash for my sink too. Plus, I’m always looking for ways to use these mini tiles.
As it turns out, Etsy is a great place to sell palettes. The Honey Bee Palette has been a pretty popular item in my shop so I decided to make a small palette based on my turtle tile. The nice feature of this palette is the removable shell that works as a water cup. Soon after making the palette, I began to think of possible video ideas for promoting it on Instagram. I made a quick little stop-motion animation that hasn’t really received much attention in the IG world but I think it’s one of my better posts:
This weekend everyone here was either working or doing the Seattle to Portland Bike Ride so I was on my own. I took this quiet time to finally finish my tiled patio table or, as Romy affectionately calls it, “the hippie dippy table project”.
It all started a couple of months ago when James and I were on a Saturday morning drive. I looked out the car window and saw a topless steel patio table on the side of the road. I immediately thought, hmmm, that looks like it’s in pretty good shape; it would make a nice tile project. So I said, “Stop, let’s get it!” He said it wouldn’t fit in the back of the Prius and kept driving. Later that day I recruited Ollie to come with me in the Volvo wagon to see if it was still there. It was and he helped me lift it into the car.
When I got home, I tipped the table over onto a thick piece of spare plywood that I had in the basement and traced the top. It took a little work to reacquaint myself with my old jigsaw but I figured it out eventually. The rest was pretty easy. I made a lot of tiles from slabs of clay using cookie cutters. I then glazed them with a variety of cone 5 glazes I have in the studio. The last steps were laying them out, setting them with thinset, and grouting. I did apply a sheet of waterproofing barrier on top of the plywood. I’ll probably be leaving the table out in the rain and I’m hoping the barrier will protect the plywood from water damage.
I finally finished this series of panels a couple of weeks ago. Each panel took quite a bit of time as I worked on them slowly, completing various stages while working on other pieces. One of my goals this year is to limit firings by only firing fully loaded kilns. It saves a lot of time and energy (both my physical energy and electricity) but requires a lot of patience. These panels will be part of a series that counts from 1 to 12. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with this series yet but they will be part of a tessellating animal calendar at the very least. More about this in a future post…
A quick little video showing how I designed this table pattern:
I’ve been working on this simple midcentury-inspired table to hold some plants.
I’ll post a few more photos when it’s done.
I finished up this project last night. The plants seem a lot happier in their new spot. They’re getting a lot more natural light. ☀️
I designed this for myself but thought others might like one. Available now in my online shop:
It’s been years since I made a stop-motion animated video. Romy, Ollie, and I made a couple when they were little but it really started when I was a student at MassArt a long, long time ago. This one got cut short but there will be more coming!
Thank you Susan Yeley Homes for posting these photos on Instagram.
It’s so cool to finally see all the monkey tiles that I made last year getting installed in their new home. I remember being nervous about the consistency of finish as I unloaded the kiln. There was a fair amount of variation due to when tiles were dipped (the glaze got thicker as I went along) and where the tiles were located in the kiln (centrally placed tiles were hotter and glossier). There’s no way I could match the consistency of the computer rendering but I think the installer, Instile, has done a nice job of interspersing lights and darks to create a beautiful surface.
Been busy the past couple of months experimenting with some composite tiles and new panel designs. In these new tiles, I’m combining pressed pieces with slip cast pieces. It’s been a challenge to get the drying times right as cracking can happen when thin pieces dry too quickly but I’ve had mostly good results. The photos aren’t great but I’ll be posting more as layering colors and finishes is underway.
There are a lot of steps that go into making a simple ceramic tile and through the years I’ve learned to enjoy doing all these different tasks. However, like most tile makers, my favorite part of the process is designing a new tile. I was recently asked if I had any farm animals besides the sheep. Unfortunately, I didn’t but thought the request was a great opportunity to start designing this year’s first new tiles. I usually don’t come up with new designs until the spring but I’ve decided to start a bit earlier this year.
The sheep, goat, cow, and pig are the first of the series and I may add a chicken or a duck too. I’m especially fond of the pig because when I first showed these tiles to my husband he thought the pig looked a little sad. I had to agree – the pig did seem a little out of place. A few adjustments in the mouth and cheeks seemed to do the trick. I think the happy pig is surprisingly cute.