Something Old, Something New

skunk-greenwaregood-press-greenware  otter-wax

alphabet board

Where has the time gone? I just realized I haven’t posted since January. I’ve been pretty busy with a few projects since my last post but everything is sort of half way done right now.

The images above are from a new sign I’m making for my studio. The letters are from some alphabet drawings I made a few years ago. I actually carved 24 tiles (see above) and made a full set of molds from these drawings but was never entirely satisfied with them. The tiles were too heavy and inconsistent in size. When we moved in 2015, I got rid of the molds because they were taking up a lot of studio space. The new sign uses the original designs but each tile is individually carved. They’ll be fired several times with layers of underglazes before getting a clear coat.

I’ve also been working on another batch of scratching dog tiles. Included in this set is actually my first cat tile so I may have to start calling them my “scratching pet tiles”. Hmmm, that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. I’ll be posting those on my Etsy site soon.

I’m also working on a couple of new tile designs. They’re still in the early stages but I’ll be posting those in the next month or two. Stay tuned!

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Scratching Dogs Update

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I’ve finished a second batch of Scratching Dogs tiles. Click on my “Shop” button above to see the new ones. The two photos above show how tiles from the first group of Scratching Dogs were used to accent a dog bath in NY. They were combined with larger photo tiles of the owners’ dogs. The photo tiles were made by Zazzle.

More Scratching Dogs

dog-tile-trio    dog-tiles-4x4  dog-tiles-6x6  dog-tiles-hexagons  dog-tile-detail

A few weeks ago I sold the last few scratching dog tiles I made back in 2013. Unfortunately one of the tiles, a pug, broke in transit. I offered to carve a new one for the man who bought it. It was really fun to make the new pug so I decided to do another series. Once again, I went to the Seattle Humane Society website http://www.seattlehumane.org/adoption/dogs  to find most of my models. This is where we first spotted Sam (our beloved dog) and I often look at the photos in hopes of maybe getting Sam a sibling someday. Nobody else thinks this is a good idea.

This time around I decided to explore different shapes, sizes and even clay bodies for the tiles. One alteration I hadn’t actual planned was replacing the black underglaze with black glaze. I accidentally coated the first few tiles with glaze. Then, I spent several hours carving them. When I finally realized the mistake I’d made, I debated whether to even fire the tiles. I assumed the glaze would run into the fine lines and I’d be very sad. But I fired them anyway. As it turns out, the glaze didn’t bleed and the results were actually pretty cool. The spaniel tile above shows the contrast between the shiny black glaze and the carved bare clay. These experimental tiles won’t resist water the way a fully glazed tile would but they’ll look fine on most walls. A rare happy accident in ceramics!

Handmade Tile Festival 2016

stained-tiles   paulas-tiles

rooster    kellys-tiles   juried-show

award

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eds-tiles   eds-salmon-tile

I really enjoyed participating in my first Artisan Tile NW Festival this past weekend. It was alot of fun getting input from visitors to the festival. What I enjoyed most however was seeing the amazing range of beautiful tiles from artists at the show. The people I’ve met from this group are so supportive, helpful, and inspiring.

Display Boards

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This month, I’ve been working on display boards for my tiles. I’ll be participating for the first time in the Artisan Tile NW’s annual exhibit at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture. For information on this event click  http://artisantilenw.org/annual-festival/

My goal is to put together boards featuring 7 or 8 of my favorite tile designs. It would be nice to make more boards to illustrate different ways they can be used but it will really depend on how much I can get done by November. I plan to submit this piece titled Dancing Herd to the juried show themed “Water”.

Wish me luck!

New Designs

sea turtlessea lions 01new molds

Summer is always a busy time of year. With the kids home most of the day during the summer months, it’s sometimes hard to be productive in the studio. That said, I’ve actually been getting stuff done at night.

Between working on my new studio space, making stamps and vessels, and exploring new glazes, it’s been about two years since I designed a new tessellation tile. It’s probably my favorite thing to make in clay and I’ve really missed it. So the past few weeks I’ve focus on two new designs.

It’s a pretty slow process to produce a new tile. First, I start with a sketch. Then I create a blank version of the tile and make a mold of this blank. When the mold dries, I press a blank tile and carve detail into it to make a new tile. I then make a new mold of the detailed tile. When this mold dries, I’m ready to make multiples. I use the blank tiles to make edge pieces rather than slicing up a detailed tile. More photos to come…