Saturday, November 5, 2011

Anatomy of Recreating a Victorian Tile

We've been recreating Victorian and Craftsman style fireplaces for 32 years now, and it is one of my favorite things to do. I thought it would be fun to walk you through the process from start to finish on this project....so here's the start of it!
Original tiles from fireplace hearth

It all starts with either an e-mail or phone call from a potential customer, inquiring about the process and costs involved. We need to see the tile in question, to get an idea of complexity of carving and glaze matching. An e-mailed photo is OK, but we really need to have an actual tile in hand to make a good reproduction.


Close-up of original tile detail
The original tiles are usually covered in dirt and grime, and have the highest raised details worn off through the glaze and clay surfaces. I start with a good scrub with a plastic scrubby using just soap and water. If the tiles have been painted or varnished over, I use a wooden rib to scrap those off the surface.

 
After cleaning and re-firing the original tile
After cleaning the tile I re-fire it in the kiln to a very low temperature to burn off the debris that has absorbed into the unglazed clay body of the tile.
Above - an original tile / Below - an original tile cleaned and re-fried
Next up - Scanning the tile and reformatting for carving.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Michele D. said...

Wow, I can't wait to see more.

November 6, 2011 at 2:25 AM  
Blogger Linda Ellett said...

Thanks Michele for stopping by - I'll try to post everyday...so check back!

November 6, 2011 at 9:28 AM  

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