Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cherry Blossom Panel from The American Encaustic Tiling Co. (A.E.T.)

Back again - I told you it wouldn't be a year until you heard from me this time around!!

Of all the projects I showed you, the first carving I did was for a private residence in western Massachusetts. They were inspired by an image that they found on the internet of a panel of tiles that were original to The American Encaustic Tiling Co. of Zanesville, OH, circa 1905.

I recognized the panel and found it in my copy of Norman Karlson's American Art tile 1876-1941.

From American Art tile 1876-1941

I only needed to carve 4 tiles, as the left and right 3 tiles are the same ones, just rotated 180•. I started by scanning the images of the tiles and enlarging them for the original carvings, as the clay will shrink after the tile is made and fired.

I used the book as a guide to help keep the style similar.

The clients told me to interpret the design as I liked, as long as I kept the flow of the tile pattern. The first thing I did was to remove the raised border from the edges, as that really bothered my eye and interfered with the flow of the carving for me.

All four waxes carved and waiting to be poured in plaster.

After pouring plaster moulds and letting them dry for a few days, I pressed them in our porcelain clay body.

Plaster and clay tiles.

I pressed enough tiles to make 6 full panels. This clay body can be very finicky when it wants to, but I figured I would have at least 3-4 full panels after the first firing........if the kiln gods were on my side.

3 of the 6 panels I pressed.

At the same time that the tiles were drying and getting ready for the bisque kiln, I was sending glaze samples to the clients to help them decide on the which color they wanted for the panel. They first asked for glazes similar to the color from the web image. I sent them a range of greens, which they decided weren't just right. Then I sent them a range of golds and maroons and even a brown. I decided to play a facebook game and challenge my fans to guess which glaze color the clients would choose. They ended up back at the beginning with the color that was closest to the original photo!

#6 was the winning choice!

So, unfortunately the afore mentioned kiln gods didn't smile down on me and quite a few of the tiles cracked. I was only left with 2 full panels and 2 partial panels to glaze, but the 2 full panels came out beautifully.

7 tile panel with custom dark olive green crackle glaze.

This was a wonderful project which I got lost in as I carved. I was inspired to make 2 different styles of ornament sized tiles. You can find one of them here in my Etsy Shop.

Here's a cherry blossom you can hang in the window!

Next project details coming soon!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What's Up??

No apologizes for having gone missing from my blog for so happens and ain't that the truth. I started this post way back in April....finally posting!

So...I've had the best custom projects come into the studio over the last 6 months. Carving is my favorite thing to do and some wonderful customers have given me some lovely designs to carve - how great is that? Some of the carvings are based on photos of installations found in and on historic buildings, some are from the actual tiles that customers have sent to me. There's also been a range of customers who need exact matches that fit in a tile set with the originals, and some that have said - here's the design I like, interpret however you'd like to (that's sweet!).

Here's a photo of the actual tiles that have been sent to me that I have to reproduce.

Here's a photo that shows tiles I'm carving from photos, some are from installations, some are from the web, and some are from old catalogues.

It's been so long since I started this post that most of the carvings have been done.

I'll show you the projects and how I translate them into tile in my upcoming posts. And I promise it won't be a year from now!!