Week 8: Tile Workshops

In a pair of workshops, we were taught how to make tiles from clay, all the way from step one to a finished product. Tiles are surprisingly fragile, and are very difficult to perfect, but quite fun to experiment with. In the first workshop, we learnt the basics of making tiles, and were shown a few methods of producing patterns on the tile face. Techniques like marbling, adding colour, stamping, and stacking were used, in which I realised that creating brighter colours would be quite hard. The follow-up workshop was based around glazing our tiles, where we were shown different ways of colouring a tile through glaze.

Left: Second attempt with tiling to make more satisfactory outcomes, stamped tiles shown with their stamps below. Dark colouration from wood ash that is to disappear after firing. First tile shows marbling of three colours.
Top Right: First attempt with tiling, unsatisfied with the two on the right side.
Bottom Right: Colour painted on, paint strokes are very obvious.

The things that stood out to me the most were that clay will take on any touch or brushstroke much too easily, and that the end product is very much a surprise as the colours change after their turn in the kilm.

Above: Before and after glazing of the second attempt

The found the second attempt to be much better, as I had more of an idea of what I wanted the second time around. While I had thought my favourites would be the marbled tiles, the greens and yellows turned out darker than I had wanted and weren’t the pastel colour I expected. The stamped ones, however, did become my favourites, the clay holding their stamped shapes perfectly. They gave the tiles an unexpectedly smooth feeling, while the tidy pattern runs under your fingertips. From these workshops, I would want to do more testing with tiles, and experiment with layering, colouration, and stamping.

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