Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
oddartist

How can I stack layers of small tiles for glaze firing?

Recommended Posts

So I finally got another long-term-brain-monkey off my back by making a trio of art tile mosaic works, with hundreds of pieces in varying sizes and shapes. It was from a quilt pattern out of a 1950's women's magazine that I had enlarged by hand way back when I was in my 20's, and the rolled up patterns have been collecting dust for decades and have moved at least a dozen times across the country (even out of the country for awhile). Now that everything has been bisqued , it's time to glaze.

Bisquing was easy - just stack all the tiles for each panel on a separate shelf so they don't get mixed up with the others. Now everything has to lay flat and not touching. I have 3 full shelves and two half-shelves but that still leaves a lot of empty space between shelves. Can I use bisqued tiles on shelf supports to add horizontal shelf area? I'd like to try and get at least one panel per firing. But I don't want to ruin any of my hard work either.

WISE MEN RAW.JPG

D.M.Ernst and glazenerd like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, wow those look amazing!

I don't think bisque tiles on shelf supports will work. The tiles are likely to warp at glaze temps. 

You can buy tile setters, which are smaller kiln shelves that will allow you to stack lots of flat pieces on each full size shelf. They are a little spendy, but they come in handy if you want to make sets of plates too.

https://www.baileypottery.com/Store/Kiln-Furniture-and-Accessories-Plate-Tile-Setters

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting device, the tile setter. I just went out to measure the kiln to see which size to order, then did the math only to realize if I simply buy one more shelf (or two half-shelves), that would be the maximum I would have space for anyway. I will keep those in mind for my holiday wish-list :-)

Thanks for the complement, I spent many sleepless nights through the years trying to decide if I wanted to do them in acrylics on canvas, or stitch a faux 'stained glass' banner, or even real stained glass. It wasn't until I was playing with paper-clay and realized it could be cut with scissors, did I finally tackle this project. Each panel was about 30 inches tall before bisque fire and the pieces all shrank just enough for some interesting grout lines, judging from the several smaller projects I just adhered to the tilebase the other day. I'll post pics when they are completed.

Rae Reich likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having seen your gallery over the past few years: these works do not surprise me coming from you- exceptional talent. Firing tile has been my main stay for a decade. In this case, tile setters would allow the larger pieces to sag if you fired even slightly over the cone target of the clay.  

Most of my shelves have been drilled: 3/8" holes about an inch apart. This allows heat to move over and under each piece. Firing 4x4 and 6x6 tiles is relatively simple because they fit in setters: larger, irregular, and scalloped edges is a different ball game. If you heat too fast or cool too fast: issues such as cupping, bowing, and curling of narrow edges can occur: which again is part of the reason my tile shelves are drilled out- to even out the heat.

i would fire up to peak slowly, and cool back down slowly- less than 180F on the way up.  Uneven application of glaze can also come back to bite you. If the tips of the irregular pieces have heavier application than the center: they become exposed to additional stresses of contraction. Spraying a uniform coat becomes essential.

you can make a few oddly shaped test pieces for your next firing: see how they handle your firing schedule and peak temps. Lastly, try to find a glaze or modify one that gets as close to equal COE values as possible.  Those pieces they form sharper points are the ones that will be the least tolerant of stress.

Nerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@oddartist It sounds like buying one more full shelf (or two halves) is the best solution for maximizing the flat surfaces in your kiln. Please do post pictures when they're finished!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had to fire lots of tile type projects by students over the years, as one of my projects involved tiles that demonstrated the use of 4 main forms of decoration-incising, added on clay, piercing and stamping. These tiles would be bisqued, first I would random stack with spaces between and then next layer over the layer below with spaces again between. This random stack all the way up on a full shelf at the bottom of the kiln would go up about 6-8" before I put in another layer with a double 1/2 shelf, and more tiles or pots above. Always fired slow, always to at least 11300 F. then faster up to ^06. The cool down was tricky as the kiln only had a setter, but you can block it up and fire down( I used a wire wrapped around the setter tab and drop bar to hold the setter up, then fired down slowly . . . manually. However you do it, cool down is very important.

 

best,

Pres

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×