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Ceramic Tiles Education

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Hi everybody I am new here and I hope I can find someone to guide me the right direction.

 

I am interested in starting a ceramic tile manufacturing business but I need to learn how to do it. I have looked at various schools but  they offer almost degree courses. I am willing to pay to learn and if anyone can show me where such programs are being offered or where I can learn, I will be really grateful.

 

 

Thanks

 

 

Henry

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Stephani Stephenson has been making tiles and running her Architectural Ceramics and tile company, Revival Tile,  for a long time. Here are her summer workshops as listed under events topic.

 

 

http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/5851-stephani-stephenson-summer-workshops-2014/

 

We'll be teaming up to teach one in Italy in June.

 

Marcia

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So many directions you can go with tile. High output and non custom are hard to compete with on the price break. But custom tile work takes on many different directions. Are you willing to take custom orders for abstract and representational work on the tile? Are your painting and drawing skills developed enough for that kind of work? I guess a few questions are needed to asked of yourself. Architectural tile is different than floor, counter top and backsplash tile. Sculpted tile or molded tiles compared to floor tile or other "flat" tile take on different characteristics in relationship to clay body, firing temps, and drying techniques. In floor tile or "flat" tile drying evenly and using a good tile body are the most important issues one needs to tackle. Paula Winokur, http://www.paulawinokur.com  and  Peter King http://peterkingceramics.com/architectural_ceramics/ are some of the top in architectural tile. Paul Lewing paints mountain scenes on tile... Chris Gustin makes some of the most beautiful tile for bathrooms and floors that I have ever showered over!! http://www.gustinceramics.com/tile/  The history of tiles in our country and abroad is rich. Search out images for Pewabic Tile, Henry Mercer, Moravian Tile works, Gladys McBean http://www.gladdingmcbean.com/aboutus.html to start with. So much to think about in terms of education. I believe that for good architectural tile one of the best routes is to get a BFA at a strong ceramics program and understand sculpture and ceramics. But there are many other routes to education. Apprenticeships, workshops and learning solely through trail and error with good books and internet research are all other possible avenues for your education into the world of tiles. But again it is a very diverse world and so ask some of those questions of yourself. Most importantly, what kind of tile do you want to make. 

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I highly doubt a BFA is a cost effective option for getting into tile manufacturing. I'm not sure what the other options are besides touring factories, but in terms of cost and time efficiency, I don't believe one would go to a BFA immediately for tile making...

 

To clarify, I'm not saying that one couldn't pick up a BFA and get into tile manufacturing, I'm just saying that the amount of debt one would incur while pursuing a BFA could easily provide multiple ram press machines or other major equipment instead. And in four years, one could overcome start-up costs as opposed to graduating and joining the rat race... (I have this opinion having graduated with a BFA and having made some tile for Gustin).

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i would say you could get your feet wet with workshops, Henry.

'tile manufacturing' involves quite a number of skills: business, working with clients, design,production, clay, kilns, materials,  moldmaking, glazing , developing a glaze palette, packing and shipping, pricing, etc. etc. etc.. it can seem rather daunting, but everyone starts somewhere. even an introductory workshop will give you a sense of what attracts you to it, and where your interests lie.

There are many small tile manufacturers throughout the US and you could try getting hired on with one of them.They produce  quite a variety of work and run the gamut of single artist studios to small manufacturers with 20-50 employees.  the larger the company gets, the more specific and divided work tasks will  be, but a valuable employee soon learns a number of the essential skills.

if you plan on being a small studio, a good studio ceramics program will however give you a valuable familiarity with ceramics processes. if you are self directed , i bet you could focus on tile and still take advantage of the facilities and program. just try to find one with a good skill oriented instructor.  it is essential that you pick up the basics. once you have that you will find differences between tile and pottery. clay bodies, the way kilns are stacked, etc. but ceramics , sculpture, bookeeping, design, computer, mechanical,  management skills will ALL be useful. if you really love tile, explore the amazing history of tile making..there are some great books on the subject.

Anything you can do to familiarize yourself with the history of tile,  and think about what aspects of it interest you will help. do you have a particular  idea in mind? a certain look? what is it that draws you to it? are you interested in making decorative tile, or a line of tile?

 

i have been a bit frustrated in that i would like to teach tilemaking. i have an MFA in ceramics and sculpture, but i really didn't learn the tile end of it til i worked with tilemakers in a larger shop and became familiar with the trade that way. but both were important as i went into business. also important were jobs that i had in the interim. for example, i managed an art supply department in a store, which taught me a lot about running a business and customer service...which matters quite a bit  once you go into business.

for now,  i know of no program, save the internships at pewabic and moravian that do that. i would sure like to start a program somewhere, somehow. i hope to  be able to take on apprentices at some time, but am not set up to do that quite yet..and admittedly not sure how to connect with students other than in a workshop situation at the present time.

 

we have communicated off forum a bit, I encourage you to keep researching  . it is a field that will keep you learning for life!!!. 

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I find this an inteesting area to explore. One of the most difficult areas is understanding where the market for handmade tile exist. In other words,I'm located in central NC but where is the market, It is not walk-in. How to capture the eye of a buyer or builder or designer consultant in the relative "Middle of Nowhere"

How about the internet, but you are in a sea of web pages.

It seems that you have to find where the market is an go there,right,wrong,don't know.

Trade shows? or is it who you know as well as what you know.

Just some ideas

Wyndham

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