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The watercolor Sky Blue and Black based loosely on some aspects of the Jackson Browne song Sky Blue and Black is what I am going for.   The leather hard tiles. Currently 6x8" each. With iron oxide a

This is my final entry.  Unfortunately it cracked to pieces...  Next time I need to compress the tiles more.   The good news is that all of the glazes I made by hand.  The green matte did not show as

Several clays will work: Cone 6 earthernware will work if you want to do some sculpting. B-mix stoneware for heavier pieces, or 50/50 porcelain/stoneware if you want to do a combination of thick and t

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1. Are there any restrictions on the individual tile size?

2. Do the tiles need to be the same size?

3. Do the tiles have to be square?




No size or shape restrictions if you want to go that direction, say one square in the middle with a rectangle on each size and 4 smaller squares making up the rest. Even 9 triangles if you want  B) I would say circles are off limits but if you want a circle make a circle  :lol:


It does slightly stray away from a 3 by 3 grid but I am happy for people to bend rules if they see fit. I have actually reworded the challenge post to remove the grid rule.


The rules I would like to keep to would be 9 tiles that fit together with surface designs.

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I plan on doing some type of ocean mural if I can find the time. Based off a mug I recently made, trying to replicate a wave:



It needs a lot of improvement, but maybe I will go ahead and cut and bisque the tiles so they can be ready for when I feel my wave technique is better and closer to reality.


Looking forward to this challenge, should be some amazing stuff, and lots of people joining in since rolling out a slab is something anyone with clay and a rolling pin can do.

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I pledge I will use nine pieces: but that is all I am pledging. After that, I pledge to break every rule posted. LOL

My piece is called: Mountain Lake in Winter.


Does it look like a body of frozen water?
It will not remain square either.




Only severe deformation of the rules ;) no breaking allowed 

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I've had ideas running around my head since I saw the challenge. I can do this!!!


Thought of a black/white theme with carving (which I'm not good at) so the pieces will have depth to them. So onward I go. So looking forward to this, I'm aiming to do one a month as my kiln is not large and I will need to make them and glaze them individually.


Any tips and tricks would be most welcome. Have a good day

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OK. I'm in.  This is a narrative piece, Tiler Tiller...something a little off-the-wall (so to speak).  Draw your own conclusions on how a clay artist might get inspiration for texture on tile :)

Tile-r Tiller

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Love the design Paul.  That would go over well in my parts.


Will the tractor stick as much, from the surface, as it appears to in the profile drawing?

I'm not sure I understand the "stick as much" question...for sure, the tractor will be well set into the tile, scored, slipped, and probably firmed-up/reinforced with a small roll of clay.


Just so you know, there is some Terra Haute, IN influence...driving to Indiana State to visit my son when he was working on his MFA gave me many hours of looking at flat, tilled land :)




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More useful tips for those entering the challenge. A simple way to create patterns, however simple or complex they might be is to use cheap 12 x 12 vinyl floor tiles. If you creating a larger format; they make tiles all the way up to 20' x 20" Avaialble at the big box stores from .25¢ up to a couple of bucks.


Does not matter if it has a pattern on one side; draw out your patterns or pieces on the back side. As long as it does not have any glue on it; does not matter. Draw out the complete concept, or make individual pieces that are to fit together. By doing it on tile, you can cut, fit and join before you cut into your clay. Use a hair dryer, heat gun, or heat them up in your oven to warm them for easier cutting with a utility knife or exacto knife.



Do not forget to factor in shrinkage for large pieces.



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Well, I have seen some excellent tips on how to make excellent tiles in here. When I was first learning to throw bowls, I watched a fantastic but very unhelpful clip on trimming by Robin Hopper. His methods simply would not work with wonky-one-offs I made back then!


Tiles and Flat Things for Beginners:


Equipment: A slab roller is a non-essential piece of pottery equipment in my opinion. Wheel workers might think of it like device to help center their clay-- do you need one? Even slats are not needed for an experienced roller. The essential tool is the long rolling pin. Or just as good (if not better) is the full round curtain rods which cost ~$2/ft at Home Depot. Get about a 2 foot length. (bonus points: sand it with 400 grit paper and coat in linseed oil)

Lots of work space and good wood boards are also needed.


1. Wedge and roll out 1-3 lbs of clay at a time. Start with it somewhat flat and somewhat in the final shape of your tile. Push the rolling pin down with both hand with the same amount of pressure on both sides. Work the center of the piece, not the edges. Frequently flip the clay over and rotate it 1/3 a turn. This way the direction you are pushing the clay will vary.

A helpful (faster but harder) way to start is throwing the slab. I do this but still finish with the pin.

If you are making square tiles, go for a squarish round.


2. Roll to the thickness you want to work with. 3/8" to 1/2" is good. Precision is not essential in the beginning!

Too thin is too hard to work with. Start over.


3. There should be extra clay. Some of it can be cut away but leave about 1/2" to 1" all the way around your tile size.


4. Put the tile with a little excess clay on a non-sealed wooden surface. Wait. Roll out your other tiles. The waiting time should be 6 hours to overnight. Anyway that brings them around to the soft-leather hard stage.

You can put weight on the tiles but it isn't essential.

Try to avoid bending and moving the pieces. Keep them laying flat.


5. Cut to the final size. Smooth the edges.

Adding a grooved backside helps prevent cracks from forming and warping.

A hanging point can also be carved into the backside.


6. Add the textures and designs etc for the challenge.




I made my tiles today so I should be mostly done tomorrow :-)

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One point I'd like to add to Matthew's excellent advice above, is to make sure you cut to final size when all the pieces are at the same moisture level.  That can be wet, leather-hard or nearly dry, but if they are all the same then they should shrink the same.  (We learn the hard way, but fortunately I learned through another's experience!)

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If you cut slabs when they are wet, they will generally shrink unevenly (out of shape). For a good tile, the final cut happens when they are leather hard. My observations has been clay shrinks twice-- once from wet to leather hard and the second time in the glaze firing. There is very little size change from leather hard to bone dry to bisque.

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