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sources for bisque tiles: summary

updated fri 31 jan 97


Tom Colson on fri 24 jan 97

Hi All-

I recently received a request for help locating sources for bisque
tiles. I think this question came up here at some time in the
past, and was hoping someone could help me out with some contact

For all who might be willing/able to help, here's a tiny
incentive: I will summarize all the info I receive and post it on
Tiles On The Web for future reference. Maybe that will save us
all having to answer this question yet again!

Many thanks to any who can help.


Tom Colson
Tiles On The Web:

PS: Sure will be nice when the U of Ky computer folks are kind
enough to crank up the database search functions for us again!
Then I could mine the archives, too.... on tue 28 jan 97

I fire to about ^5, and have recently been trying all kinds of commercial
bisque tiles. I used to use the American Olean ones, which were perfect.
They didn't shrink, they didn't warp, they didn't sag when fired on an
uneven shelf or in a rack, they would even go to ^10, the edges were nicely
eased, an enormous variety of glaze types and compositions worked well and
fit on them, and they were even cheap. In short, they were perfect.
Unfortunately, when Dal-Tile bought out AO, they quit selling them. Of
course, they still make them, because all they ever did was pull them off the
line before the glaze application, they just won't sell them any more.
Since then I've tried Gardenia, Dal-Tile, Monarch, and Huntington-Pacific.
I've got some H. & R. Johnson ones that I haven't tried yet, but they're
awfully thin. I can't imagine they won't warp. I also have on order some
tiles by the Porcelanite Corp. from N Carolina, but they're not here yet.
All of these brands of tile so far have been unsatisfactory at ^5. They're
OK for low-fire, I suppose, but many of my ^5 glazes, especially those with
high Si/Al ratios, seem to just sink into the tile and leave a rough surface.

I get the Gardenia tiles from my local clay suppliers, Seattle Pottery
Supply, or Clay Art Center in Tacoma. All the others I get from the local
tile dealerships that handle those particular brands of tile. Several times
I have had to call the factory to find out who the local dealer is, and then
you have to coerce the dealer into ordering you a few for a test.
God, I wish AO would start selling their tiles again. Or that Dal, which now
owns that formula, would start making tile out of it and selling that as
their unglazed tile.
I hope this helps,
Paul Lewing, Seattle

Carol Ratliff.clayart.CLAYART.MAILING LIST on wed 29 jan 97

I've had the same problem here in san diego. My local tile store carries
"west minister' and was able to get me some in bisque. I've fired it to
cone 6 with good results. Low fire commercial glazes tend to crackle and
not fit at low fire so I experimented and ended up with a very tight body
tile with a glaze that was nice at 6. I can't remember why but I called the
factory once and the glaze tech was very not helpful and tight lipped. She
was surprized to hear of their tile firing at cone 6 & seemed to think it
should have looked like a fluid puddle. I don't have their # anylonger, or
don't know where, but if you can't locate them I'll call my local place and
see if they'll give it out again.
In sunny san diego on thu 30 jan 97

Thanks for the tip on WestMinster tiles. I called them as well and decided
not to try them because they said they were only low-fire tiles. I also
found them to be not very helpful.
I guess I should have gone ahead and tried them, though, based on my
experience with AO's tech staff. Once when I called them to ask if they'd be
frost-proof if fired to ^5, they told me they would melt into a pudle at ^5.
In reality, they would go to ^10. So I guess I'll try some.
My real problem is that I use an enormous variety of glazes. It's not
unusual for me to use 35 different glazes (or at least colors of glazes) on a
single large mural. Most ^5 glazes work OK on these low-fire tiles, but some
do not.
Paul Lewing, Seattle