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tiles for the international potters path

updated wed 18 aug 99


Janet Kaiser on tue 17 aug 99

Hi Brian=21

Sorry to hear of your woes making tiles. I have been watching the Clay Art
professionals giving some great advice and hope you are now well on your way=
saying =22she'll be right=22 as is your want Down under? In addition to all =
tips, I just thought I would pass on what a couple of Path Makers have told =
over the past weeks and months. (I always ask anyone who brings tiles in, =
method etc.)

Bronwyn Williams-Ellis: Using a white earthenware body, impressed and =
with coloured slip and clear glaze. A professional tile maker =
in the UK and Near East) makes most of her tiles by CUTTING slices off =
clay using wire. She then does all the impressions, before cutting out the =
using a sharp knife slightly angled under the tile. When hard enough to turn
over she then pricks the underside with an old-fashioned, forged square nail
(randomly =26 several times). She rarely has any curl or warp. She also said
cutting is far preferable to rolling as far as her work goes. (A multi-wire =
can be used to cut several layers from a block at once).

Sue King: usually makes terracotta, smoked and burnished terra sigillata =
pots, but never tiles. Using the terracotta body (fine and dense) she rolled
(once) and cut the clay. It then spent several weeks wrapped in cling film. =
turned it over =22whenever I remembered=22. This is the flattest and =
heaviest tile
we have yet had for The Path=21

No one has mentioned the metal tile cutters with ejection plates we used at
college. Wonder if they are now considered museum pieces?

I know my better efforts were using a tile frame (four pieces of wood with =
joints that fit into a 10 x 10 cm square) which the clay was beaten into by =
and then the surplus scraped off with a wet metal ruler, turning 45 degrees
after each pull. All done on newspaper, to save it sticking to the table=21

Another thought=3B are you cutting your rolled clay when leather hard? I =
that is recommended, although Leach suggested that tiles cut from one sheet =
clay should not be quite separated so that they hold each other flat. Do not
know at what stage he recommended the final cut though.

Anyway, all this is hypothetical. The problem is the drying... Seems to be
either very quick or very slow, which works best. Turning seems to be =
most often, but what about stacks? Have you tried several on top of each =
In hot Australia, I guess quick drying would be your chosen method? Robert
Fournier suggests drying stacked tiles on a kiln self on top of a hot kiln.

I also wonder if you need to add grog to make a drier more open body to =
with? I guess more tips will roll in from the experts, so will hold my =
I am feeling really guilty about you using all your clay though=21 When you =
=22cracked=22 it, your tile for The Path will be really precious=21 =

Sweating with you, all of the way...


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