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tile hanger advice

updated sun 25 feb 01


Janet on wed 21 feb 01


I've been asked make a tile address placque to be affixed to the=20
exterior of a customer's house. She will be placing the placque=20
on her front porch post. Her post is 10" wide.

The size of the tile will be approximately 8" wide by 16 - 18" long
and 3/8" to 1/2" thick to be hung vertically. My initial thought was=20
to put a couple of holes on each side near the top and use a chain
to hang it up with or to simply screw it to the post. Another hole at
the bottom for a screw to stabilize it from swinging.

However, I read an article a few years ago in Ceramics Technical,=20
issue 9 - November 1999 about an artist, Scott Rench. He creates
large slabs of clay, 20" x 26" or so, onto which he transfers computer=20
generated images. He creates his "hanger" by laying two short pieces=20
of clear vinyl tubing, one above the other, horizontally on the back =
of the slab over top of a scored area. Then takes another small slab of =

clay and and presses it over the tubes sandwiching it together. The=20
pre-lubricated tubes are removed after it dries.=20
This approach appeals to me since the result is a nice clean appearance=20
on the front of the piece.

My customer doesn't want someone to walk away with her placque,=20
although I don't know who would unless they would have the same
house number?? In any event, I would appreciate input if anyone
has a suggestion aside from applying it permanently onto her porch=20
post, which she doesn't want to do.

In case you are wondering, I prefer not installing it in a frame of any =
before mounting to the post as the top of the tile will be rounded =
of square. Although the porch is somewhat protected from the winter =
I plan to glaze both sides and fire ^6 - using SCs' #108 red clay=20
w/medium grog and sand. Lastly, the reason for the rather large overall =
it to accomodate the decorative nature of the floral design.=20

Thank you for your time. Any and all advice invited off list. I'd =
rather not
incur the wrath of the rest or worse, put anyone to sleep.

Janet Brum
A List Lurker from Greensburg, PA who is nearly "cured" from accepting =
custom jobs.

Linda Blossom on wed 21 feb 01

Dear Janet,

I don't quite get this. Is this hanger pocket made in the top center of the
back of the tile? Are the two pieces of tubing next to each other? If so,
why? If not, how far apart are they spaced? In either case, how can the
tile be fired flat?

"He creates his "hanger" by laying two short pieces
of clear vinyl tubing, one above the other, horizontally on the back side
of the slab over top of a scored area. Then takes another small slab of
clay and presses it over the tubes sandwiching it together. The
pre-lubricated tubes are removed after it dries."

Another idea that I have seen is to push into the clay, with a small tool or
a finger, on the back creating pockets where the piece can hang on a screw
or nail. With a large piece, instead of one in the center, there would be
one pocket on each side with each one at the same distance from the top.
Don't just press in, press in and up so that the tile can rest securely on
the nail or screw that can be put in at a slight angle upwards.
Linda Blossom
Ithaca, NY

Lynne Antone on wed 21 feb 01

Janet and all,

I get the impression, that besides the tile not being a shape that would be
easily framed, you may want your tile holders not to show. In case not, you
might want to check a previous "Clay Times" (hope I have the right magazine,
not at home to check) where Lana Wilson talks about metals you can fire with
your piece, depending on the cone you are firing to.

For six by six tiles, I cut out a small square on the back of my tile, push a
large wire into each bottom side of the inside of the cut, parallel with the
face of the tile horizontally, then after firing, I use some old baling wire
(narrower than the large wire) bent into an Omega looking hook, and glue the
ends into the holes. The baling wire has enough play in it to allow me to
stretch it into the holes and if the fit is good and tight, I don't even
worry about gluing.

An architectural ceramicist I know would drill holes in the flat tile before
firing and using screws with washers, attach the tile to the post with some
play. Fill the holes with matching grout to hide them. You could even attach
a faux holder with chain behind the tile to run above and attach to a nail or
screw then, to make it look like the tile is held only by the chain.

I got the neatest tool for bending wire from another potter. I think it was
sold in hobby stores years ago. It was used for mobiles, shaping wire, etc.
It is a flat piece of metal with holes and slots that I screwed onto the top
of a post in the studio. You can put different sized metal pegs in the holes,
in various configurations to get the shape you want. The base also has three
or four different sized slots to hold different gauges of wire to help
straighten them. You could bend wire into animal shapes, the alphabet, hooks,
whatever you can think of. Very nice.

Hope all of this makes sense, it's crystal clear to me, but then I can see
what I am talking about. Let me know if you need clarification.

Lynne Antone
Beaver Creek Arts
Olympia WA USA

Peg Landham on thu 22 feb 01

At last, a topic I am interested in, and Janet says,
"Any and all advice invited off list. I'd rather not
incur the wrath of the rest or worse, put anyone to sleep."

How sad, that it's come to this. My take on this, Janet, is that if
those of us who participate in the list for information begin to do so
offline for fear of reprisal, all that will remain may be verbal
e-ssault. So let's stick our necks out here and share a little, shall
we? What I have to contribute may not interest many people, but everyone
out there has a delete key, and you have kindly provided them with a
very clean subject heading.

First, I want to thank you for the great idea about the plastic tube. I
had never thought of that. Secondly, for what it's worth, here are a few
methods I have used to hang my raku tiles:

1. I have made a decorative bisque stamp that creates a raised image. I
score & slip the spot where I want to apply the hanger on the backside
of the leather-hard tile, form a ball of fairly firm clay, then jiggle
and smash it onto the tile with the stamp. Next, use a wooden skewer (or
a drill bit) to run a hole through the stamped piece, parallel to the
tile and at the plane of the join. I put four of them on my decorative
tiles, so the owners can use the tile as a trivet if they decide not to
hang it. You must be sure to wrap well in plastic for a couple of days
after applying these hangers, because the tile will warp if you don't
equalize the moisture content.

2. Velcro. I use this on "free-floating" tile murals, because I like the
look of the tiles standing separately off the wall. I attach four 2"
squares of Velcro to the corners of the tile with epoxy, then staple
corresponding pieces in a grid pattern on a sheetrock wall. This leaves
lots of tiny holes, but they're very easy to fill, and the tile mural
says with its original owner.

3. Museum mount: attach an L-shaped bracket of clay to the back of the
tile, cutting screw holes in the face that lies perpendicular to the
tile. This bracket needs to be placed near enough to the edge of the
tile that you can reach it with a screwdriver while the tile is mounted
on the wall. Attach a wooden cleat to the wall where the tile is to
hang, then screw (carefully! Don't overtighten!) through the clay
bracket into the cleat. If the tile is very large, you may need to use
two or more brackets. I have tried using metal corner bread (for
sheetrock finishing) as the bracket for this application, but I haven't
yet found an adhesive that bonds the metal to the fired clay reliably.

On my way to the Alabama Clay Conference,
Peg Landham
Birmingham, AL, USA

Janet on thu 22 feb 01

Hello Linda,

Thank you for responding to my post. I'll try to answer your=20
questions as best I can. The magazine article refers mostly
to the artists' clay journey and his method of transferring the
computer images he creates to the slab. Two of the pictures
included in the article show his hanging method with a brief
description of what is shown.

The website for the magazine is at
I mentioned in my original post that this article is found in
Issue 9, November 1999 of Ceramics Technical. I visited this
site this morning but could not get into that particular article.=20
It appears only Issues 1-7 can be accessed. Of course, I
am a dinosaur just learning about computers so you may
be able to "get there from here."

I'll try to explain what I'm looking at. First, I cannot see the
entire slab but I believe the placement is near the top
quarter of the slab in the center. The two pieces of tubing
look to be about 4" in length and 3/8" diameter. They are
layed horizontally on the back of the slab spaced about
1 1/2" - 2" apart, one above the other. The extra slab of
clay he positions over top of the tubes is about 3" square.
Large enough to completely cover both tubes so that he can press
it securely to the back of the large slab and also in between=20
the tubes, making two channels once the tubes are removed. =20

His "tiles" are large slabs about 20" x 26" - the magazine describes
the sizes at 67.5 x 60 cm, 67.5 x 62 cm, ect. I think he must be
running a loop of cable through the channels to support the weight
of his piece perhaps displacing the stress to the slab. I'm no
engineer so I'm guessing here. =20

I should have explained that these slabs are not completely flat
as you wondered how could this be. He slumps the pieces over
foam pieces to give it added dimension. The slabs are slightly curved.=20
He fires them standing upright.

Thanks for your suggestion about the nail or screw in the back. I've
tried that and found that nails are preferred over screws. Screw heads
don't have enough depth, IMO, compared to nails.=20

Janet Brum
Greensburg, PA

Janet on thu 22 feb 01

Hi Peg and all,

Oh geez! Don't be sad, please. I was kidding a bit about=20
"incurring the wrath." Being a list lurker up to now, I've read=20
SO many interesting threads that this seemed a bit mundane=20
and didn't want to add more weight to that big o'l mail bag on=20
Mel's back.
"First, I want to thank you for the great idea about the plastic tube."

You're welcome, but I didn't think of it either - not my idea,
just passing it along.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Janet Brum
Greensburg, PA with my head out of my hole.=20

Eleanora Eden on sat 24 feb 01

It occurs to me that this might be a good way to go, its what I do to hang
small-to-medium wall pieces but large would work too.

I roll little lugs (all the same thickness) about an inch square and carve
a channel down the center of one face on most of them. In the glaze firing
I attach two of these with the channelled face against the back of the
tile, a bit above 1/3 H down, so that when the piece comes out the lugs are
solidly glazed to the tile with channels for heavy picture wire to go
through. A third lug, not carved for wire, is glazed to the center near
the bottom so when affixed to the wall the tile hangs parallel to the wall.

When affixing to a nail or screw the wire can be twisted so that it wraps
around it.....anyway this works for me. I know that with highfire such a
solution might not work but for earthernware it works very nicely.



Eleanora Eden 802 869-2003
Paradise Hill
Bellows Falls, VT 05101