Art Tile – Concept to completion

Since the beginning of the year I have had an obsession with creating tile – artistic, creative, elegant, colorful and distinctly different from anything currently available. From my research I have noticed 3 major areas are lacking in today’s tile –  { figurative, large Accent tiles& expressive}. Accent tiles used to be decorative centre pieces in bathrooms and kitchens, with relief ,texture and figures. Sculptural Artwork has been replaced with basic patterns, shapes and colors.
Pistrucci Artworks main goal is to produce a wide variety of bas relief accent tiles from contemporary to figurative offering distinctive flair with color and texture. Jeremy Hileman took the concept Pikaso Kichen and created an expressive colorful line of tile for the contemporary kitchen. Here is the results of our next tile line titled ‘ Pikaso Kichen’.

To view the catalog go here: art-tile-catalog-pikaso-kichen

First the concept drawings were designed and a rought draft completed [see below] :

 

Then the sculpting of the relief tiles:

 Glaze tests

Old world stain

& more glaze tests….

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How to calculate firing costs: Bridges Pottery

I am a regular subscriber to ceramicsartdaily.org an excellent site for clay artists. I was intrigued by  Bridges Pottery and this video which had so many great studio applications I felt a desire to share it so that others could benefit from this artists work, techniques and tips:

From Patricia Bridges blog [  http://www.blog.bridgespottery.com/  ]:

How to calculate firing costs

Cost to Fire Kiln

I ran a glaze firing and have calculated the costs on my new kiln. Always helpful to know what I am spending and where.
To calculate my costs….
My new Excel Select Fire 7 cubic. ft kiln is 11520 Watts or 11.52 kilowatts
Multiply kw x hrs fired. I also then apply a % based on that cone I fire to since I am not using the full power – about 50% for a bisque and 65% for glaze. This is an estimate- Multiply that x cost of kw (.21). Expensive electric on Long Island:(

Looks like this….

BISQUE
11.52 x .5 =5.76
5.76 x 7=40.32
40.32 x .21 = $8.47

GLAZE
11520 /1000 = 11.52kw
11.52 x .65= 7.488
7.488 x 8.5 = 63.648
63.648 x .21 = $13.37

Here is some of the videos from ceramics art daily:
http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/handbuilding-techniques/bonus-monday-pottery-video-making-pottery-using-slabs-coils-and-textured-paddles/?floater=99

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/handbuilding-techniques/working-with-slabs-a-ceramic-arts-daily-reader-shares-tips-and-techniques-for-slab-built-pottery/

Brideges Pottery website can be found here:
http://www.bridgespottery.com/

Check out her work – Her website and her blog and subscribe to ceramicsartsdaily.org to get valuable clay information emailed to you directly!
Yours in clay,

Jeremy

How to build and Sculpt a Custom Architectural Ceramic Fireplace Surround

left side figure- finished and painted

left side figure- finished and painted

Siempre Sonador
siempre Sonador
After second firing ready for high fire
After second firing ready for high fire

I recently completed a custom architectural ceramic fireplace surround ( title “SIEMPRE SONADOR”. Above is a picture of it prior to installation.
I will be giving a basic description of the process here in this blog.
First I met with the clients to determine their personal style and get an overview of the project and its layout. This is an important step as it is necessary for the 2 parties to decide if they can work together.  I really love old architecture and figurative movement and use it whenever possible and I was happy that my ideas for the fireplace went well in the home and space.

Fireplace surround
Fireplace

The fireplace would be built for an old 1900’s period style home and would be the center of attention in the dining room area.  The family is the owners of the Elk lake bed and Breakfast in Victoria BC  Canada and take an immense amount of pride in their home and business.

I did an initial drawing of my concept and ideas, as well as a materials list and quote.  From my drawings I set out to sculpt the parts of the fireplace that would take the longest and would need to be ‘repeated’ or molded for consistency in the design.

Sculpted figure for right side on canvas
Sculpted figure for right side of fireplace

I sculpted relief on gessoed canvas out of paperclay let dry and painted on the rubber molding compound. I let it dry between thin layers building up over several days to a week depending on how thick I wanted my moldFor some of the relief tile I used the upholstery on the back of the chairs to match the design elements.

Upholstery design from dining room chairs
Upholstery design from dining room chairs
Completed sculpture design from upholstery
Completed sculpture design from upholstery

Once I had completed the basic designs I needed a reoccuring theme within the design itself. I chose the iris for its meaning and beauty.

Plus I needed added dimension for a more sculptural and aesthetic appeal. I knew The focal point would be the keystone tile which would be an  original one of a kind sculpted figurative relief to match the left and right figures. Here are pictures of the sculpting of the keystone and iris’s.

sculpting figurative tile
sculpting figurative tile
Right side original sculpture before molding

Right side original sculpture before molding

Sculpted keystone tile drying
Sculpted keystone tile drying

The sculptures were placed on a sheet of drywall and left to dry  – the corners were weighted and dried slowly by covering with plastic.

Fireplace tiles cut to size allowing for clay shrinkage and set to dry on drywall
Fireplace tiles cut to size allowing for clay shrinkage and set to dry on drywallAfter second firing ready for high fire

The clay is a porcelain body and slow drying was necessary to avoid cracking or warping. Cracks that did appear were immediately filled with a mixture of the clay body, toilet paper and water (paperclay). Once the fireplace was bone dry it was bisque fired to cone 018, After it is cooled down and removed from the kiln it was submerged in water to test for cracks which were filled with the paperclay mixture.The fireplace was sanded and dried again. It was refired again to cone 018.

Here is a picture of the unpainted fireplace. Once the fireplace was dried again and sanded it was high fired to cone 4 we had to choose a color. After tooooo toooo many glaze tests the customers finally settled on a bronze patina highlighted with dark brown umber and cobalt green accents. Here is a picture of my signature on the back of the iris tile.

Pistrucci signature on back of iris
Pistrucci signature on back of iris

Picture of completed fireplace: click on picture to enlarge  and (+ or – for larger detail)

Experiments with Paperclay

A few years ago I experimented with different types of paperclay (air dry and fired clay) on canvas, drywall – almost anything I could get my hands on. I have used paperclay (firing in a kiln) to repair scupture and relief with success. I felt it was a subject that needed revisiting as paperclay is being used today for large sculptural works for thinness translucency and strength. I need to distinguish the 2 main types of paperclay – air dry ( no firing required) and fired paperclay in a kiln. I have used both. Non firing paperclay is excellent for sculpting models for a mold, whereas I use fired paperclay to repair greenware and bisque sculpture and releif.

Here is some examples of Air dry paperclay on Canvas and drywall:

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The recipe for Air dry paperclay is as follows:

Paperclay: In a bowl combine
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. salt
warm water  – mix with hands and knead until consistency of clay.
Paperclay recipe #2
1 pkg creative paperclay
2-3 tbsp wallpaper paste
2-3 tbsp water

cut paperclay into chunks  add water and paste. Mix and knead with hands until consistency of toothpaste let dry overnight. seal in ziploc bags

Paperclay Recipe for kiln firing methods:

You can use a variety of different papers and clays to get the effect you want such as stoneware or porcelains. It is by experiment and your favourite clays. The recommended paper to use is newsprint but any paper (with the exception of gloss papers) will do.  Thus ancient paper mixture allows the clay body to open up, lighten the weight and add strength. The recipe for this process is simple and easy – start by shredding the paper ( in a shredder works best and is faster than by hand) Soak overnight at least 24 hours. Next with a blender or drill with a mixing bit attachment mix the soaked paper until a thick paste consistency.  Add your clay in powdered form — 60 parts powdered clay to 40 parts paperclay.

For repairs on bisque or greenware:  Add  1part magic water, 2parts clay  mix until a slip consistency. next add 1 part toilet paper or tissue paper and mix until a smooth paste. glue the broken pieces together or with a small paintbrush paint the cracks with the mixture. let dry and sand with fine sandpaper **carefully***.

Magic Water : used by sculptors and potters to adhere wet clay together after scoring the pieces.
3 tbsp sodium silicate
1-5 tsp soda ash
1 gallon water

Spooze: (use: as above)
1/3 slip
1/3 Karo syrup
1/3 vinegar

Paperclay technique allows ceramists to create large thin forms to achieve translucency or luminous sculpture such as in porcelain. Reference: & for more information See The Art & Craft of Ceramics Techniques, Projects, Inspiration by Maria Dolors Ros i Frigoloa

A video with a great recipe :

Air dry paperclay:

1 roll of toilet paper
3/4 cup of white glue (Elmer’s glue-All)
1 cup of joint compound
1/2 cup white flour
2 tablespoons linseed oil

Photolithography on Clay

Here is a project that I thought might interest you as it intrigued me. I sketched a drawing of my sister for a book cover – she loves books and I decided to make her a journal.  I have always wanted to put my drawings onto clay and this method allows for an (almost) seemless image. Sketching on clay is difficult but if you sketch onto paper – then transfer the image onto clay and kiln fire the piece you have essentially a permanent record of your drawings.

Here is the method that I have been experimenting with over the last several weeks:

Step One : Make the Ink, photocopy image, Roll out clay slab
In a small container add 3 parts linseed oil to 2 parts mason stain – stir for about 10-15mins.
Let mixture stand overnight for best results

The mason stain is toxic so PLEASE wear rubber gloves and a dust mask for SAFETY.
Photocopy image on a black and white xerox copier – ink jet will not work as it is the toner that is the ingredient that allows the image to transfer. I recomment copying in reverse (negative) so the image will be right side or positive when place down on the clay.
Roll out slab and let sit until leather hard – overnight.
Take a break and start again in the morning….

 

Step two: list of items required
On a table place 2 pieces of glass – one for your image and one for the ink
2 sponges
In 2 bowls fill with water one large and a smaller container
In the large container of water put a small drop of gum arabic
Have on hand premixed ink, brayer, papertowels, spoon to mix ink, photocopied images and leatherhard clay slab.

As you can see in this photograph the sketch is photocopied reversed so that it will be correct when finished.

Next place about a tablespoon of GUM ARABIC onto the glass set out for the image AND onto the other piece of glass put a line of INK ( STIR first).Smooth out the Gum Arabic over the glass until you have covered the glass in the same approximate area of your image.

Now place the image FACEUP on the glass over the gum arabic. With your fingertips (remember your rubber gloves) gently smooth the gum arabic over top of the image until an even layer all over is applied.

With a papertowel remove the excess gum arabic from around the image and the glass.

Place the brayer over the ink and roll in one direction until the brayer has an even coat of Ink. Now carefully roll onto the image until an even coat is ontop of the image.

Take the wet sponge from the container with the gum arabic and squeeze the water over the image – do not touch the image with the sponge – this is the wash out stage. Now with the other smaller container of just water wet the sponge and ring out until damp. Lightly sponge up the excess water from the image and pat dry over top of the image in the white areas – leaving the darkened areas as much as possible.

DO NOT rub the image as the wet paper will tear – GENTLY pat dry.

 

Step three: Repeat Inking, gumarabic water sponge washing out, patting dry with clean sponge. cleanup arean with papertowel around the image.You should ink and wash out and pat dry – three times.

Step Four: Place image face down onto clay slab.
This is the most difficult part as you must be careful not to rip the wet paper image.

With your fingers or a tool pull up the corner of the image. You only have one chance at this so be careful when placing the image onto the clay. center it carefully. I use a larger slab and just place it in the middle and then cut my clay to size. It is also important that your clay slab is smooth for best results as a clay slab with pit marks or dents will affect your image transfer. Once the image has been placed onto the clay pat down with a clean damp sponge – being careful that the paper does not move on the clay and smudge the ink image. Gently pat removing air bubbles and making sure it is adhered to the clay.

Let dry for about 10 – 20 minutes. With the back of a spoon burnish over the entire area of the image. Once the burnishing is complete you can pull up a corner to see how well your image is transferred – if it needs more burnishing place the corner back down and burnish over the area again. Remove the paper in an upward movement – The paper image must be removed prior to firing in the kiln.I have also noticed the longer it is left to dry on the clay it adheres making it difficult to remove leaving behind paper bits. If this occurs try to remove as much as possible but only leave to dry approximately 20 minutes for best results before burnishing.

I have made a book cover as my sister loves books and I want to make her a journal. I cut the clay to the size and leave to dry before placing in the kiln.

Or watch the video by ceramicsartdaily.org
http://ceramicartsdaily.org/ceramic-supplies/ceramic-colorants-ceramic-supplies-2/photo-lithography-on-clay-a-surprisingly-simple-way-to-print-images-on-clay/

Be patient it took me several trys before I got results that I was happy with and still need some more practice with other mason colors and other projects – plates? inspirational messages on cubes ? sculpture?
– Have FUN!! It is endless what you can do with clay!