Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fawn & Textured Test Tiles

spotted fawn with mother deer
This weekend we took a drive into the mountains and went to a friends's 60th birthday party. On the way home, we saw a mother deer and her fawn on the side of the road. They stood still long enough for use to get a photo.

Today, I ran into my ceramics instructor, John Temple, at the post office and was telling him what I have been working on this summer, the new clay, new forms, slip decoration and slip transfer methods. I mentioned I was trying to get enough stuff made to fire up my kiln and he said, "You might want to fire some test tiles first, rather than putting in the new forms you worked so hard on." Boy am I glad I ran into him. He is so right. Why should I try firing my pieces first when I don't know how these new clays are going to perform? And I don't know how my new kiln is going to fire.

auto mat as texture mat for clay
So I decided to make up some test tiles with the new clays. I was thinking I wanted some texture on the test tiles and wished I had a large textured mat to use so I could texture the whole sheet of clay and then cut it out. While I was out shopping, I thought about bath mats, but couldn't find one that would work. While walking through the auto section, I saw a mat used protect the carpet in cars - the perfect texture mat. It has raised ridges vertically and on a diagonal and it's large enough to texture a whole sheet of clay at once. Yippee! I also thought a rectangular cookie cutter would be perfect for cutting out test tiles, but I couldn't find any cookies cutters, so I just used a plastic rectangular butter dish.

textured test tiles
I've got my first set of clay test tiles done and now I have two more types of clay to make test tiles for. Once these and the other sets dry I'll be able to fire up my kiln and do a bisque fire, then test some glazes on these test tiles.

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