Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lisa Muller Tiles

We've just gotten in some new tiles from Lisa Muller! Being a tilemaker myself I am always attracted to tiles and hers are really special.

"My tile are primarily made from earthenware clay slip, cast in open face plaster molds. The first step is carving the original. I usually make a quick, very general sketch right on the wooden table top in my studio. There I start pushing clay together, carving, pressing and pinching it into place to form the basic
lines of the tile. In making the original I have no need to worry about it holding together or being built “properly” to withstand firing since it will be destroyed in the mold making process.

When the bulk of the shape is in place, I cut it off the table and move the tile-in-progress to a Formica casting surface, working the final image there. When the details are completed I set up the casting boards and pour the plaster. The finished mold is a negative image of my original and always needs work before it is ready for slip. I carve the remaining details of the image right into the mold (backwards, and with reverse dimensions of course).

The molds are dried out over low heat for two days before casting begins. Because the clay slip erodes the plaster, the first tile(s) cast in this original mold will be recast in plaster, thus leaving the original mold as a master so I can continue to cast an image as long as Is necessary. When the tiles first come out of the molds they are very damp and bendable, almost rubbery. At that time I can add hand made parts to them (that would not cast well), depending on the image. When dry they are bisque fired to 2045 degrees Fahrenheit in an electric kiln.

After bisquing, each tile is dipped in a red iron oxide wash, painted with underglazes, then glazed (using brushes) with multiple layers and colors. They are electric fired a second time to 1950 degrees Fahrenheit. The red iron oxide wash mostly b
urns away under the glaze, adding to its’ depth. It remains, appearing terracotta brown, on the unglazed parts of the tile. Glazed surfaces range from deep, translucent jewel tones to satin or “dry”, crusty areas.

You can see more (and even order) on our website click here.

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