Throughout the Spring semester, our class delved with the making of clay tiles. Our progression started by rendering textures in order to understand depth. After, we practiced with the clay provided by our professor. Sketching visual textures felt a bit easier for me rather than creating tactile textures, since tactile is focused more on modeling, which I am still practicing on.
After modeling our tile mock-ups, we decided on one clay design that we admired. I created a unique design that had a moon-like appearance. There are small organically shaped craters, or dents, that creates a variety of depths, when a light is shone on it. With that, I also planned my 16″x16″ tiles to be arranged randomly, almost like nature. In order to execute a random composition of tiles, I had to keep the ending of the sides of each tile the same, so that it connects throughout the collection of tiles.
On the part of creating sixteen tiles in a couple of weeks, it was effortless to create each one with a mold. Since I was trying to achieve a random arrangement of tiles, I created a second tile and a second mold. This brought to my attention how efficient it was to produce sixteen tiles in less than a week. Making molds provide a way to create uniform pieces that can save a person time.Forming the mold was also effortless yet rapid. The process of making a plaster mold made me more knowledgeable about it being used for thousands of years.
Cleanliness was just one of main aspects that makes a decent tile. In order for our tiles to be fired, we had to make sure that the bottom and side of each tile was cleaned in order to avoid chipping. In the beginning, we also had to take account that a tile shrinks in size once it is fired, so we increased the size of the tile by .25″. The colors of the tiles were enriched once it was fired. The brown-reddish tone made my tiles look more earth-like.
Before tiling, I was debating whether to use the speckled-gray glaze or the glossy white glaze. I imagined the speckled-gray making my tiles have a matte color and texture, making its shadows more prominent when a light source hits it. However, from observing other peoples’ tiles with the glaze, I noticed it was too much of a dark gray, which makes shadows less prominent. I chose glossy white as it creates a strong contrast with the dark shadows. The gloss also makes my tiles have a liquid texture. With the shadows, organic craters, and the glossy texture, the tiles seem to create their own movement.
Producing tiles was my favorite project for this semester because it was ongoing and it made me more aware of small details and cleanliness. Over the summer, I plan to put the tiles together and use it as a hanging decor on my bathroom wall.