My FIRST Community Built Conference 2014 Davis, CA

What exactly IS this “Community Built” thing you ask? Well…I hope I can describe it in fewer words than the board members did- LOL. I describe it as: Community building and engagement through creative projects.

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Mosaic mural detail- Mark Rivera, artist Davis, CA

It all began with a bunch of playground designers and muralists “back in the day” (the 1970’s), and it’s not only still going strong, but is growing as a group and as a movement. All over the world folks like the 100 or so that gathered in Davis, California two weeks ago are yearning for connection. I am one of those folks and I didn’t really know it until I got there!

I had a hint these were my people when they said in the invite to “wear your messy clothes”, but I didn’t realize until I saw the projects these folks had pulled off, met the folks who fearlessly created and engaged with communities around the world, and heard the amazing speakers who are more concerned with bringing folks together than in a fat paycheck -how much I resonated with what was happening there at the conference.

Let me wow you with some photos from the weekend:

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Cottonwood bench, created by the artists of CBA Conference 2014

 

This is a Cottonwood leaf bench- created in under 4 days by volunteers from CBA with mosaic artist Donna Billick at the helm (almost done – and look- Amanda has on overalls!) 🙂 Those of you who know me know I LIVE in mine. 🙂

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City Repair project led by Mark Rivera, Davis, CA

Here I am painting the intersection/street with neighbors and CBA conference goers led by Mark Rivera- at 4th and K St. in Davis, CA – a one day project that took less than half a day due to so many participants!

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“Compassion is…” Earthbench with Mosaic Ceramic Inlays by Mark Rivera, Brennan Bird, and the community of Davis, CA

 

The Compassion Bench, created out of recycled materials, cob, and love. Here’s a peek at what’s “inside”:Compassion bench 2  Old soda bottles filled with plastic bags, compacted together to create a wall of waste that then gets turned into a useful place of community gathering – SO much cooler than throwing it all in the landfill, and cheaper than any other material.

What you don’t see about what’s going on here is that by creating tangible projects together as a community folks are: meeting their neighbors, learning more about themselves and those around them, and then continuing to interact with each other AFTER the initial projects are finished to keep creating community in their towns, neighborhoods, and what have you. Folks are being empowered to make change happen themselves, and are less whiny, less apt to blame things on the “powers that be” and more engaged in life! They are taking ownership of where they live and creating what they want to see in the world.

Awesome huh? Are you excited by the possibilities yet?? If so, check out the website of this amazing organization at http://www.communitybuiltassociation.org or LIKE them on Facebook at Community Built Association. I learned so much in the 4 days I was there my head was exploding with it all!

Also check out the wonderful work of the Pomegranate Center at http://pomegranatecenter.org – and watch the Ted talk by Milenko Matanovic at TedX. He’s an amazing man, great speaker, and you won’t be sorry you watched it. He was an inspiring lecturer at the Davis conference. One of those people you want to “follow”.

Now I am forging ahead to write my own grant to do a community mosaic mural project for Talent, OR (my home) this summer. I plan to mount the panels onto the side of The Grotto pizzeria near the intersection of Main St. and Talent Ave. in the fall if all goes as planned. I will be engaging with my neighbors and friends to make some handmade tile elements, rounding up off-cuts and extras from tile setters in the area to create the background (and save the tile from the landfill), and hopefully having a ton of fun in the process.

Wish me luck- and if you know any tile contractors in the Rogue Valley let me know!!

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Mosaic LOVE workshop February 2014

In my last post over a month ago I was attempting to entice all the locals to come out for this beginners mosaic workshop at the Ashland Art Center- and come out they did! I had a dozen wonderful women and we had a blast (where are the men I ask you?).P1000650

I started by giving everyone a small frame or shaped board that had been sealed with Kilz primer/sealer to keep it from taking on moisture. I gave out a myriad of materials, including the above handmade ceramic tile hearts from my studio as well as stained glass, commercial glass tile, millifiore (pulled glass rods), and other bits and bobs I’ve collected over the years.P1000653

Next I gave a short explanation of “keeping it simple”, as there is so much to learn it’s impossible to teach it all at once. I must admit to being surprised and a bit overwhelmed at the number of students. I was expecting five if I was lucky-but having 12 was awesome! There were a number of different aesthetics and therefore a nice variety of work came out of the day

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The first day I forgot to take photos (sigh), but luckily Kara Lewis was there to pick up the slack- so I have just a few from the beginning stages of work.

The following week, after all the pieces were finished and dry, we met to grout. I directed a little demo first with pieces I’d done with the first day’s “leftovers”. photo 2 copyphoto 2

Then I gave everyone their own grout to go to town with. Man are we messy! LOL!

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But the results are Beautiful ladies!! Love these little works of art 🙂20140208_12271320140208_12325520140208_12270520140208_124705photo 3 copy 320140212_152716photo-2

I am happy to say we all had a great time and I will be offering ANOTHER class next month at the Ashland Art Center on cutting and laying techniques. Here’s the class description:

Mosaic Cutting and Laying Techniques 

Sat. March 22nd from 10am-2pm (with an hour for lunch)

Learn to make those feisty tiles do what you want them to do! Create flow and motion and choose what your tiles do for you rather than allowing them to dictate to you. Learn to cut circles, leaf shapes, keystone cuts and more and lay them to create whatever is in your imagination. We will use commercial glass tiles, stained glass, and commercial ceramic tiles for this experience. This class will be primarily for hands on learning with a little bit of lecture and demo to help show how to achieve specific effects. We will create a 9″ x 9″ sampler of many different techniques combined to create one image and show off your new skill set. 

For all levels of mosaic experience from beginners on up, ages 13 up to adult. All materials and tools provided. If you have any of your own tools (side biter nippers, double wheeled nippers, stained glass cutters) please bring them along.

Minimum 3 students, maximum 6.
$65 members, $75 non members
Karen Rycheck
aka missmosaic

To sign up contact the Ashland Art Center after Feb. 14th by clicking the link HERE. And please tell your friends! Have a great wet week (yeah moisture!) and an even better weekend.

Upcoming shows include my Artwork

Oh my god this has been a busy summer and now fall…I can’t wait to catch my breath, but there’s no end in sight until after The Clayfolk Show coming up November 22nd-24th at the Medford Armory on Hwy. 99 just off exit 27. Anyone wanting to take me to a warm sunny locale, just drop a line. I’m ready! SAMSUNG

I’m working on some new functional pieces since I’m learning to throw on the potters wheel, and I hope they’ll be well received. SAMSUNG These bowls are in the greenware stage-unfired and unglazed. The colors will change dramatically before they’re completed. The pastels will become deep reds and bright yellows and glowing greens. The outsides will become black and white. It one of the cool things about doing ceramics. You can’t tell until it comes out of the kiln on the final firing what it will look like. That’s part of the mystery of clay work. SAMSUNG

In the background is my reclining nude chaise lounge called “Eve”. It’s temporarily taking up space in my studio and serving as another shelf! Lol. I would love to sell her… anyone interested should contact me NOW! I need the studio space back and she needs a better home.

Stay tuned for updates on the progress of these new works as November draws nearer.

While going back and forth to Portland I was also working on some new garden art to be shown this October at the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Oregon. The pieces shown will be the Mosaic Town I created this summer and blogged about earlier.  The opening reception will take place Oct. 4th from 5-8 pm for the First Friday art walk in Ashland. Come on down to Illahe at 4th and B Street and meet me and other great mosaic artists from the area and check out the variety of types and styles that mosaics can offer.

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Shows & Events                                                   October 2013
Gallery Newsletter
Historic Charles Nininger Building
215 Fourth Street
Ashland, Oregon  97520

 

 OCTOBER:

We are happy to bring an eclectic group of nine skilled mosaic artists to the gallery this month for our Third Annual Mosaic Invitational.   Each of these artists skillfully takes the craft of mosaic in a unique direction and form, from furniture to wall hanging to outdoor sculptural works.  Join us for the Artists’ Reception, held during Ashland’s First Friday Art Walk on October 4th  from 5~8 p.m.  Enjoy a late summer evening stroll with other art lovers and meet the artists.  Wine and light refreshments will be served along with the music of Jef Ramsey.

THIRD ANNUAL MOSAIC INVITATIONAL:

Joanne Chase

Kory Dollar

Tina Ellis

Jennifer Kuhns

Jill McAlvage Smith

Penny Meads

Mimi Near

Karen Rycheck

Wilma Wyss

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“Phalaenopsis” Joanne Chase

First Friday Artist Reception

Friday, October 3rd 5-8 pm


“Resonance” Joanne Chase: ::::: :

 

JOANNE CHASE

I love to immerse myself in all aspects of the world of plants, growing edibles and ornamentals, walking amongst wild flowers, harvesting for food and medicine. Orchids are amazing flowers with such complex and unlikely architecture. Our local natives are miniscule and grow from the ground while tropical orchids such as I’ve recently seen in Panamaattach themselves to trees and have bigger, showy flowers. They all delight me and have inspired this body of work along with the notion of resonance, something that evokes a strong emotion, such as these flowers do for me.

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“Zahara, Goddess of Dance” Kory Dollar: ::::: :

 

KORY DOLLAR

Kory Dollar is a stained glass mosaic artist of Clark County Washington. She has been creating colorful mosaics for 15 years and is a self-taught artist. Kory uses a wide range of materials to create mosaics; she searches for unique bits and pieces that can be turned into treasures. She places bits of color and texture together to create elements in nature and fantasy. All of the items she creates are one-of-a-kind. She assembles each work of art one piece at a time, making every piece just right. Kory uses a broad range of materials, combining texture, reflectivity, and spacing to create her vision. Kory shapes the materials to fit like puzzle pieces, using modern tools. She is intrigued by mandalas, nature, and the human body. Her visions come from her surroundings; “I watch nature and people, studding movement, expression, tone, and light. My aspirations allow my imagination to create vivid themes and expression for others to interpret.”

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“Classic Ribbon Vase” Tina Ellis

TINA ELLIS

After representing glass artists to galleries for eight years, Tina found herself compelled to create her own artwork. She was inspired to work with dichroic glass because of its lively and reflective light transmitting qualities. The glass she uses is predominantly recycled. Tina hand cuts and fuses each piece of glass creating soft pillowed pieces for her mosaics. She also slumps some pieces of the molten glass to fit the form on which she is working.

This exhibit is a series of mosaic vases. Most of the vases are recycled period pieces. Tina’s work contrasts classical shapes with contemporary materials. She loves the way these contrasting elements play off of each other creating an entirely different expression.

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“Gimli” Jennifer Kuhns

JENNIFER KUHNS

My specialty is stained glass mosaic, with emphasis on use of reclaimed materials.  I collect stained glass scraps from leaded and fused glass artists, tiles are scavenged from contractors, tile setters, and salvage yards.  The bases for my fine art panels are leftover tile boards, cupboard doors, and old windows.

Throughout my life, faces have been the primary focus of my artwork.  If I’m stuck waiting in a line or at an airport, I entertain myself by sketching the faces of the people around me.  I love how different all of our faces are, and yet so similar.  The lines and contours of a face tell a story.  The arch of an eyebrow or clenching of a jaw can completely change a person’s expression.

While I have always enjoyed sketching realistic faces, I began to play with use of unexpected colors in my twenties, working in oil pastel.  From there, my faces became more and more whimsical as I also worked in linocut and collage, and when I discovered mosaic, I began by translating many of my earlier designs using tile and glass.

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“More Orange Bubbles” Jill McAlvage Smith

JILL McALVAGE SMITH

My sisters accuse me of having enough Scrabble tiles to write a novel. I don’t. But almost.

I am a finder, a collector, a bricoleur. Each of my artistic journeys begins with the hunt. I can be found most weekends haunting yard sales, imagining new lives for the dusty treasures I unearth.

I am passionate about creating my artworks using entirely salvaged and found materials (with the notable exception of adhesive and grout). My creative process begins with those discarded items. I am inspired by the challenge of transforming these rescued and reclaimed objects into meaningful works of art.

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“Rooster” Penny Meads

PENNY MEADS

Mosaic art creating for me is a form of mental therapy.  When working on a piece I can clear my mind of everything and find relaxation in creating a piece.  I have taught myself over many years and consider myself an advanced amateur.  When asked to describe how I do this, I describe it as having a vision and working backwards like a jigsaw puzzle.

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“Joy of Joys” Mimi Near

MIMI NEAR

I fell in love with glass mosaic the moment I encountered this intrepid art form in the Cathedrals of Europe at age 13. Using the technical skills I gained from being a journeyman tilesetter, the understanding of mosaic art from my studies inRavennaItaly and various art and design classes I set out to explore the inner and outer world of mosaic art. I create mosaics for Public Art Installations as well as private residence installations such as water features, sculptural interior or exterior pieces, bathrooms, kitchens, terraces etc. I also create what could be considered “Fine Art” that is hung as a painting would be hung in one’s home. The pieces I have created for this show have been inspired by a variety of things, my recent exploration of Spain, my love of the natural world and my absolute infatuation with the creation process.

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“Mosaic Houses” Karen Rycheck

Exploring different subject matters and concepts ranging from light to dark and whimsical to weighty drives my art making.

I begin a work with a general concept, giving myself space to develop the piece as I’m interacting with it. Allowing myself more room to play in my abstract work, I focus on design, texture and color as my guides.

Different materials call to me for each individual piece, so various types of glass, clay, stone, and metal as well as non-traditional materials such as CD’s and LP’s may all be found in my work. Choosing not to limit myself by material, I select my medium according to what sense I want to convey in the piece itself.

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“Out to Sea” Wilma Wyss

WILMA WYSS

The different settings and cultures that I’ve experienced are reflected in my mosaic work. My childhood was a multicultural gyre: I was raised by Swiss parents in the U.S. and Africa, and often felt like an outsider, spiraling between continental divides. I’m inspired by the lively, colorful ornamentation in African culture that often draws from nature, even as it collides in my art with the Swiss tradition of orderliness and precision-a collision I hope infuses my work with intriguing contrasts and a dichotomy of order and the unexpected. As a resident of the Bay Area for 25 years, I also feel a strong connection to the western landscape, and often integrate natural materials in my work, including river rock, pebbles, beach glass, fossils and shells. Color, texture and shape are key. I enjoy the technical challenges in creating my mosaic work, whether applying the mosaic to a substrate that I cast in concrete, build up an armature of wire mesh, or repurpose an old frame or ceramic roof tile.

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Paul’s mosaic panels are completed

After I created this exterior mosaic mirror to coordinate with my client’s new interior furnishings, he was so pleased he commissioned two more pieces for the entry walkway to his home.

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Paul’s mosaic mirror created in January 2013.

He lives in a beautiful complex on the shore of the bay in Tampa, Florida and has a walkway bridge that leads to his screened in porch and front door. The mirror hangs on his  porch.

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I created two panels that played off of his mosaic mirror design, as well as bringing in some new textures.

These panels were a combination of the original mirror, and the address plaque I made for my friend Penelope earlier this year, in my post “Penelope’s Plaque”.

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Address plaque created for Penelope in early 2013.

The client liked Penelope’s panel and wanted something similar, but in the same palette as his mirror and the colors from his home.

Here’s what we decided to do- one panel with 2 circles (12″ x 24″), and one panel with 3 circles (12″ x 36″). He left the rest up to me and here are the results:

Paul's2circle

Paul’s 2 circle panel.

Paul's3circles

Paul’s 3 circle panel.

These pieces include stained glass, handmade and commercial ceramic tile, mirror, commercial vitreous mosaic tiles, iridescent tiles, glass beads, millifiori, and Italian smalti left over from the Hannon Library mosaic installed in Ashland, Oregon in 2005.

I tied these panels to the mirror by making the background the same, as well as carrying over the color schemes. I feel they were pretty successful and also fun to make.

I find abstracts much more relaxing to create than realistic work. My mind is focused on the basics and not on “does it look like ___?” or not. I can allow myself to let go and play more. I have a feeling I’ll be going more in this direction in the future.

Anyhow, I’m shipping these panels out tomorrow and I look forward to seeing the photos once they’re installed on the pillars. Let me know what you think, feel, etc. about this work or anything else on my blog.

Mosaic Town is growing

Mosaic town has been growing steadily over the past week, and is almost complete. I have added three new buildings and created several montage photos so you can see the process as well as the various views of the new buildings.

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This is the 2 Story House made of handmade ceramic tile with a glass mosaic tile roof.

I created the texture on the red tile by rolling the wet clay onto a sheet of deeply textured fabric, then lifting and repositioning the fabric and rolling it again. The glaze catches in the different depths of the texture, causing some areas to have deeper colors than others.

The little yellow swirls are left over sun-centers from my History Underfoot mosaic. They make me happy, and I wanted a happy home- so there they are!

building4montage

The next building to be created was the Mod Building. Not sure where this came from in my head, though the Price Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright, in my hometown in Oklahoma, has always been a big influence. It might be a residence, it might be an office, it’s up to your imagination.

This one is covered in three colors of handmade tile, sea foam and clear with a touch of green for the walls, and forest green for the roof areas. The windows are made of a painted glass that adds great depth, as well as suggesting an interior light source.

building5montage

The final building I see as a Theatre of some sort. Cinema probably, though could be a regular theatre too.

It is covered in a huge array of colors and textures I have had sitting in my studio for a couple of years now. The front and sides are in a bright cheerful yellow, with the back being made of a combination of red and textured red handmade tiles.

The decorative tiles around the doors and windows are bits from tiles that warped or cracked in the kiln, but I didn’t want to throw away. The roof is made of orange tile and orange/brown tile from a failed attempt at a platter. I used the platter edges to edge the front of the roof. Oh, and the gingko leaf on the back is cut from the same failed platter. Happy it found a home here.

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So the town is now complete. I grouted them today, and as soon as I can find the appropriate garden setting I’ll photograph them to post here, and they’ll be up for grabs by some lucky new owner. Of course they need to live indoors in the winter to prolong their lifespan, but what a fun way to decorate your home!

TOWN FOR SALE

Mosaics and Art at Downtowne Coffee

Back in 2005 I was a member of a studio called Phoenix Clay and Steelworks in Phoenix, OR. We had shared ceramic equipment, kilns, and our own 10′ x 10′ workspaces in one large room, as well as a classroom and gallery.

PCW -front of buildingw-designWe wanted the studio to be welcoming to the community and we wanted to brighten up the city of Phoenix with our art.

phoenix clay and steelworks -door surround

I decided to make a double door surround for the classroom that incorporated both clay and steel in the form of broken tile mosaics with the theme of a town at the base, and flowers growing up out of the city.

the whole town

The town was going to be smallish three dimensional buildings covered in mosaics. Some were attached to the mosaic surface, others were free standing.

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The stems of the flowers were to be bent 1/2″steel rods that undulated on and off the facade of the mosaics rising up out of the town via the chimneys and smokestacks.

Bright colors of yellow and deep blues were accented by red, purple, and orange flowers. All of handmade tiles.

So I spent five months making this huge thing, and the week I finished I was informed the place was out of money and closing down!

So I took my mosaic panels (on 1/2″ durarock boards), and moved out of there. I carted the panels around for two or more years, trying to find a place where they would work so my work wouldn’t be for naught.

I ended up moving into Talent, OR in 2008, and discovered the Downtowne Coffeehouse right on the main drag of Talent Ave. Their sign has a little silhouette of a town that reminded me of my little city.

P1010382The building had originally been built as a gas station back in the nineteen twenties, and still has the two main posts holding up the porch that you used to drive under to keep you out of the weather as you serviced your auto.

They were looking pretty shoddy when I saw them. Paint peeling off, pretty ugly…and you know where this is going I bet…

I asked if they’d be interested in having my mosaics on their posts! I showed them to the owners, we discussed converting them from their original purpose, and away I went.

P1010367I knew after measuring and messing about that I’d need more square footage, so I had to make new tile, add panels, and cut the panels I’d already made into two.

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P1010947I also added coffee cups that I sawed into halves using a wet saw, and placed them so that they were like the

blossoms of the flowers climbing the posts. In addition, I needed to make a new city! I had sold the original buildings in the interim and so I designed a new flatter city and made new panels to accommodate the posts.

This all took me another couple of months or more to do. I must have had time on my hands back then…! I know I had more energy.

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Anyway, the posts were finally finished and ready to be installed.

That part took forever, as it liked to rain when I was installing, and we found out one of the old posts is twisted like a corkscrew, and other fun stuff to boot.

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But finally it was over! After at least 8 months of work my payment is – “free coffee for life”.

Not a bad deal,  since I live a block from there, and it’s really the only game in town as far as a place to hang out and catch up with folks. I consider it the hub of our community, and am happy to say they are expanding and almost ready to open up and out as a coffeehouse/restaurant – serving more great food and expanding their hours into the evenings. As you can see, this is an old photo- the place has a beautiful new look and paint job as well as an expansion on the rear of the building, plus a painted mural on the side.P1010952

downtowne coffeehouse 4 copyFor the new expansion they decided they needed a new logo- and who else to ask? Me! So with the guidance of the owners, I designed a little city in a coffee cup. This is not the final logo- but close. Next comes the city on the roof that’s been designed by Robert Frost, and perhaps painted by me if I can get a trade on food now…

AND they allow me to hang a few of my ceramic tile plaques in their store entry for me to sell at no cost.P1020237P1020576P1020177

Gotta love this place, and this community. Thanks Dan and Sara Goyette for  making this a great place to live and a great place for art!!P1020496

Making ceramic plaques

I finally finished Pete and Carol’s tiles last week and they picked them up Tuesday (yeah!).

Now it’s time to make some work for the June “Art for the Garden and Home” show.

Save the dates- June 7-9th up at the top of Wimer St. in Ashland, OR. 
447 Pape St. And 421 Prim St. Both just off Wimer. There will be tons of signs!

Times are from 10-5 Friday and Saturday, and 10-3 on Sunday.

Mary Dee’s garden is also on the Ashland Garden Tour-so plan ahead Sunday so you have time to see both the art and the plants.

I’m beginning this week by making my ceramic plaques.

I roll out my clay the ol’ fashioned way with a big rolling pin, just like making biscuits!
Next, I roll handmade stamps across the slabs to create texture

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After the clay sets up for half a day or so, I cut it into the basic sizes I’ll use for the individual plaques.

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Then I wait several more hours, or overnight to add carved details like wording, or individual designs.

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Once the tiles are completely dry, they get their first firing, or bisque (1830°F).
It takes about 12 hours for the kiln to come up to temperature, and 12 hours to cool.

After that, I either glaze them using handpainting of glazes or underglazes for color-and spray with a clear glaze if needed.
Then a high firing up to cone 5 (2185°F) for another 12 hours.

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After the tiles have cooled for about 12 hours, I can touch them without burning myself.

I add hanging wires and beads to some, others have built in wires on the backs. And little felt dots so your wall won’t scratch!

And that’s why it takes so long to make these little guys and why they aren’t $2 each! Lots of love and attention is taken with each piece, and no two are exactly the same.

I also make these to order-so keep me in mind for addresses, special messages, new homes, etc. But give me at least two weeks to a month to get it done!

Here’s the address tile I made for my house.

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I can do most any color, but I can’t really color match-as that’s a crazy process I prefer not to get too into if possible. But try me 😉

This is just one of the ways I make these tiles.

I’ll save the other subtractive  method for a future post.

Hope you enjoyed your mini tutorial!