Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recently have been experimenting with clay from my own local PipeClay Lagoon. Clay was dug, made into tiles, Raku fired and then placed back into the water at Pipeclay Lagoon. Some tiles were glazed with an iron glaze and some were left bare. The glazed ones resulted in a quite lovely red and a slight green in the corners the unglazed ones showed more of a pinky apricot ranging to grey. Once the finished tiles were immersed in the salt water the colours in the tiles became startlingly brilliant. Resulting in some beautiful photos!

Adding grog to clay dug from pipeclay lagoon. Grog (crushed fire bricks) helps the clay become more porous so that when they are being fired the moisture can escape quickly and prevent the tiles from exploding. Even though plenty of grog was mixed in, I still lost a lot in the fire!

Making tiles is quite labour intensive. The clay is rolled out onto a special board so that I can get the width of the tile even. Once I have enough cut, the boards are stacked on top of each other to prevent warping while drying. The tiles take at least two weeks to dry out enough to be sanded and biscuit fired (first firing to 800 degrees). Once they are biscuited they can be glazed and fired again (1100degrees for earthenware and 1280 for stoneware).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My tiles are available exclusively from site 95 Salamanca Market in Hobart every Saturday morning. Yes, I do take orders and I post Australia Wide. Email me for more details.
Growing up in the midlands of Tasmania in the 1960's, where everybody we knew lived in old houses and most were in the process of renovating, my interest in ceramic tiles and interior design was fired at an early age.

The tiled hallway of a Georgian house at Tunbridge. The art Deco bathroom of a Great Aunt's 1920's Californian Bungalow. The intricate carving on an Edwardian chest of drawers. The great sandstone walls of early 19th century farmhouses revealed under peeling layers of William Morris type wall papers. All are etched firmly in my mind. Right down to the 1960's wallpapered toilet of a cousin's colonial farm house.

The patterns on these old wallpapers intrigued me and even today I prefer those old tiles, wallpapers and carpets to modern designs.

As I grew older I discovered who William Morris was along with other members of the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1800's. The Bloomsbury Artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell and their infamous 'Charleston Farmhouse' have been another great influence on me and my work.

Today, I am still influenced heavily by William Morris and William De Morgan but also find great inspiration in the work of my sister(a silversmith) and in fabrics, gardens and the artwork of my children.