Derived From Drop Tiles

You may remember a post a few days ago about drop tiles. In their creation, small coils and balls of clay are used. Sometimes you can remove them from the greenware (unfired dry clay) tile, but sometimes they are stuck firm and to remove them risks breaking the tile. Doesn’t matter, they don’t hurt anything to stay in place.

In my most recent work with this form, I was able to remove all the clay pieces in the greenware stage. From these tiles:

I got an assortment of clay blobs. I had them bisque fired and then I glazed them, turning them into clay “rocks”. Here they are.

When we are able to get back to the studio I need to remember these clay rocks. I love the look of them and I’d like to make a big collection.

13 thoughts on “Derived From Drop Tiles

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    These are marvellous! They look so tactile, just the type of thing I like to turn over in my hand. I think they will look wonderful all gathered together as a collection.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I had to laugh a little at your last sentence (I hope you are not offended). Laughing at myself. And here is why. You are right, ceramics has a lot of technical aspects, because you need to understand the capacities of your materials (what clay fires at what temperature, glazes, etc.) Or else your project will fail or worse, damage your kiln or whatever. And there are people for whom (it seems to me) that really enjoy that aspect of clay – everything becomes a formula or an algorithm and they really dig down into the details. Such as people who mix their own glazes, have really complicated firing schedules (you can manage the heat your kiln is producing in quite detailed ways, etc.) and seem ( to me) almost forget why they are doing all of this – to produce something they enjoyed making. But, in reality, really good work can be done with basic knowledge and a pretty carefree attitude. I think it is like sewing – you need to know the techniques, how fabric behaves, how the machine works, but you pick that up and you create. Now I get to the laughing part. In my studio class I know the boundaries of my materials, I ask the instructor for help and don’t get out of my depth, I enjoy learning the characteristics of different methods, and I observe the rules because I want my items to emerge whole and also not damage others’ work in the kiln… But…I am known for being the person who never writes down glaze combinations, has no idea what I did to get the result, doesn’t really care, either – I LOVE the element of serendipity. My classmates have learned I am the last person to be asked how did I get this or that result but they still do, though by now they know to expect the answer…Umm.. maybe I did this…maybe that…It looks like…
      Even the instructor has given up on me keeping any kind of notebook of results as many people do, and just laughs. Somehow it all comes out. I take the attitude that I found the finished results, (or they found me) not that I produced them. So for me, clay is not much technical and more just – well, let’s try this, and see what happens…

      So I would say, if you are interested, find a good instructor and the rest is all experimentation and practice. I love doing clay work and I find it very energizing. Infinite possibilities.

      As for the glazes, I love the unexpected things that result when glazes are combined. It’s not always possible to predict the outcomes, even with knowledge – each kiln firing is different and variations affect the works in the firing. Clay truly has lots of magic to it, I think!

      I hope you don’t mind this long answer, I am missing the studio a bit, I think.

      1. Judi Castille

        That’s a lovely reply and I love your attitude. It’s like cooking. I never follow a recipe. It’s all feel and experiments with flavours. The fun is not really knowing. At the end of the day you know what your doing and it will be successful but actually with some surprise genius along the way. I didn’t realize there were schedules for the glazes but it makes chemistry sense. I have room for a kiln etc and once the virus over will look for some courses. I want to make ceramic chickens and geese.

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          I think you would enjoy it, clay work, I mean, and you are right, it is like cooking. There are parameters but there is infinite room for your own style and way of working. Many people in my studio class keep notebooks on glaze combos and so on, but I use mine for listing out ideas of things I want to make. No details, maybe a sketch. And then when I get to it it never goes as I planned (I just don’t seem to be able). I would suggest getting a good grounding in the immutable aspects of ceramic work (there are some rules!) and then you will quickly have all you need to make what you want, then it is just practice. I would love to see your chickens and geese!

        2. Judi Castille

          Thanks. It’s a whole new skill for me so hopefully I can find classes when all this virus has been resolved. But I do have a large studio so it might just be online training and trial and error. Fun either way.

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