Category Archives: Clay

Whole Lotta Tiny Tiles

In September 2020 I made about 200 tiny tiles to serve as art-drop-off items (if you wonder what I am talking about, I leave art items in the various places I go for people to find. I chronicle these activities on my personal blog, Sometimes You Get So Confused).

Anyway, here is a selection to view. For these tiles, I used low-fire clay, Velvet underglazes, and low-fire glazes, fired at cone 06. I think this combination shows off the sculptural qualities these tiles have.

Clay Creatures

Here are some clay creatures made in September, 2020.

First up, this three-legged insect creature. He’s maybe 8 inches tall or so.

You may remember the puff people I used to make – in the dozens, if not hundreds. Here are a couple, to remind you.

Here is a variation on that theme.

For both of these new creatures, I used sgraffito and scratching techniques as well as using clay stamps I made myself. The eyes in particular were made with a stamp.

How about a drama shot, to end the post?

Clay Cubes

I made these clay cubes in my studio clay class in late winter (early in 2020). They are not boxes, nor are they useful. They are just cube sculpture, about 2-3 inches on each side.

They can be stood on their sides or lie on their backs with the patterns on the upper side. Whatever you like.

Stoneware clay, fired at cone 6, various glazes, early 2020.

Here are some individual shots. I enjoyed making the various raised patterns.

Embossed Tiles

Here are two clay tiles I made in my studio clay class in early 2020.

I rolled out a slab of clay and stamped the various designs into it. These stamps were ones that I had made myself. How did I do that? Well, I formed tiny sculptures with raised or incised patterns on them and then I bisque fired them. Then I could use them to press into clay as I did here.

Some of these stamps were simply tiles, and others resemble cylinder seals of antiquity. To use the latter you roll it along, and it makes a continuous pattern in the clay.

To glaze them, I applied various washes or glazes over one another. Primarily I dip glazed the tiles, rotating them as I put different sections into different glazes. As you may remember, glazes are chemical soups, and combining them is not like combining paints, where you can predict the outcome. Instead, the chemical combination of two glazes can give unexpected and surprising results. Which I like!

Tiny Tiles

These tiles are the end of the work I have to show you that I did at my studio clay class that I attended in fall 2019 and winter 2020.

I made the little people by collaging clay on top of a slab. The small tile was made with one of my personally-created stamps.

Both of these were dip glazed and are done in stoneware clay fired at cone 6. They are about 2 inches each, more or less, in size.

Maybe there will be another clay studio class in my future. Time will tell me that answer to that.

Irregular in Shape Plate

I’ve made quite a few plates in my time. I use a handbuilding technique where I take an existing plate and use it as a form for my own plate.

What you do is grab some newspaper, tear it into strips, and lay it on the plate form (eating side is up, as it would be in use). Spray it to wet the paper. Then lay your slab of clay on to the plate and trim it a bit. Smooth the edges.

You can decorate the clay when it is wet, you can wait until it is greenware dry, or you can bisque fire the new plate and then decorate it. In this case I used stenciling with underglazes and scratching into the clay while the clay was still wet.

Why do you need the strips of paper? So that when the clay dries, and shrinks as it does so, it will not pull itself apart and crack trying to release itself from where it has stuck on to the plate form.

You peel the paper strips off if you like, from the bottom of the new plate, before it is fired, but you don’t have to – they will just burn off in the kiln.

After the new plate was bisque fired, I then dipped it into clear glaze and fired it again. Now, anything that a person might use for food needs to have a glaze. In the case of this plate, I would say a person could utilize it for bread or unpeeled fruit or the like. And don’t put it in the dishwasher or microwave.

But it won’t hold up to heavy use – it is earthenware, or low-fire, clay that I have used here. If you want to eat off a plate as a regular dish, you need to use stoneware clay and fire to a higher temperature to get a good vitrified surface.

Anyway, here is the plate. You may see that when I trimmed the plate as described above, my hand did its usual thing and went wild of the mark. Therefore this place is out of round. Oh well. We all have our quirks.

Clay plate 11-19 stencil view 13

November 2019. Low-fire clay, Velvet underglazes, clear glaze, fired at cone 06.

And some closer views of the decor.


Figurine in Brown and Red-Orange

This lady is about 7 inches or so tall. I like her autumn dress colors and her patient expression.

She was made in October, 2019, raku clay fired at cone 06, Velvet underglazes.

Front and Back, We Are Very Dressed Up

Medium cylinder people in party dress. They look as if they want to break into song.

Terracotta clay, Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06, January, 2020.

Medium Cylinder People, It Is Time For Your Close-Up

The little guys have been waiting since November 2019, when they were made, to get their chance to shine. Here it is.

Figurines about 5-6″ high, low-fire raku clay, colored with Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06, November, 2019.