Travel: Vagabond Adventures Vol.1.3: Ceramics and Expression Art

expression art on ceramic tiles


I got a call from a friend of mine who was inspired by my grace jars, and invited me into creating expression art on ceramic tiles. The last time I had worked with ceramics was high school.  About a month later I left on a train for Indianapolis. To work on my first and largest scale creative arts piece.

I arrived in Indy and was camped out in my friends Brad and Erin’s house. I was using Erin’s kiln and enrolled in the Bricolage Academy of Arts! Coached by Erin I made my first attempts at glazing and firing.

This process, “lends itself to introspection” my friend Pj said. And it did. Moving from expression art on canvas with oil and acrylic I got near instant gratification for what I was creating. With glaze and ceramics, patience and foresight are the virtues. Having about a day and a half to prepare a batch of 30 tiles for one firing, then waiting about 6 hours for it to fire, then an equal amount of time to cool off and slowly open, at first propping up then slowly taking out each layer in hour intervals.

The process was long, and I learned a lot by the many mistakes I made. Perfection had no place in this project. Although professional and aesthetic appeal was strived for, I was in no need of straining blood vessels over a few mistakes.

first batch of ceramic tiles fired

first batch of ceramic tiles fired

The first couple batches turned out dry, and flat. So I problem solved, adding more layers glaze (a lot more glaze!) and taking some pieces aside to use acrylic and enamel and poly-urethane to seal them.

Same Tile Re-fired with More Glaze

Same Tile Re-fired with More Glaze

The future batches were coming out with a bit more pop and dimension but something still wasn’t right. We found out we were firing at a cone 6 and needed to be at a cone 06. It was an accident, about a 400 degree difference! So finding the proper code I plugged away. Still having trouble with the kiln shutting off the next batch came out a bit fried but nonetheless I was finding rhythm. It took awhile but eventually I got about 150 tiles. They were mounted the day after the project was finished in Wynn’s kitchen.

Expression Art on Ceramic Tiles on a Kitchen Back Splash

Expression Art on Ceramic Tiles on a Kitchen Back Splash

Click on Photos to Enlarge!

[Shoot me an email if interested in similar work:].

More Blogs, Videos, and Photos of this journey to come!

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