Wednesday, May 19, 2010

tiles, tiles, tiles...

Last summer it happened that I taught a one-on-one week-long workshop, which I thought would be a one time thing.  But it turned out to be a pretty darned good success, and so much fun for me that I decided to offer it this year on purpose.

My first victim ... er, student this season, Ginny, was here this weekend from Atlanta.  Extra fun for me as Ginny and I go back to those days of yore, and she'd just started working in clay again this year after a pretty long hiatus.  

workshopper Ginny, starting with stamps

We officially began the workshop at Echo Gallery, where I'm on duty most Fridays.  It was a perfect setting to get into the mood for creating textures on clay, as there are many visual and tactile textures to be found in the current exhibit of work by both gallery members and our current guests for the "Threads" exhibit, in clay, painting, textiles, photography and more.  If you haven't been out to see it - you've got another few weeks so get going!

 making stamps for texturing tiles

Ginny's project goal was to make tiles to cover three small mirrors she brought along, so Friday's clay work was to make stamps we could use on Saturday to decorate those tiles.  I made a new stamp of my cone flower for my own new tile tests as well.

more texture, courtesy of a doily

Saturday we had a full day in the studio, slabbing clay, impressing textures and cutting tiles.  We took a mid-afternoon break for lunch downtown so we could check out the crowd at Fanaticon, swung by the Chocolate Lounge and then back to West Asheville to see all the lovely bird houses and lawn art laid out for Bountiful Cities' annual Birdhouse Auction (off-topic shout out to friend Melissa Weiss who won first prize for her birdhouse entry - it rocked!).  Then it was back to the studio to clean up the tiles and prep them to dry out some more.

planning the layout

Sunday morning, Ginny laid out her design on the mirrors and then carefully numbered them - she's got lots of extra tiles which will be great for glaze testing when she gets back to Atlanta.  I can't wait to see what else she does with all the new information she sucked up this weekend - even though we only made tiles for this one project, we talked about various firing techniques, other decoration techniques and she picked up a new book on making and installing tiles.  Watch out Atlanta!  I'll send her the bisque fired tiles, and she's promised to send pictures of the finished project, so check back for that.

coneflower accent tiles

And because I teach to learn myself, I also got to play around with some ideas that have been swimming around in my head waiting for a spare minute to spill out.  I only took a picture of the first series, so stay tuned for more (and I'll be making another one of these cone flower stamps for Ginny so I don't have to say goodbye to this one after the bisque)!

extra prezzie for the dishwasher...

I also slipped the back of a platter to show Ginny some sgrafitto carving, and just couldn't stop once I got going ...

Thanks Ginny for coming up and motivating such a fun weekend - can't wait for us both to share the finished tiles we each started (and for more of your great brainstorming on behalf of my business)!

And now back to the regularly scheduled programming... the studio's (mostly) put back in order, and after a slight delay, pots are in the finishing stages of decoration and glazing and will fire tomorrow.  But I'll be thinking about more tile designs myself, and making notes for the next workshop fun ... more tiles with Lisa in July!

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