An old Moorish/Arab technique which is a ceramic version of batik in which hot wax and manganese dioxide are drawn directly onto the unglazed tiles to produce bold and energetic outlines. These lines then create a resistant barrier to glazes in the next firing allowing many different coloured glazes to be used alongside each other without undue spreading or running into each other.
A clay slip designed to stick to bisque tiles is piped [like cake icing] onto unglazed tiles to produce outlines, or compartments; these tiles are then fired. Next glazes are applied to this surface, using the compartments and the tiles fired a second time to complete the process.
Also known as 'delft', or majolica, the liquid glaze has an opacifier e.g. tin oxide, added to an otherwise transparent glaze to make it white and opaque [other materials can be added to produce various off white tints). This glaze is poured over the tiles and allowed to dry. The unfired powdery surface is then painted by hand using mixtures of oxides and glaze stains: copper for green, cobalt for blue, manganese for purple/ pink/brown etc. The chemical make-up of the underlying glaze can further vary the colours e.g. copper can be made to produce brilliant turquoise as opposed to a deep green. After decorating, the tiles are fired fixing the colours and the white glaze permanently.
This technique uses the same glaze and oxides, or stains as tin glaze but here the colour is applied using specially cut sponges to print directly onto the unfired glaze surface. This enables a pattern to be built up that is usually bolder and freer in quality than when stencils are used.
Tiles can be glazed with translucent, or opaque glazes. Some colours can only be made using particular recipes; for example alkali crackle glazes produce spectacular turquoises and rich blues. Plain colours look quite different depending on thickness of glaze, stength of colour and how they are applied to the tile - poured on, or brushed [in one direction, or randomly in different directions, Typically on standard white bisque tiles- 153mm. 6", and 99mm. 4", or on individually handmade clay tiles. Larger quantities need a generous run in period to produce. N.B. Matching other producers existing tiles is extremely difficult, usually very expensive [testing recipes is time consuming], and sometimes sadly impossible!
Techniques used on clay.
Hand made clay tiles
Made in a variety of naturally coloured clays and sizes. They can be decorated using roulettes and plaster stamps, or sponges with coloured clay slips and stencils in a random way, to produce a range of pattern, textures and colours. These hand made tiles are slowly dried out over several weeks to prevent cracking before bisque firing. The ceramic tiles can then be decorated with cuerda seca and /or glaze as wanted and refired, or simply treated with a tile sealant for a matt finish. As low-fired earthenware they are best used on internal walls in the U.K. With these tiles Bronwyn has put intentional emphasis on the qualities of hand making to produce variety in texture pattern and colour. No two of these hand made tiles will be the same and characteristics will further vary from bath to batch, so please order enough at any one time for the whole job!
These panels are made from a variety of clays, created for exhibition and occasionally to commission -The nature of the creative process of making means that that initial drawings are only the starting point of these pieces, which will develop their form and character and composition only during the making process, an often surprising metamorphosis into the final sculpture.
These ceramic sculptures range from a small clay panel to substantial pieces. The majority are made in sections designed to be hung like pictures and easily moved and may be hollowed out to cut down the weight, or they can be built permanently into the wall in question. Individual segments, or tiles range from 200mm - 600mm across. The surface is handled in a variety of ways with coloured clay slips, stencilled, tube lined, brushed or sprayed on, with rouletting or sponging. These sculptural clay panels are dried out extremely slowly to prevent breakage before firing. Cuerda seca (manganese wax resist technique) outlines may be applied, the clay panel can be partially, or wholly glazed before being fired again, possibly several times. It is a gradual process. To achieve the rich warm colours of these ceramic sculptures they are fired at earthenware temperatures up to 1020°c. However, since this is not high enough to vitrify the clay body these pieces are suitable interiors only and not for exposed exterior sites, or walls in the British climate where they could be damaged by weather.
(Click ceramic sculpture button at top for individual pieces for sale).