There’s a wall in the studio that, over the years, has been slowly covered with tiles made by various studio users. At one point, a summer student also added a large section of broken pottery bits. But it was all sort of piecemeal and wasn’t even grouted, so that section had been sad and ugly-looking for a long time, until finally something snapped and the co-ordinator took the ugly bits off with a hammer.

It’s now considerably uglier, of course… but can now be improved upon with actual tiles, made by students and volunteers and anybody who wants to leave a little mark. So last night I sat down with some underglazes and stains and slips, and tried to make some interesting tiles.

I had a slight fit of sepia…

… and also wanted to try and get some practice with the glaze pen. This is a little narrative, Poppet and Robot, that I was considering putting together a while ago. I didn’t end up doing it, because while Robot is my own character, Poppet is someone else’s. And Poppet refused to get out of my story and be replaced by some other critter, so… it’s kinda hard to make money off Poppet and Robot. But there’s no reason fanart can’t be put on a community studio wall, right?

All I could hear when the flow from the glaze pen got wonky was Yoda’s voice. “Control, control! You must learn control!”

Then it all just got silly, with the viking ship and rubber duckie tile from the last post. And another one about bears and houses. And there are two that will just be random splashes of colour.

Fun With Underglaze

Here’s the first draft of the tourist mugs, fresh out of the kiln:

If I want them to sell, I should probably stop calling them that.

White clay, painted with underglaze, and dipped in clear glaze. The black outline was done using a glaze pen, which is a neato-cool contraption not dissimilar to a white-out pen: convenient in theory, but kinda tricky to use in practice… The mug on the left had the outline added at the greenware stage. The pen kept biting into the clay, gouging the surface and gumming up its own insides; it’s why the lines are so untidy. For the mug on the right, I didn’t even try using the pen until the clay had been bisqued. The harder clay kept the pen from gumming itself up or messing up the surface, and allowed me to get much nicer lines (if also producing a sound very much like fingernails on a blackboard). A little more practice, and I might get the hang of the thing.

Or I could, y’know, learn to use a paintbrush. But I’m crap with paintbrushes. See?