August 15, 2013

Old Tiles Brought out to Online Light

While friends from Charleston were visiting, I sought to entertain them with my mosaic masks that double as functioning ocarinas. I found two of the ones I was looking for. But my foraging around also turned up a group of handmade tiles that I had created in the autumn of 2011. I had made them just as I was becoming very sick yet was still able to work. Although I did put the tiles in the Orangeburg County Fair a year later, they never were feted on the internet because I was offline for about 18 months during the worst phase of my illness.

So today I decided to put this small set of tiles on my website,

The tiles were made on free form red earthenware clay that was repeatedly pressed flat then sun dried. They were originally meant to be used for my student’s work on Pre Columbian art in a Spanish Camp course I had taught that summer. Time had run out just as we had finished our pit fired pottery and so we never get to the tiles. A few months later, not wanting them to go to waste, I broke open the small box of unused tiles back home and decorated them. I first used black and white engobes, then etched out sgraffito lines to help delineate the forms. After finishing a number of them in black and white with red lines, I experimented with adding colors. After firing them, I found that the red earthenware clay body showed through the parts of the colors where the white engobe was thin. This created a subtle tonality that I liked. The tones of the color tiles especially reminded me of faded antique tapestry.

The motifs I used on my tiles were inspired mostly by the flora of nature; fruits, leaves, flowers and seed pods. Two of these are shown here - loosely based on pomegranates. So here the tiles are again...a few years old but new to the net.

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