Wall hanging tiles are a new part of the Magic Box project that we have been working on. Like the house, the mold was made for this in July. This mold was designed by Gabe and is intended to mimic gallery wrapped canvas. The piece is large (16″x15″x2″) and was constructed initially from wood wrapped in a heavy burlap. The top pic shows Gabe taking the mold apart after the plaster was poured. The piece by piece construction allowed the box to be removed cleanly without damaging the plaster. The second shows the finished piece. Once the mold was dry, we were ready to press. The first slabs for this were 3/8″ and weighed about 15 lbs. This weight was usually enough to build the supports from as well, provided the slab was well-shaped before pressing. The photo of the finished tile really shows off the texture. The initial rules of the press have changed quite a bit as we have made several. The piece is very large for slab work and has major problems with cracking. We have adjusted the support structure, slab depth, dry times, clay bodies and added a waster slab. In spite of all these adjustments, cracking is still a major problem for these pieces.
In addition to the technical exploration I have tried several finishing methods for the surfaces, depending on the image and the condition of the tile. The first series depicts images taken from The Magic Box film, These images originated as screen shots and then were translated into paintings or transfers through various methods.
These four pictures show the screen shot after photo manipulation and then the finished image on tile. These were rendered in oxide and glaze. This was difficult to control saturation and color gradient and was not attempted again.
The other major technique used in the first series was a more graphic approach that relied on decals and glaze effects. I really love these, in part because they work with the cracking a bit better than the heavily image dependent tiles. This graphic approach also relies less on images from the film. Only the house image here is taken directly from the film. The other two tiles are more descriptive of the development of the characters depicted.
The second series saw further development of both the technical clay and surfacing techniques. The tile above was too badly cracked to glaze fire and so was epoxides and paint finished. The process of painting ceramic always starts with spray paint for us, the first image shows the tile masked off and the second, the protected drawing after the mask was removed. The last two are the paint in process.
The last two tiles combine the techniques used in the first series but rather than oxides, I used commercial underglazes for building the image. These have a painterly quality that I am interested in, but might benefit from more color. The series is ongoing, and will likely continue to evolve.