I Made all the tiles for this fireplace, the art tiles and the field tiles. It looks awesome! The size of the field tiles are 2″x 2″, 2″x 4″, 4″x 4″, 4″x 6″, 6″x 6″, and 4″x 8″. There are four different glazes. I used the clay from the mudflats next to Anchorage to make a good tile clay body.
This is one of several new designs for this summer season.
I like the eyes of the otter, so the new seal and fox designs might be reworked to have similar eyes. The x-ray style, common among the Alaskan Coastal peoples, is hinted at with the inclusion of the red ribs
This is what the paper cut outs look like before the pieces are separated and glued onto a matte board plate. The plate is impressed into clay to make the tiles.
Had to post one picture from our trek across Northern Spain.
Now back to tile stuff. Sold tiles at the Moravian Tile Festival May 18 & 19 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and then at the 57th Street Fair June 1 & 2 in Chicago. I will be in the Gold Coast arts & crafts fare in Chicago June 29 & 30. Made a new mammoth tile design which I’ll post next. Sold three 12″ tiles to the Alaska State Council of the Arts for their art lending library (don’t know what else to call it). My inventory is getting low, I can’t keep up, and now I have several orders for groups of tiles. I plan to post a tile related item at least once a week.
The last few posts had blurry pictures. I cleaned the lens on the iphone and this picture looks better. Anyway, This is a partial cut out of the 140 lb. cotton rag paper that will be used to make a plate. A collagraph plate is a printmaking term for a process where you just glue stuff to a stiff surface and then use it as a plate. I use a light table to transfer the initial drawing onto the 140 lb paper and then to cut the images out. Notice the “Arches Huile France” water mark on the lower left side of the paper. The plate is thirteen-inches square so that the final fired size of the tile will be twelve-inches after shrinkage. The fish with the zigzags are chum salmon, the fish below are white fish. The smaller caribou make up the upper edge of a birch bark basket.
I can’t complain about 2012! I love to travel and got to go a lot of places. Went to Chicago, Fairbanks, and Seattle for tile related shows. Then Seattle again for a ceramics conference. I Went once again to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland Oregon for an end-of-season vacation. And the big one was when me and my sweetheart went to Spain and Portugal.
Tile sales slacked a bit compared to 2011, but I had two winter commissions that more than made up for sagging sales. As a side note to running an art business, I attended a workshop on how to do better on the business side of art, like pricing work, and projecting a friendlier, attentive demeanor when selling at arts & crafts fairs. It was put together for Alaskan Native artists by the First Peoples Fund; they help out indiginous artists internationally when it comes to the business aspect of living the life of an artist.
Thess two 4″x 6″ fireweed plant impressions were made for the Seattle tile show held on November 3. I made a lot of plant and flower impressions given that the event theme was plant related, but more of my figurative designs sold than plant impressions. Sales were much better than last year. I experimented with applying glaze up to the edge of the plant and leaving the flower and leaves bare.
We stayed at my girlfriend’s sister’s place about 3-4 miles away from the UW campus. The trees still had leaves, not like here in Anchorage where every tree is bare now, and the colors were awesome. Went to the King Tut exhibit near the space needle, and that was cool. I had seen the original solid gold coffin in Egypt when I was a youngster travelling with my Dad who developed water resources wherever water was needed.
Since I mentioned my Dad, we are going to do the Camino De Santiago next April. It is a 500 mile hike across northern Spain, a route pilgrims have followed for about 1200 years. He is 82 years old but still in great shape. We hiked 26 miles on the Crow Creek Pass trail near Anchorage, through the mountains and next to a glacier when he as 79, and I could barely keep up with him.
Nine 4″ plant impressions, two 8″ copperplate etchings, and a bunch of cookie cutter fish with stamps and words. These bisqued fired tiles are about to be sprayed with a high calcium semimatte clear glaze. The fire schedule for a clear semimatte glaze requires a fairly fast cool down so that the glaze doesn’t become milky or fogged up. The dark look of the plant impressions will be somewhat absorbed into the glaze and the finished tile will look lighter. These tiles are for selling at the Alaska Natives Federation (AFN) convention in Anchorage and it is my best show of the year. You can find tons of Alaska native arts and crafts there.
I use four different scheduled firings for the four main glaze processes:
1) clear high calcium semimatte,
2) crystalline glaze,
3) opaque multiglazed,
4) double glaze with a strontium carbinate under a second glaze.
Bald Eagle, Six Sq. Inch, $75
Collagraph printed, multiglazed, cone 6 oxidation. Cook Inlet glacial clay.
I see a bald eagle about once a month. They like hanging out at small lakes where ducks are found. The lake inlets usually remain unfrozen but the area gets small and the concentration of ducks attracts predators. During salmon season, scores of bald eagles can be seen along some rivers.
Fur Rondy starts the end of this month. It’s a winter get together around the start of the Iditarod sled dog race. I like to have some new designs to sell, so the previous post’s raven, this post’s eagle, and next post’s tundra swan were made for the Rondy. One of the local malls hosts Alaska native artist from all over the state where all kinds of traditional and contempory native arts and crafts can be sold.
Six-Inch Multiglazed, Collagraph Printed Raven, $75
Photos of a raven collagraph plate, two raven tiles, and the back side of one of the tiles. On the “back side” photo, you can see my name at the top, and underneath is “Silver Hand Artist”, which means I’m registered with the state of Alaska as an Alaskan Native Artist. The tile was printed on January 17, 2012. The five stamps are decoration, but a couple hundred years from now, people will think it’s some kind of code. “Cook Inlet Glacier Clay” means that the main clay in the tile body is from the mud flats next to Anchorage, Alaska. “Vitrified” means that it is fused and has less than 1/2 percent water absorbtion, so it is similar to porcelain in that respect.
I like doing different color combinations; though some designs will settle down in one or two versions over time. I mixed a new glaze called “floating green” that is used for the bottom ground in one of the tiles. I like developing new glazes. I mix my own, usually from recipes in books or on-line. Some glazes need a bit of tweaking before they work on the local clay.
The collagraph plate that was used to print the raven tile is made of 140 lb. etching paper and matte board. It is coated with gesso and acrylic matte medium.
Plate used to print wolves tile constructed of matte board and 140 lb. cotton rag etching paper. Glued together with gesso and coated with acrylic medium. The plate is good for 100 or so printings. The tiles I print with the plate are therefore a limited edition, handpulled print, but without numbering, and of course on clay instead of paper. They are more valuable than any machine made, mass produced pseudo art tile. The etching paper is the negative space on the plate and the recessed line on the plate creates a raised, printed black line on the clay. I wax the black line and that keeps the different glazes separate in the final firing. The constant wiping with the tarleton cloth slowly wears away the acrylic medium and eventually the gesso. You can see the greying of the edges and smaller areas where the ink is starting to stain the underlying paper. This six-inch design has more color glazes than other designs, it can have ten or more glazes.
Six-inch Dragonfly, $75
Contrary to popular belief, the mosquito is not Alaska’s state insect. That would be the four spotted skimmer dragonfly. The four spots are on the leading edge of the wings. They get fairly large, four to six-inch wing span. Once when I was selling tiles at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a dragonfly landed on one of the dragonfly tiles. That was cool. Later in the summer, I was telling another artist about the incident and wouldn’t you know it, but a dragonfly landed on my shoulder. It was close to my ear and it startled the bejezzers out of me. Anyway, it is a great story to tell visitors interested in the design, and I feel there is more to the incident than mere coincidence, sort of like nature saying, “nice tile”. I’ve seen dragonfly designs in the magazine “American Bungalow” and the design of my tile does have an arts & crafts feel to it.