Friday, September 2, 2011

setting the tiles

small unglazed strips used for spacing
vinyl mastic on the top of the coffee table

tiles are set into the mastic
each tile is numbered

Pat checks the spacing for each tile

After all of the tiles were fired, my friend, Pat Ligibel, came over to help me set them onto the table top (see the previous post).  We used a vinyl mastic that's appropriate for tiles in this setting.  First, we laid out the exact number of tiles, and checked that the spacing was adequate.  Pat suggested that I had the tiles too close together, so we eliminated the thin outer edge spacers, and rearranged the tiles, again.  Then we carefully removed the tiles, placing them in order onto the canvas work top.  The plywood coffee table top was then elevated onto the work table, and covered with a thin coat of the vinyl mastic.  Then we started with the outer edge (bull nosed) tiles, buttering the back, unglazed area of each tile and pressing it into the mastic on the table top.  After the edge tiles, the center 4 by 4's were buttered and adhered (each tile had been numbered after the bisque, and before the waxing of the tile proceeding the glazing). Filler strips and little tiny squares were added last.  Now the top has been drying for several days. When it's completely set up, I'' put the top onto the base and we will grout it----

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

another table!

the tiles for the table, laying out on the actual surface
 I'm putting together another table--this one is an order from a good customer who already has had me redo another round table, similar in decoration to this one, and has asked for a re-working of one of her coffee tables.  I took off the existing top, and had a baltic birch piece of 4/3" plywood cut for me, at Toledo Plywood.  Then I painted it, top and bottom, with a latex black.  I'll mastic the tiles onto the table with a vinyl product.
The tiles are cut with a 4" by 4" tile cutter (see previous blog entry:) and dried, flat, between sheets of gypsum board.  They are laid out, after bisquing and glazing, in the form of the table, and then decorated.  Edge tiles were extruded, and cut with the same tile cutter.  I need to decorate and fire more of the little strips before I can glue the tiles down (b.)
(b.) black areas are the underlying board; I'll need to make more of the strips

(d.) extra leaves

(c.) leaves, instead of a tile, for interest

(f.) little spacer tiles and unglazed strips

(e.) egg crate, from fluorescent lights: the template for the little square tiles
Here and there, to break up some of the 4-squaredness, I try out the insertion of some of the leaves(c.) which I make and save for tile projects (d.)  I also press clay into 'egg crate--the plastic 'screen' (e.) which covers a fluorescent fixture.  As the clay dries, the little squares drop out.  I bisque them all together in a bowl, and then wax and dip each one into the glaze.  Then, with tiny brushes, I decorate the top.  It reminds me of tiny petit-four cakes. (f.) The unglazed strips are the cut-offs from the 6 by 6" tiles,which are too big to fit into a commercially made wooden frame.  I have to cut 1/4" strips off of each side.  If I can keep these strips straight, then I can use them for fill-in strips when a glazed thin tile would be too wide.