Tile Mural Project - Part 2

CUTTING THE PIECES

Because I'm fitting this project in between everything else I'm doing these days, I only cut a few clay pieces each day. It's a small, intimate, almost childish activity -- not really that far removed from simply pounding out Play Doh on a kitchen table and carving it up with a butter knife.

The clay is rolled out between two slats of wood on a pillowcase, using a kitchen rolling pin.

The clay is rolled out between two slats of wood on a pillowcase, using a kitchen rolling pin.

The next step is to flip the pieces over, using two pieces of sheetrock, because once rolled out it can never be touched directly with the hands until the clay is dry. On the back, I inscribe the number of each piece as well as some grooves to help the tile grip the mortar.

Here they are, face down on a chunk of wallboard near my wood stove.

Here they are, face down on a chunk of wallboard near my wood stove.

Finally, when they're more or less dry, I flip them over. They're lovely and chalky, a pure white. This is a porcelain clay that fires at stoneware temperatures, and it has beautiful working qualities.

This is a different set of tiles than the previous photos showed, obviously.

This is a different set of tiles than the previous photos showed, obviously.

On a table in my studio.

On a table in my studio.

Mostly I've got the tiles laid out on the studio floor, since there are so many of them, but the photo I have handy is this one of a few tidily set on this little table.