search  current discussion  categories  forms - tiles 

test tiles: for pots, tiles, murals...

updated wed 10 nov 04


terry sullivan on mon 8 nov 04

Though Mel San seems mostly correct when referring to testing glazes for
pots and his admonition to keep it simple and explore a few glazes very
thoroughly; I think that is only part of the picture.

What if you are testing for glazes to use just on tiles, or for ceramic
murals. Then you need to do tons of test tiles to develop a pallet.
Ask Linda Blossom about test tiles and what to do with them.

The ceramic muralist or architectural ceramist needs to have a wide
range of choose for color etc. They can't just settle on five glazes no
more than a artist working in oils would settle for five colors.

Could Paul Lewing do what he does so well with a handful of glaze colors
? no way.

So it depends on what you are doing with clay and glaze.

Some tile / mural / architectural ceramists I know make test tiles with
lots of relief and keep very accurate records of each tile and each
firing. They keep the ones that they like and mount them on a vertical
carpeted board. The tiles have a piece of velcro "hook" stuck to the
tile and it can be simply stuck to the carpet board. Each tile is
numbered and may have additional info on the back. With 2" x 2" tiles,
one can have quite a lot of tiles stuck to a 2 ft. x 4 ft. board all
arranged in the order one prefers. Like color range etc.

They only have to look up at the board to see where the color desired is
and check that tile and their records for the needed glaze (s).

We are far from all potters on this list. Even among the potters, many
don't just want to use only a few glazes that we know very well, or fire
kilns often with tons of pots in each firing.
Heck, some folks just like experimenting and playing around with
different glazes. Nothing wrong with that.
We are not all full time potters striving to make a living from our
functional work.

The vocation in ceramics and the play in ceramics is embraced by this
group. No right way for us all for sure. Many ways that suit many
different reasons for working with clay.

Terry Sullivan
Nottingham Center for the Arts
San Marcos, CA
Respond personally to: (
will receive posts to clayart only).

Ivor and Olive Lewis on tue 9 nov 04

People who think in terms of limitations to the ceramic palette should
look at the things done by the great ceramic manufactures, for example
Yes, a lot can be done with two colours if you work the other design
elements to your advantage. But it is always horses for courses.
Dogmatic statements lead to communal dissension .
Best regards.
Ivor Lewis.
S. Australia.