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stoneware tiles for a terrace in n. h.

updated sun 13 mar 05


Teresa Taylor on sat 12 mar 05

I created 8 inch square stoneware tiles for steps leading into my studio =
two winters ago. I used a 50/50 mixture of gerstley borate and burnt =
umber that I washed over the heavily textured and carved surfaces. I =
chose not to use a glaze, because I didn't want the surface to be =
slippery. I installed them in weather-proofed wood frames that were =
bedded with sand. They have survived beautifully through our very cold =
and snowy winters in NH, until today, when brushing away some snow(yet, =
another nor'easter), the top surface of one tile chipped away in thin =
sheets(somewhat like what terra cotta will do in wet, freezing =
temperatures). The clay I used is a high fire gray stoneware with zero =
percent absorption at cone 10.=20
Admittedly, I fired these tiles in the cooler part of my kiln, so they =
may have only been fired to cone 8.
I have been asked to create an outdoor terrace using these tiles with =
this color wash and was all set to do so, until I noticed this flaw in =
one of the tiles.=20
I will contact my clay supplier and speak with their technician about =
this problem, but, I'm wondering if any of you have experience with clay =
for tiles in exterior situations where extreme winter conditions exist?=20
What are your thoughts and recommendations?=20
Do I need to use a glaze to seal the tile or simply be sure that these =
tiles are fired to cone 10 for total vitrification?=20
Would it also be possible to use some solution from a commercial tile =
supplier that would waterproof the surface, without adding sheen or a =
slippery surface.=20
There is a strong appeal for this earthy wash on the raw clay.
Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
Teresa Taylor
Salty Dog Pottery
Barnstead, NH