CLAY: Tile Assignment

The Tile Assignment is a process in experimenting with glazes. When I was in pottery classes and then again when I was taught how to teach pottery, I was always told, don’t mix the glazes. But then as I read pottery techniques books and magazines they were always doing these techniques that combined glazes in some ways. I do think of this as a more advanced technique (to really get it to work to your satisfaction) BUT I think experimenting with them also helps the kids to understand how they work. To prepare, we talk about glazes, the chemicals in them, the reactions with heat and why they don’t look the same in the jar as when they come out of the kiln. This concept is really hard for them to grasp until they do it a few times.

So I came up with the Tile Assignment. The theory is that they will understand glazes better and make more informed choices when they paint their choice project. So far the “mixing” or layering has been a great learning tool.

  • They make a basic 6”x 6” tile (slab method)
  • They carve a pre-planned design into the leather hard clay
  • They plan their glazes. They need to pick at least 5 colors including 2 that will be layers experiments.
  • After bisque firing they paint. I explain that mixing for us will really be layering.
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