My tile journey began at the end of last year while I was back home for the holidays, stuck in bed with a cold, and nothing to do but sketch. I started sketching tiny rectangles in a gridded layout with various line designs. The process was more about repetition and seeing how many variations of line designs I could make. I never actually completed the sketch, but the seed was planted and all I needed to do was get back in the studio and let it grow.
January is always a slow month. It's right after the holiday season rush and the beginning of the new year with a chance to explore ideas that were jotted down and tucked away for another day. Once I was back in the studio, I started experimenting with tiny tiles to make my sketch come to life. The idea behind the tile sketch was that it would be this giant wall piece that would cover a wall from floor to ceiling. I wasn't thinking about the logistics of it, just that I knew I wanted to create something like that.
So I began casting solid slabs of porcelain and cutting out rectangles using a cookie cutter. I created templates for different line designs, traced them out on the tiles, and carved them into the surface using a tiny carving tool. The first batch of tiny tiles warped in the kiln. This is part of ceramics. Clay has a memory and any slight movement or bending in a piece that you are trying to keep flat can make it warp during the firings. I began to problem solve this issue over the course of a few months. I decided to make prototypes of the tiles, carve the linework into them, and then make a two-part mold of those prototypes. This method made it easier to cast the tiles solid and dry flat in the mold so that when I open up the mold and removed the tiles they remained flat. Eliminating any bending or warping. This is how all of the tiles in my collection are made now.
The raised details are cast separately and then attached to the surface of the tiles after they are removed from the molds. When you run your hand over them, you can feel the raised pieces juxtaposed with the carved lines. These details are enhanced by the gold accents, a style that is signature to my work. It was important to add these different surface designs to the tiles, creating dimensionality within each grid.
The framed tiled wall pieces are all part of a series of work that takes my original tile idea and breaks it up into smaller accessible pieces that are meant for any space. Each tile is a unique work of art on its own, but when assembled in a grid together they become this larger statement piece. I'm looking forward to adding to this series as my work moves in this direction.