I use three different processes to make tiles. The process that I use the most is running a slab of clay through my old fashion etching press with a plate that has a design or plant on it. The plate is usually a matte board with a cut-out design glued to it. Other plate methods use a copperplate etching or engraving, or a blank matte board that a plant is laid onto.
A second way I make tiles is to impress clay into a plastermold that I have made from a original. This is how most of traditional tile makers have made tiles.
Yet a third way is to impress stamps that I have made into the surface of a slab. Usually, I use stamps on the back of my tiles to make the back look more interesting. Occassionally, I’ll put a fish stamp on the front corner of one of the plant impressions as a sort of “chop” mark, an identifying symbol used by printmakers and potters on their work.
The bulk of my work is the cut-out designs on matte board. I use 140 lb cotton rag etching paper for the cut-outs. The negative space of the cut out is gesso-glued onto the matte board, and when the plate is pressed into clay, raised lines are created that help keep the different colored glazes separate. I mix my own glazes that I read about in books and magazines, and sometimes the recipe has to be altered slightly to work on my clay body.
The clay I use is a mix of the local Cook Inlet glacial clay found in the mud flats next to Anchorage and various other ingredients. I’ll keep my recipe to myself, but one can find plenty of recipes on line and just replace the local clay with whatever clay you have available.
I fire to cone 6 in an electric kiln.