Monday, July 23, 2012

Tile Trials: The Second Batch (close-ups)

Tile Trials: The Second Batch (close-ups)

Having fired one bunch of transfer decals and found the designs too dark, I created a second, lighter set of transfers.

They looked great before firing - blue and vibrant. But after a night in the kiln (closely following the manufacturer's instructions) I was rather disappointed with what came out - the designs look faded, washed out and grey. Sigh...

There was also an issue with bubbling of the transfers. Probably not from trapped water (I squeezed the buggers to within an inch of their lives to remove any moisture using the old 'rubber kidney'!) but more likely from excessive dabbing with a linty hanky or dust in the room (oops!) - once in the furnace the dust/ lint burnt off, taking the decal design with it. Oh dear...

Cupid toots his whistle

A Vase of Flowers

A Triton or Merman

A Bottle of Sack (Sherry)

A Tattoed Sailor

Towser the Dog

Whale or Leviathan


ElizT said...

Such a lot of work!Good luck with that elusive blue!

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

Interestingly, while the more vivid blues of your 'faux' tiles are very attractive, I think the 'darker' batch of firings works extremely well, and perhaps only displeases you because the colours are not quite as you envisaged. To my eye they look rather fine, and one must sometimes go with the happy accident. Even the grey ones work when you look at them in a certain way. I recall that when inspecting some old Delft in Amsterdam a few years ago, the noticeable aspect was the variety of colours and quality. Some were more vivid than others, and a few were quite pallid. It gave the sense of the tiles being acquired over many years, which I like. Almost a sense of many hands at work too. Your faux tile-making is very successful, and I can understand the need to imprint your identity on these. However to my mind if they were all matching in vibrant colour, it could seem rather 'matched'.

When Meri made the very different tiles for Ty Isaf, I asked her for tin-glaze ware because I wanted that look, and indeed she acquired an electric kiln to make them. However she very intentionally made the tiles in slightly different styles to create the illusion that they were from different hands and periods. While the majority definitely had a quality of slightly insane Delft, she made some with carefully drawn birds that looked as though they were nineteenth century in the style of Walter Crane, and while those tiles are not my favourites, I love the way they subvert the overall effect. Like the famous custom of making errors in the patterns of Persian carpets so they are not 'perfect', I favour a little roughness around the edges. Were I to be tiling a fireplace or kitchen splash-back with your tiles, I know I'd be drawn to acquiring different qualities and tones, so as to avoid that 'too new' quality that would draw the eye in the wrong way. I might even fire up a brazier and submit some to the flame again so there were a few more ruinous ones to really perfect the aged illusion! To me a perfect set of Delft, all matched in vibrant tone, would be a little too startling.

Paul Bommer said...

Thank you both.

Yes, I expect (no, I know) that I am being overly-critical - I didn't like the original dark batch until I'd done the lighter lot and then seen the originals in a new and more favourable light.

Clive, you are very wise and bang on. I agree with all that you say - the handful of books I have garnered on the subject of delftware show a broad variation from the so blue its black to the wimpiest of washed out whispers. And all have their charm. I'm with you on all things matching - in our house nothing does and I prefer it that way - a motley of disparate orphans and wastrels is so much more interesting than a matching and uniform regiment.

Yes only Allah can achieve perfection the muslims say. And the Zen Buddhists point out that 60 % perfect is perfect enough!

I am so grateful for your wonderful insights. Many many thanks

Margaret Brampton said...

I am following your progress with great interest. All that testing! Welcome to the world of pottery. Although there is a grand tradition of transfere ware in pottery ( think Staffordshire blue and white) I imagine that the original Delft tiles were painted free hand using cobalt oxide. That would produce huge variations in the finished result.
I liked the darker tiles for what it's worth but it's such a personal thing.
That testing on the bonfire must be 'extreme' testing. Eventually, with time I expect most tiles will craze.

Paul Bommer said...

Thanks Margaret.

Yes the world of tiles is trials, smiles and more trials.

I'm with you - I also prefer the darker batch myself.