I have made clay tiles with students from elementary to college level.
Clay is a wonderfully responsive medium. A slab of clay can be cut into
any shape and have additional pieces added on top of it.
The process I follow is: a design is decided upon, a pattern is made,
slabs of clay are rolled out with a slab roller (clay can be rolled out
with a rolling pen - put two strips of wood on either side of the slab to
get a consistent width), lay the design on top of slab and trace off or cut
out (clay can be cut with a toothpick). You want to bend the clay pieces
as little as possible. I put the clay pieces between pieces of sheetrock
overnight. The sheetrock is cut into 2' x 2' squares. These are easy to
handle and stack. If no additions have been put on top of the tiles then
the sheetrock is stacked about five or six high. If additions are put on
the clay then I usually just put one piece of sheetrock on the tile.
Next the sides and top of the tiles are wiped smooth with a sponge and
placed back between the sheetrock. I use Styrofoam plates to hand the tiles
to students. The next step is to layout the design and number the backs of
the tiles. The first row would be 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, etc. The row next to it
would be 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, etc. The clay tiles are now ready to paint with
engobes or underglazes. Caution students to not pick up the tiles or
handle them more than necessary.
Next the tiles are bisque fired. I have tile setters for my kilns. I
don't recommend stacking painted tiles during the firing. Glaze is either
poured or painted on.
I hope this helps some of you that are thinking about doing clay tiles in
your classroom. I've enjoyed reading the posts but have not been able to
post myself. I'm using an address that one of you so nicely posted - I
trust it will work! :')
Clay and Multi-media Arkansas Artist-in-Education