Each step of this process is overseen with care to craft top quality ceramic tiles that will last a lifetime.

Artist carving a new ceramic tile.
Dana carving a new design

How Fire Creek handmade tiles are made…. let me tell you! I start with a thought, an inspiration or experience that I carefully draw into a sketchbook, or honestly, a random scrap of paper. Whatever happens to be handy at the moment.  I perfect the drawing, and trace the design onto a piece of construction plastic. I again trace the design onto the slab of clay.

Artist transferring the design onto the clay before carving.
Transferring the image to clay

Now it’s time for the best part! A sharp carving tool and tiny loop tools allow me to meticulously tease the tiniest of details from the clay. The two-dimensional sketch comes to life with depth and dimension. Once the carving is complete, I cast the original tile in plaster. The intricacy and size of the tile determine how long it takes to carve the original tile and it can take a few hours or several days to complete.

Carefully crafted, one tile at a time. That’s how handmade tile is made…

Outlining the design in the clay to start carving.
Carving begins…

The plaster molds dries for 24-48 hours and when the mold is dry, stoneware clay is pressed into the mold. I score the back of each tile and stamp it with the Fire Creek logo. The mold is set aside while the plaster pulls moisture from the clay. This allows the tile to release easily from the plaster.  Now out of the mold, the tile dries slowly on a wire rack.

Artist pressing clay into a plaster tile mold
Pressing clay into the tile mold.

Fire Creek handmade tiles are suitable for installation anywhere in your home.

Once the tile is bone dry, semi-moist under glazes add color to the tile. I use this medium to give Fire Creek tiles a watercolor affect and gives the tile depth and intrigue. Five glazes are also available in the studio. These glazes pool and puddle in the texture of the design, adding more depth and dimension. Through this process every tile is unique.  The tile will go through its first firing and this takes about 15 hours to reach temperature and another 15-16 hours before the kiln is cool enough to open.

Now out of the kiln and cool, the tiles get a good coat of clear glaze and put back into the kiln for one more firing.  This firing takes about 10 hours to fire and another 10-12 hours until the kiln is cool enough to open.  Opening a glaze fired load is like Christmas.   It’s fun to see the transformation from the dull, unfired glazed pieces to brilliantly colored beautiful tiles.

Fire Creek tile brings joy and serenity of the wild into your home.

As you can see, the Fire Creek tile process, though lengthy, lends to beautiful, unique and durable hand-crafted tiles. It can take 6-8 weeks from drawing the design to a completed tile. The artist lovingly handles each tile through every step of the process.  You will not find a C & C machine here to craft Fire Creek designs!

The hope is that each piece ignites a wonder of nature and encourages curiosity of the natural world. Fire Creek tile brings joy and serenity of the wild into your home. I want to help you live in a home that reflects your authentic self, contact me today!

2 Replies to “How Fire Creek handmade tiles are made”

  1. How do the tiles get applied to existing back splash ( above stove) ?
    Do you know someone who will put them on?
    Do you go to homes to compare the colors of the existing tile to see if the colors match? I only need 3 of the Artflowers.

    1. Hello Rene!
      Fire Creek tiles can be applied the same as any other ceramic tile. I do not currently have a list of contractors who would install my tile. However, any contractor who is familiar with tile will be able to install Fire Creek tiles. I would be happy to provide samples for you so that can be sure that the glaze is perfect for your home. Please feel free to email me (dana@firecreekclay.com) or give me a call at (208) 941-7460. I would love to work with you to get you the look you are after for your home! I look forward to chatting with you!
      Fire Creek Clay

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