Fire Creek’s Tile Process
The craftsmanship of your ceramic tiles is done by the work of one artist in a small home studio.
Each step of this process is overseen with care to produce only top quality ceramic tiles that will last a lifetime.
When I complete a design for a tile, I carefully trace it onto a sturdy piece of plastic. I use the plastic with the design to trace again onto a slab of clay using a stylus. Now the carving can begin, my favorite part of the process! I use a variety of tools to get the look I am after; ranging from the tiniest of loop tools to dentistry tools for fine details. They are great for carving away clay from even the tiniest of places. After the carving is complete, the tile is cut to size and a plaster mold is made.
It takes anywhere from 24 hours to a week for the plaster mold to dry, depending on the weather. When the mold is dry, I hand press stoneware clay into the mold. I score the back and stamp it with the Fire Creek Clay Logo. The mold is set aside until the clay releases from the plaster. The tile will easily pop out of the mold and the tile will dry slowly for several days.
Once the tile is bone dry, I will often use semi-moist under glazes to add color to the tile. Semi-moist under glazes are my preferred method because a watercolor effect is easily achieved to give the design depth and intrigue. I also use a wide variety glazes that work well with deep relief tiles. Through this process every tile is unique. The tile will go through its first firing which takes about 15 hours to reach temperature and usually another 15-16 hours before the kiln is cool enough to open.
When the tiles are cool, I hand brush the tile with a glaze and fire again to a high Cone 5. This firing takes about 10 hours to fire and another 10-12 hours until the kiln is cool enough to open. I love to open the kiln after a glaze fire. You will often hear Ceramicist and Potters say that opening a kiln after a glaze firing is like Christmas. Its fun to see the transformation from the dull, unfired glazed pieces to brilliantly colored beautiful tiles.
My process, though lengthy, lends to beautiful, unique and durable hand crafted tiles. I lovingly handle every tile through every step of the process. You will not find a C & C machine here to craft our designs! I hope that each tile helps you decorate your home in a way that is meaningful to you…to help you live in a home that reflects your authentic self!