How tiles are made

How Fire Creek Tiles Are Made

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

carving
Dana carving a new design

It begins with a thought, an inspiration or experience and is carefully drawn into a sketch book, or honestly, a random scrap of paper. Whatever happens to be handy at the moment.  Once the drawing is perfected, the design is traced onto a piece of construction plastic and again traced onto the slab of clay.

Transferring the image to clay

Now it’s time for the best part! With sharp carving tools and tiny loop tools, the smallest of details are meticulously teased from the clay. The two-dimensional sketch comes to life with depth and dimension. When the carving is complete, the original tile design is cast in plaster.  The intricacy and size of the tile determine how long it takes to carve the original tile. It can take a few hours or several days to complete.

Carefully crafted, one tile at a time.

Carving begins…

Depending on the weather, the plaster mold is set to dry for 24 – 48 hours.   When the mold is dry, stoneware clay is pressed into the mold. The back of the tile is scored and stamped 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.  Once the tile has released from the mold, it is set aside on a wire rack to dry slowly.

Tile Process
Pressing clay into the tile mold.

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

Once the tile is bone dry, semi-moist under glazes add color to the tile.  The watercolor affect that is easily achieved with this medium, gives the design depth and intrigue.  Fourteen translucent 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. This takes about 15 hours to reach temperature and another 15-16 hours before the kiln is cool enough to open.

When the tiles are cool, a clear glaze is brushed over the surface and the tiles are loaded back into the kiln.   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.

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. Every piece is meant to bring the joy and serenity of the wild into the home. I want to help you live in a home that reflects your authentic self, contact me today!

2 thoughts on “How Fire Creek 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.
    Rene.

    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!
      Dana
      Fire Creek Clay

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