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Monday, July 1, 2013

Craquelure




Often used by Forgers of Old Master Paintings.

The technique of craquelure  gives new ceramic tile a deliberate and fine pattern of dense cracking. 





It begins with a plain, once fired,  bisque  tile. 
The design is then outlined with Delft blue pigments and colored powder pigments are added.  





At this point I can decide if I want to add a glaze (pink in the picture) which will crackle the tile during the firing process.  Or I can add a glaze which will fuse the color pigments with the glaze to produce the typical hand painted ceramic appearance. 






 My client has chosen a Craquelure finish for her kitchen tiles.  








I have applied three coats of special crackle glaze and fired the tiles  to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is how they look when they come out of the kiln.  You can barely see the crazing.  




Tiles are now treated with a mixture of sepia brown and black India Ink.  The tiles are wiped clean.  











The craquelure  is permanent.  The process of crackling continues for a few more days giving off little cracking sounds and reminding me that they are ready to be sent off to their new home.  






I'm already working on a new project.  A large mural for a kitchen backsplash which features a design from a roll of William Morris wallpaper called "Fruit".  

Wishing you a joyful week, 

Gina  



21 comments:

  1. Dear Gina,

    Craquelure looks like a lot of fun, and must be satisfying to achieve.

    There's a very talented forger living in my area, and his specialty is in copying wealthy client's masterpieces. The forgery then goes on their wall and the original goes in a vault. Doesn't that strike you as a sad way to own art?

    I like the look of your William Morris pomegranates — I hope we get a peek at the final result.

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    1. Dear Mark, Agreed. The only good thing about that collaboration is that the talented forger has an opportunity to make a living. As we both know, artists, talent or no talent, have a tough time of it.
      My new project is not easy. Translating a printed design to hand painted images will never be identical. It has taken me a couple of weeks just to mix the colors. Each time I think that the mixture is just right, they come out of the kiln and look not the way they are supposed to.

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    2. Well, they fit the bill perfectly as I look at them.

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  2. Beautiful tiles, crackled or not!
    I love the idea of the tiles continue to send crackling sounds through the house. ;-)

    Big hug,
    Merisi

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    Replies
    1. Dear Merisi, The crackle sound is no fun at all if you're trying to achieve a perfect finish and you did not deliberately go for the crackle look. They say that all ceramics end up with crazing sooner or later. For my ceramics I'm always hoping for later. ox, Gina

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  3. Dear Gina,
    I love seeing how your tiles are made, and the exciting projects you're working on... I'm wishing my kitchen could be wrapped in your beautiful tiles!!! Someday.... Thank you for sharing this beautiful work!
    Warm regards,
    Erika

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    Replies
    1. Dear Erika, Your kitchen wrapped in tiles? We can fix that. Come out for a weekend and I will show you how. You are a very talented artist. Painting your own tiles will be a piece of cake.
      ox, Gina

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  4. These tiles looks very good. We have such titels in our bathroom.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    Replies
    1. Dear Filip, Thank you for your very nice compliment especially, since you see similar Delft tiles in the country from which they originate.

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  5. My Aunt took me to ceramic's class with her when I was a youngster and I got to use a crackling glaze. There were not all the steps that you go through - or else I have forgotten them! Beautiful tiles. I made a miniature pitcher in a small dish.

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    1. Dear Mary, Maybe you were taught a different process and with different results. Often, we forget. I know that sometimes my students forget because I do so many of the steps for them. I'm always hoping that they will remember.

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  6. Gina, as always your designs and painting of those designs are beautiful. I do love the idea of controlled crackling, and it seems as if you've mastered it very well. Translating Wm Morris designs to tiles seems a natural...although I know you will alter them according to you own fine design sense. I'd never before known that crackling did have its own after-sound. Hoping all that you hear will be as your intended. What a drama!

    xo

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    1. Dear Frances, The Morris assignment will be very interesting. I'm only using certain elements and of course, colors from the original. That was the hardest part of the commission, getting the colors right. Ceramic colors react differently making it necessary to paint numerous sample tiles and then waiting 24 hours to see the firing results. ox, Gina

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  7. Well, I love the craquelure....you know how much I love old and crumbly. I did not know you used india ink as part of the aging. They look lovely.

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    1. Dear Theresa, Other products can be applied to make the crackle patterns stand out. Often, furniture stains with an oil base are used (French). Acrylic paints can be used, or even water mixed with dirt, still they are all permanent. Unless, of course, the stained tiles are re-fired. Then the colorant in the cracks disappears and new stains have to be applied. ox, Gina

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  8. Gina, those tiles are beautiful. Who knew a little crackle and crazing (sort of like wrinkles?) raise the interest level in something already beautiful. How delightful.

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  9. Hello Darlene, It seems silly that we try to "age" newly painted tiles. But for tiles, in particular, the end result is quite pleasing.

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  10. Dear Gina,
    the tiles with the William Morris design turned out beautifully.What a great job! In my mind I am already
    adding curtains, cushions and other elements in the wonderful green tone of the leaves.
    Wishing you happy summer days, Sieglinde

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  11. Dear Sieglinde, It is the leaves that have given me most of the trouble. They are so very dark. They can look very unappealing. The wallpaper will be in the same room. That makes it even more difficult. In other words, I can't cheat.
    I think that decorating with this Morris pattern would be a lot of fun. So many great colors to work with. I can just see you going to work. ox, Gina

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  12. Dear Gina.
    You are so very talented.. I love the craquele.
    The William Morris design is superb.. your client will be thrilled.
    you are working hard Gina.
    I do so much enjoy seeing your work.
    wishing you a happy thursday and 4th of July.
    val x x x

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    Replies
    1. Dear Val, I am so pleased that you have your blog back. You have worked very hard on making it special. It would have been very sad had you not been able to recover it. Happy Blogging. ox, Gina

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