Murals and Applied Arts

Murals and Applied ArtsHand-made Ceramic Tiles

The students will learn to create low relief tiles.

They will learn the difference between flat two-dimensional  painted tiles and sculptural relief tiles, and how to transform a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional tile.

They start from scratch and the workshop provides a total ceramic art experience.  This is not about painting on some premade flat tiles. Each student in the class will be responsible for creating their own individual tile, painting it and preparing it for the first firing. Each student’s tile is treated as a single work of art that will be part of a larger whole; assembled to create a large scale mural.

A site will need to be chosen that is suitable for the instalation.  I will look do a site review, along with building supervisors/engineers who will address any concerns its position and safety.

Murals and Applied ArtsThere are many subjects and imagery of which I can assist. Subjects may include those as varied as Greek history/art as a subject, Native American, the rain forest, or themes that relate to a current condition in our world.

A rain forest theme could incorporate science and social studies/geography curricual to address what one might find a rain forest, as well as the political issues that surround its most important ecology.

The Native American tile mural is a powerful theme that embraces a respect for nature and how their rich geometric patterns and symbols became an integral part of the art and culture. It will make an impact as a visual statement for a mural. Scale drawing will be drafted, and each student will sign the place where their individual tile will placed and installed. This is a way of owning and committing to their space on the wall.  I will be making all the wet tiles in my studio and transporting them to the school for the actual hand building event.

Program Structure

Day One

Students will be exposed to images and patterns and symbols in the form of line drawings and photographs. They will have some time to design and draw their own as well as work from the existing symbols of the chosen theme. There will be various categories of images that they can choose from animals, people, designs, images.  They will have to pick and chose the ones that they will use to create their own story.   Patterns will be used to create borders around the tiles that they carve and paint onto the clay tiles.

I will be making all the wet tiles in my studio and transporting them to the school for the event

Day Two

Students will then learn and be responsible for transferring their two-dimensional visual idea or one that already exists onto a 6 inch x 6 inch clay tile using carving, coiling techniques and hand building techniques to create the raised relief effect.

Day Three

We use colored clay slips to hand-paint and highlight the various detailed areas of the images, symbols, and patterns.  This will allow for a one firing process with the glaze coat on top.  (Sometimes this step can be accomplished by an  arts teacher, if funding is an issue.)  I will always include a paint deomonstraion so the students know what to expect.

Writing poetry could be incorporated into the mural to fulfill  a literary element to the project.

Firing – The Arts teacher can then just apply a coat of clear glaze onto all the tiles and fire in the kiln. I will not need to be present for this step.  I will instruct them and oversee this process.  If you do not have a kiln then they will need to be transported to my studio or a local firing facility.


Many schools  have access to parents or contractors who might be skilled at interior tile installations.  Ie. Bathrooms, kitchens.  The school will need to budget for the cost of mounting, installation, materials, and labor.

Murals and Applied ArtsThe aggregate weight of 6-inch tiles joined one one surface can get heavy.  It’s important that everything is structurally sound, and joined and secured properly to ensure future safety.  The wall needs to be strong and able to support the weight.


A single day hands-on program is based on the amount of classes and students participating+ cost of materials.

Day In Clay will supply all clay, tools, and imagery choices to create a one-of-a-kind mural that will bring aesthetic  integrity to the walls of the school. I will assure that there is the right consistency of clay, and best workable materials on site.

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