Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Test Tiles

Sometimes you just need to follow the experts. I've been making test tiles the way my college professors, cooperating teachers and mentors made them. Actually, my first two years of teaching elementary, I didn't make them at all, I just relied on the catalog pictures and any finished project samples laying around from the previous teacher.

Last year I decided to use mini cookie cutters to help me quickly separate the glaze by brands. So my Amaco are square tiles, the Sax are round and the new "Teacher's Palette" are gingerbread men. As I'm painfully painting the 3rd coat on my 20th gingerbread man I think to myself "I guess this is why the paint your own pottery stores just put a drop of each color on one tile." DING! DING! DING!

Yes! Firing all these little dudes, while completely adorable, was a complete and utter pain. So I grabbed a blank tile leftover from the previous teacher's mural project and was able to knock these out in less than 10 minutes:

I did make a little cheat sheet for myself on scrap paper so I would remember where each color was on the tile. Obviously this tile is not representative of ALL the colors of clay that I might use, but if I make a few slabs of each color clay, I will have a few ready. Not sure why teachers don't do it this way - maybe they don't want students to see ALL the colors, but I'm fine telling them "We're out of that color right now."

And while I've never done a color theory lesson with glazes, I could see how the Teacher's Palette line would be an easy one to try. The above tile is a color wheel using scarlet, lemon and midnight blue. The secondaries are pretty good.

I would love to hear your test tile tips and tricks.

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