Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Keith Haring Inspired Ceramic Mural

It's finished! After 6 weeks of drawing, building and painting, the 6th grade mural at Brandon School is completed.
It looks beautiful...colorful, vibrant, energetic...adjectives I would use to describe the students who made it.

The process was easy, well, easy as far as making ceramic murals goes! Student were given background info on Keith Haring and were shown some of his more famous pieces. Then they drew a figure on a piece of paper (5" x 6").

One week later, we met to turn our drawings into a ceramic tile. I prepped 2 5 x 7 pieces of white Laguna clay (I use a multi-string clay cutter) for each student. They laid out their drawings on TOP of one piece of clay and then traced their figures with a small dowel (a dull pencil would do fine). Using a plastic clay cutter they cut away the excess clay from their figure. Using the slip 'n score method (we call it scratch attach) the students secured their clay figures to the other tile. Using the bits and pieces of left over clay, some students added details surrounding the figures, being extra careful to ensure that its adhered properly.

The tiles were laid out to dry for 10 days. We had a hot spell in California and some of the pieces dried too quickly. This caused some curling around the edges. I could have prevented this by placing a plastic sheet over the tiles to ensure a slower drying time. But...we were running out of time!

The last time I saw the kids, their tiles had been fired and were ready for under-glazing. The kids were shown a few techniques but quickly set off to work and complete heir beautiful tiles. The first kids finished helped dip ' glaze the pieces. I used a Duncan Dipping Glaze. Makes the whole glazing process incredibly fast and simple.


Anonymous said...

Patty! Now that it is summer, I finally had some time to chek out your blog. You are the best art teacher ever! I love the Brandon mural.Of course I love to the MV mural also. It is so crazy! I am going to need some good art lessons to teach next year, so expect some emails for help! :-) You have so many great projects. Oh and I still want to read your book! :-)

Patty Palmer said...

You check in anytime you want! I'm always here to help. We'll miss you next year but I for one, am very excited about your adventure. Have a fantastic summer and keep in touch!

blair said...

Patty! Your murals are AMAZING! I am wanting to do some murals this school year and have some questions for you. First, what material do you adhere the ceramic tiles to - is it a wooden panel? Second, what do you use to adhere the tiles? Third, where did you get the frame - did you build that yourself? And finally, what grout did you use?

Thank you thank you!

I love checking out your blog - you have some wonderful ideas and projects!

Patty Palmer said...

Hi Blair,
Thanks so much for your nice comments. I agree, the murals are fantastic. I wish I could answer all your questions but thankfully the mounting of the tiles to form the mural was done by my school district's contractors. But having brainstormed on many murals, I can tell you that each mural is slightly different.
For straightforward tile setting, the contractors make a wooden frame (allow for the grout in your measurements) and then use a backerboard (available at Home Depot) to serve as a backing. Then they use normal tile adhesive and standard tile setting procedure to mount each student made tile. After the adhesive dries, the grout is added.
I don't know the names of all the supplies, but it's all standard tile setting materials.
The length of this answer inspires me to do a post of the details of mural making...thanks for the idea!
Good Luck and I hope I helped.

Kathy said...

Wow, that was an awesome class project! I hope I had that kind of project when I was still a kid in our high school at Brandon. Tile art projects like that showcases the perfect harmony of the students and the teacher.

But now, as an adult, I also do have some art projects with the use of ceramic tile. Tampa where I currently live, have fantastic tile designs that can awaken your artistic side.

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