A customer ordered 7 sconces with a custom design; a Texas ranch brand. They provided a thumbnail image. We took it into Adobe Illustrator, traced it and saved it as a vector file. Then it was scaled to fit the sconce keeping in mind that it will shrink 12% after firing. We printed, traced and carved this pattern into clay. Then we poured a polyurethane mold. Once the mold has been removed, it’s ready to use as a custom design stamp. The brand will be pierced so that light shines through at night.
The Grackle is an unavoidable part of the soundtrack and setting of Austin, Texas. When we at Clayworks first began to explore the idea of a Grackle theme exhibit to kick off our annual East Austin Studio Tour show, we wondered whether anyone besides ourselves found the ubiquitous bird an inspiration. We began asking around and discovered that a number of Austin artists had been contemplating or even making Grackle art for a while.
Kathleen Ash, Barbara Lugge, MAKEatx, Caroline Wright, Aly Winningham, Susan Wallace, Lyon Graulty, Stewart Gray, John & Chris Gray, Barbara Attwell, Ellen Gibbs, Phillip Wade, Carly Weaver, Melody Lytle, and Fran Berry.
After a couple of rocky years, we feel like we we’re back in business in here at Clayworks. Our projects in 2011 represent the range of sustaining work we need, from custom tile to lighting, murals, signage and restoration. Here is a sampling:
Wayfinding tiles for the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, a project that came back to us after years of delay due to the destruction Caused by Hurricane Ike.
Inscribed donor tiles for the new Scout Training & Education Center in North Austin. Along with hundreds of donor name tiles stamped with scout insignia, we made a dozen Scout Law murals.
A commission to choose 45 sconces from stock and air freight them to Holland for Four Roses Mexican Restaurant near Amsterdam. The owners had visited our shop on a scouting expedition for Southwestern fixtures and Mexican food recipies
A 30-in. square floor mural for a museum courtyard showing the path of the Chisholm Trail from Cuero northward. The colored clays which make up the mural were cut to shape while soft.
And there’s been the steady flow of bread & butter work–hand inscribed donor pavers for schools, churches & libraries; individual address plaques made to order and sconces of all descriptions for homes and public spaces.
Here’s the finished Chisholm Trail Museum mural, all set and grouted, ready to be picked up. Robert Anderson Landscape Architects contacted us a few months ago for a 30-in. square floor installation for the museum courtyard showing the path of the trail from Cuero northward. Museum Director Robert Oliver provided a map of the trail. We started with a pencil layout, and once it seemed right converted it into a computer image.
We then enlarged the pattern and made slabs of the five colored clays used in the design: terra cotta, buff, cobalt, copper and white. We cut the shapes from their respective colors and fit them together puzzle style. While the clay was still soft, we inscribed the trail and the rivers and place names. After firing, the mural was set onto concrete board and grouted, so that it can be set as a single piece at the museum
This is the design for a 30-in square courtyard floor mural we’re making for the Chisholm Trail Museum in Cuero. The pigmented clays we are using are colored throughout rather than glazed on the surface, so that foot traffic can never wear the color away. There are five different clays: terra cotta, buff, white, green and blue. The next step in the process is to enlarge the pattern, then roll out slabs and cut out the shapes.
We’re making pendulum light fixtures for a Mexican restaurant in Gulfport, Mississippi. The style is the embossed diamond so often favored by Mexican restaurants (Nuevo León, Serrano’s, and the old Rosie’s Tamale House in Austin for example). Gulfport’s La Sombra has ordered the fixtures in terra cotta clay with most finished in a vibrant cobalt glaze. First we roll out slabs, emboss them, and shape them around cylinders. We should finishing constructing the first ten this week. Then they need to dry before we apply glaze and fire them. The last step is wiring.