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Making & Installing Handmade Tiles, by Angelica Pozo

Making & Installing Handmade Tiles includes a dozen ceramic tile projects. The wealth of practical, visually breathtaking information includes design and formation through decoration and site installation, making this manual an absolute must in every ceramics and home improvement library. Find out about basic tools and materials, glaze application, techniques for making slab tiles, mosaics, and stamped, carved, and inlaid designs. With these techniques, even beginning crafters can start working fast, and move on to simple stair risers, a kitchen backsplash, and an exquisite window surround.

An Interview with Angelica Pozo

By Arnold Howard

Q. How did you get started in making tiles?

A. I started by working on ceramic tile murals as an artist in residence through the Ohio Arts Council. During those projects, working at primary and secondary schools making ceramic tile murals with their kids, I developed techniques for tile making and mass production. This tile work simultaneously filtered into my own studio work as tile tabletops, tile wall pieces, and tile constructed wooden forms. A few years after those first school murals, I did public art commissions as well.

Q. How did you get interested in writing a book on tiles?

A. I never dreamed that I'd write a book. First came an invitation by Penland to write a chapter on my tile technique for their new Penland Book of Ceramics. After working with me on that, Suzanne Tourtillott, Lark Book's ceramic editor, invited me to write a proposal for a whole book on tile making and installation.

Q. What was most challenging about the book project?

A. Planning and coordinating the step-by-step how-to shots. To stay within photography budget and to say more with fewer shots, I had to make several versions of the same piece at different stages. Since some of the shots had to be done at sites outside the studio, I had to coordinate with the architects' and/or home owners' renovation schedules.

I also found out why there hadn't been another book on both making and installing tiles. Though related, these are two distinctly separate crafts. Writing this book was like writing two books, doubling the challenges.

Q. What types of tiles are your favorites?

A. I love the illusion of depth in a textured or relief-sculpted tile.

Q. What are the most common mistakes of the typical beginning tile maker?

A. The most common mistakes start from making tile from unsuitable clay. A heavily grogged clay is the most forgiving for tile making. Some people make tiles from porcelain, but those require extreme care in forming and drying. Beginning tile makers would have a much easier time with the proper clay body.

Q. What are some of the most unusual clay tiles you've seen?

A. To be unusual for me, tile would have to take on a more sculptural presence or define space in unique ways. Of the work submitted for the gallery section of my book, the piece that does that is "Passage from Red Dust" by Ellen Huie, page 89.

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