Texture tiles are essentially flat ceramic molds for fusing glass. If you are making your own texture tiles, there are a few things to consider before you start.
What will you be using the textured piece for? Will it stand alone? Be slumped into something else, or included into a larger piece?
The pattern on the glass will be the opposite of the texture on the tile. If you want the pattern to protrude (bas relief) from the glass, you need to cut that texture into the clay. If you want the texture incised into the glass, you have to cut away everything else.
If you intend for the pattern to be on the back of the finished glass piece, the pattern will go onto the tile the same direction as you want to look at it. If you intend to have the texture side face up, the pattern will be opposite.
Think through your pattern carefully. You will be creating a three dimensional design from a two dimensional drawing, sometimes things don’t translate so well. If you are working from a drawing, try shading the parts you will be cutting out. This quick trick will often save you time later when you realize that you are intending to remove adjacent sections without a border between.
Once you’ve decided on a design, you need clay. In my workshops, we use whiteware clay that fires to Cone 06. Your local ceramic store can help you with both sourcing clay, and in many cases, fire the molds for you for a small fee.
After some trial and error, I found a slab 3/8″ thick works very well. It is thick enough to do robust carving, and to resist warping far better than a 1/4″ slab.
Add in some low tech clay tools and let the glass mold making begin. As you make a texture tile, keep these guidelines in mind:
Here is a tile made by workshop participant Cheryl Peterson (greenware)
after bisque firing
When you are ready to fire glass on your texture tile, there are just a few things you need to do:
Here is the tile with glass before fusing,
And after, with fused glass: