Follow along as we walk through all of the steps of a custom recycled glass tile job.
Step 1: Client meeting. Bill and Susie were remodeling the main bathroom in their 1930’s Avenue’s bungalow. The entire room was gutted to the studs and redone. The overall feel will be open, with earth-tone ceramic field tile, marble counters and glass shower doors. They decided that they would like a few recycled glass tiles to serve as focal points and draw the eye into and around the room.
After talking over the main feel, we did a rough sketch of the layout of the bathroom to get an idea of how many tiles would be required and the best size of tile to use. In the end, we decided on 10 4″ x 4″ tiles.
Step 2: Tile Design proposals: The clients, Bill and Susie design and sew complicated clothing as a hobby. We decided to carry this interest over into the bathroom design by using geometric mosaic tile patters based on traditional quilt patterns from the 1930’s, which would also preserve the character of the house. I cut some scrap tile into some very rough idea’s for Bill and Susie to look at.
Step 3: Tile Test: Bill and Susie chose 3 of the proposed designs. We would do 4 of the white and brown (they modified the pattern slightly), and 3 of the blue and green windmill pattern and 3 of the brown and green tile on the bottom right corner of the first scan. They requested a sample of the tiles with the colors “melted together”. So, I gave it a shot.
I created copper foil separators in the appropriate size for each tile design, and placed them in the molds, filled each section with the appropriate size frit and packed the frit tight. Then I removed the copper foil.
The test tiles after firing:
Bill and Susie decided that these tiles were really not what they had in mind and we went ahead with the mosaic version.
Step 4: Tile Production.
All of the small tile pieces had to be cut to fit and ground so the edges were perfectly smooth and had an even 1/8″ for grout all the way around.
Step 5: Tile Assembly.
The tiles were all assembled and epoxied to a mesh backing for the tile installers convenience.
Step 6: Installation:
At press time, the tile installation has been partially completed. The tiles are set, but not grouted. So far, they look wonderful. The client is very pleased, and so am I!
Wow thank you for the wealth of knowledge and helpful hints (secrets) on your site. I have recently met Dan Cummings and visited his studio. To say the least I am blown away and totally inspired. I have worked in the commercial and residential glass industry for over 20 years and I have an art background. Now I am obsessed with learning how to transition from the construction side of glass to the art side (and still be able to make a living). I hope to meet you sometime and will plan on visiting your studio as soon as I have a chance to see more of your incredible pieces. I have many contacts in the industry and will try to use them to obtain raw materials because I love the idea of re-cycling old glass for making beautiful art. If I cannot find employment in an art studio I am committed to at least starting in my own at home as I already have a shop and do some very limited art there (sandblasting, flat glass & mirror etching) . But I now realize the unlimited possibilities of glass sculpture and the limitless creative outlet it offers. Thank you again for the inspiration and the knowledge passed along here.
Craig M. Wilde
Thank you Craig, what a lovely comment! Dan and his studio are awesome, I could get lost in there for hours on end. If you are in Utah, I invite you to attend the Glass Art Guild Show opening this Saturday (11/12/11) from 2-5 p.m. at Red Butte Garden. We have 20 artists showing, with many more in attendance.
This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.