The Artist's Process

Kathy's work is unique in style and approach - mixing 2D and 3D aspects of ceramic mural art to create a blend of hand formed tiles with custom glazes and layered sculptural elements.  These components combine to create visually stunning, painterly ceramic scenes which, taking their inspiration from the natural northwestern landscape and wildlife.

Kathy develops mid-fire glazes which create the colors and textures to enhance each piece of work.  In addition to ceramic glazes, she uses recycled colored glass, fused into the glaze, to create layers of depth within the surface of each tile or sculptural element, in addition to the built-on layers of the pieces making up the composition.  The effect is one of striking coloration with visual interest that holds the eye in close inspection and from a distance.


           Kathy at work on "Samish Tulips, 2009"
         Working with clay in the early steps of the process, before piece is dried for             firing. 


        Creating a ceramic wall mural, below:



The steps in creating a ceramic wall mural with the sculptural elements are the same for each piece

  • rough sketch the idea on a clay slab

  • cut the individual tiles

  • add relief and texture

  • form the sculptural “additions”

  • paint under glaze for added color depth

  • bisque fire

  • apply glaze and recycled glass pieces

  • glaze fire

  • assemble final piece

The first firing is the “bisque” which creates a surface ready for glaze to be applied. The bisque firing is to 1888 degrees F for my pieces (Cone 05). The image to the right shows this heron piece after bisque firing with the added cattail stalks and grasses added to create the 3D effect of a heron amongst the reeds.

 Above:  Unfired work in leather hard stage with underglazes applied     
Above: bisque fired work, underglaze show true colors before glaze applied

The second firing is the “glaze” which creates the hard ceramic / colored surface of the final piece. The glazes in my pieces are fired to Cone 6 – 2232 degrees F. Some of the glazes I use are commercial, but many are mixed from formulas I developed specifically for their unique coloring and textural effects. I also add recycled glass which melts into the glaze, creating pools of color and translucence.

Once the glaze fire is complete, the tiles are mounted on hardboard framed with a custom built fir frame for hanging. The background tiles are grouted, then the sculptural pieces applied

Left:  Work after glaze fire is done with recycled glass added to cut-out relief areas in water and cattail leaves.  The piece underwent a few more modifications before it was actually framed - see the Photo Gallery "Wall Art" tab for the completed piece.