Welcome to the Clay & Glass blog of Meagan Chaney Gumpert! We hope you enjoy your time here!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding Unexpected Advice

I have to admit I've been a bit frantic lately. With our first Baby due in about 5 weeks, the list of To Do's seems to be getting longer, rather than shorter. Overall, I feel I've managed to stay relatively calm and low stress.

But I found a nice, unexpected bit of advice in the Ethan Allen catalog that showed up in our mail last week... Granted, they are referring to furnishing a living room, but I instantly saw how this could apply to my life.

See, I'm planning to take a 6-month maternity leave. To do this, I'm trying to make sure the galleries I work with are well stocked and ready for the holidays and beyond. This means that I'm trying to make 6-months of work in about 8 weeks. (And finish all the projects my husband and I had started around the house, and put together a nursery.)
250 tile plaques in various stages.
I've been cutting, burning, and polyurethane-ing like crazy!

But, then "Relax. You don't have to do it all at once." Though I understand that life as I know it it about to change forever, I do not have to get everything done before Baby's born. Things will be crazy and new, but we will find our way, settle into a routine, and I will get back into the studio.
making progress...

So for me, unfortunately, posting to this blog is one of the first things to go when the list gets too long. I realize I still haven't written what I wanted to about my July residency in Montana or my more recent classes at Arrowmont and Penland (which were both great by the way!) Or a post on how I made the slab-built tumblers. Or talked about the Fall Open House at CURVE studios & garden in Asheville this weekend. But I'm doing what I can.

So, with that, I'm off to the studio. With the majority of the backings complete, it's time to switch over to making the tiles.

Cheers! And thanks for listening!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

More tiles - layered surface tests

And they're out of the kiln. Overall, I'm still very pleased with the potential of these new lowfire test tiles. I've got to be careful not to overdo the layering or they start to get a little muddy looking though.
They look a little jumbled shown all together like this - seems better to process them individually.

We'll, gotta run. We're off to the Bray Bash!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
dkrycek commented on 27-Nov-2012 11:44 AM
These are really beautiful tiles! I have been looking for tile in Toronto that have good designs and patterns like these. These tiles look like they were hand-painted, though!
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Plaques and Improvements

So, I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I was able to finish a record 60 plaques in just 8 studio days! And though this was definitely a rush job, the quality of the tiles was in no way compromised.

Actually, the opposite is true. I believe the plaques are getting better with each firing. I have a lot fewer “duds” – tiles that just don’t work for one reason or another. Warping seems to be under control. The patterns and line-work are stronger. And most glaze problems have been resolved. For me, these tiles are a way to experiment with pattern, texture, and color. Because of this, even the “duds” are important. By studying them, I’m able to evaluate what works and what doesn’t; learn from my mistakes. I’m happy the success rate it up!

I’ve been making these plaques for 4 years now. People often ask how long I will continue to make new ones. And the answer is the same for all my work. I will continue to make them as long as I feel challenged creatively and I see room for growth and improvement. When I get bored or dread the process, it’s time to move on to something new.

Happy Creating!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Kickin' It!

Been getting kicked from all directions lately! Some exciting. Some stressful.

Felt the baby kick for the first time last week. And let me just say, that might just be one of the coolest feelings ever! Baby decided to get my attention for the first time while I was in line at the bank irritated with the teller. Guess he/she is already teaching me about patience.

Secondly, my studio work load has been kicking my butt! After the Studio Stroll in Asheville, NC earlier this month, I was almost sold out of Tile Plaques at CURVE studios & garden! I hadn’t planned on doing another set of firings before leaving for Montana, and the thought of squeezing this in on top of everything else definitely elevated my stress level.

(Cut, burn and polyurethane wood backings... check!)

So, I finally sat down and took control of my to-do list! Feeling overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done before I leave on Saturday, I divided my list up into daily tasks. This has made managing my time much more productive! Now I know I’ve got time set aside to finish the work in the studio, pack and relax with my hubby before flying out west.

(Organize to-do list.... check!)

I’ve got around 60 glazed tiles cooling in the kiln right now. The metal and wood backings are finished and the tiles should be cool enough to unload this afternoon. I’m right on schedule! Whew! It’s amazing what can be accomplished with the pressure from a deadline.

(Cut and polyurethane metal. Attach to wood backings... check!)

Ok, I’m off to yoga (ahhh!) and to run some errands while the kiln is hot.


Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Glass - Kiln Casting and Slumping

Finished up these tile plaques this week. This series of 6" x 6" x 1" plaques incorporates kiln cast glass and slumping, so I thought I'd share a couple pictures of the glass process today.

Finished Wall Plaques
Unfired glass stacked into steel molds. The molds are lined with fiber paper so the castings wont stick. Yes, I use the same L&L ceramics kiln to fire both ceramics and fused glass, and it works beautifully! I do have separate sets of selves, and 2 different types of kiln wash (aka shelf primer) though.
Kiln castings after being fired to 17250F. Interested in my glass firing schedule?
Check it out here.
In my kiln, this firing is set to Program #5. The kiln castings after the glass has been taken out of the mold and cleaned up a bit. Each "brick" is between 1/2" to 1" thick. Slicing the cast "bricks" with a table top tile saw.
(My least favorite part of the process. So loud and messy!)But it's worth it! The colors and patterns of the glass castings are revealed after they are sliced open. They've always reminded me of geodes. Once I have the slices, they 're cut down to size with a hand held glass cutter/scoring tool. The windows are also coated with the same primer/kiln wash that is on the shelves. This allows the glass to slump through the clay opening with minimal stress and cracking on the glass.

The pre-fired, glazed tiles are loaded into the kiln upside down, with the glass covering the window opening. They are then fired to 1300oF.
This is Glass Firing Program #2 .
After firing, the kiln wash/shelf primer is cleaned off with a damp sponge and the glass is glued back in with 100% silicone adhesive.
Here's a tile without the steel backing.
Well, there's a very quick runthough of what I've been up to this week in the studio. If you have any questions about any part of this process, please just let me know. I'm happy to share info!

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Glazing - My Process

Hi there!

I've spent most of the week happily glazing away in the studio. Many more Mini Sculptures and Tile Plaques in the works! And while I've talked to many potters and ceramic artist who find glazing/decorating tedious, this is my favorite part!
After the clay has been bisque fired, I organize the work by size and style and then get to work labeling. (Those of you that know me are laughing at the words 'organizing' and 'labeling' - I know, I know, I cant help it!)
Anyway, using a pencil, I go through each piece, decided which glazes will be used where, and then write a code or abbreviation for the glaze in that spot. I have about 70 glazes mixed, but really only use about 35-45 of these on a regular basis. So there are a lot of codes, most of which would look like gibberish to anyone else!
Then I go through each glaze one at a time, applying it with a small #6 brush. It becomes a "glaze-by-number" and I'm able to sit back and enjoy my favorite podcasts (This American Life, or Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, etc.) or listen to audio books. (Recently I listened to and loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks for the recommendation Betsy!)

I've found that listening to podcasts or books during the day passes the time extremely quickly, I learn a lot of information, it keeps my mind focused on positive things rather than worrying (see previous post) AND I'm able to get tons of glazing done! A Win-Win situation all around.

Do you have any routines, habits, or techniques that make "tedious" tasks pass with more ease and enjoyment? Or, any podcast or book recommendations?

Well, those ceramic tiles and Mini Sculptures are in the kiln now, so I should probably go check on them. Thanks for reading a bit about my process.

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tile Plaque Variation and Process

Finished up some plaques with my newer tile style yesterday. Thought I would post a few quick pics of the process.

Sketching ideas - thinking about design, layout and composition, line, texture, mood

Tiles drying and waiting to be bisque fired.

The backs of the bisque fired tiles with glass inserts.
These clay tiles were rolled out about 3/8" thick so that I could carve a place to inset the glass for slumping. Here the glass has been fused, slumped, ground down to sit flush with the back of the tiles, and then attached with 100% silicone adhesive. (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of all of those in between steps.)

Side few of tiles showing added dimension with the slumped glass.

Finished group of Tile Plaques
The glass I used for these pieces was created the same way as my line of fused glass pendants. I hope to eventually write a post detailing that process and technique. Until then, you can see pictures here.

Thanks for finding a moment in your busy day to check in on what's been going on here.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
Yoshiah commented on 28-Jan-2015 11:26 AM
Can you make one for me
DanRa Boscovich commented on 01-Aug-2015 12:34 PM
Very unique! Very beautiful!
Deb Miller commented on 20-Sep-2015 09:36 PM
I love clay and glass. This is gorgeous!
Lori Jackson commented on 17-Oct-2015 12:19 AM
I am an elementary art teacher by way of a love of art and generalist certificate. We do lots of clay as we are joined physically to the high school, with access to a kiln. That is access is made easier as my hubby is the secondary art teacher. does this class work in the kiln? I envision it sticking like crazy to shelves, but obviously it does not. How does that happen?
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 26-Oct-2015 08:21 PM
Hi Lori,

I use a kiln wash on both the shelves and the back of any ceramic work that would come into contact with the glass.

Here is a link to my favorite brand:

Hope that helps get you started. Best of luck!

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