I’ve always loved the texturing of old utility poles. They’re a ubiquitous sight in the city and no two look alike. Some are cracked and weathered from the sun and rain; some are charred; some have creosote and chemicals leeching out. I wanted to recreate each variation in a ceramic tile wall mosaic that could be displayed indoors.
basic clay tools (slab wire, needle tool, sponge)
spray mold release
Step 1: Roll a slab of clay
Using a rolling pin, roll a chunk of wet clay into a slab. I’m using a basic ceramic clay (EM-210) because it’s easy to work with and cheap. Wood sticks (1/2in thick) placed on either side will ensure an even thickness. Heavy canvas placed underneath will prevent the clay from sticking to the table.
Step 2: Create an impression
Mash the slab into the part of the utility pole you want. Peel away a corner to remove. Place slab onto a piece of drywall (texture side up) and trim to exact dimensions.
Step 3: Make a rubber mold
Spray shellac onto a sheet of foamboard and let dry. Construct a tray using a straightedge, utility knife, and hot glue; make the inside dimensions 1/2in-1in larger than the clay tile. Place the slab carefully into the tray. Spray the slab with shellac and let dry. Spray mold release agent into all surfaces of the entire tray, and place on a level table. Mix RTV rubber and pour slowly into pan, starting in the corner. Fill to 1/4in+ above the tile.