Cracks. I have a devil of a time with cracks. I've been told that it is one of the inherent difficulties of making large tiles. Here's one fortuitous crack that actually looks like part of the drawing:
I've had tons of advice: use different clay, handle the clay less, fire on beds of sand, dry more slowly. I think the last is probably key but I just don't have the patience to let things dry for weeks before firing. But I have come up with my own solution: documentation. I try to take pictures of works in progress. That way, if they end of cracking all is not lost - the drawings live on in photographs.
Here is the life of one piece that survived:
One of the ways I have been trying to dodge cracks is to cut out the contour drawing. but it makes me kind of sad because I don't get to see the wonderfully expressive line that a pin tool makes on clay.
Here it is cut out:
And here it is fired:
Finished? My teacher, Kicki Masthem, thought I might add a little gold lustre to the end of the brush - what do you think?