Piece: Historical Replication Tile Project


Replication of a tile composition from the Dome of the Rock


Terracotta, Glaze

One of my favorite assignments this semester was to replicate a piece from history as closely as we could, in order to encompass new techniques and ideas into our work.

The piece I chose was a beautiful tile composition from the Dome of the Rock mosque, one of the pinnacles of Islamic tiling traditions. Though I modified the technique a bit (traditionally the piece was probably by cutting out the individual shapes) I am still very happy with how it came out.

Using a 5.5″ square slab of terracotta I made three plaster molds, for each of the three tiles in the composition. I then carved the designs into the molds, pressed the tiles using more terracotta, fired them, and pooled glazes into the raised designs.

After this was done, I mounted them onto plywood, cut a frame of 1″ angle iron, and screwed it together, grouting the tiles to the frame.

I left it this way for exhibition, but I hope to maybe add legs to the frame and make it into a side table.

A very time consuming but very fun and educating project! I have a new respect for tile-makers everywhere! The intricate designs and precision of Islamic tradition have definitely made their way into the surface design of my work after this project.


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