Tile Heritage-ENEWS

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Here’s What’s Below:

Mystery Tile

HTA Directory

Flash from the Past

New Book: Heath Ceramics

Faces of Petaluma

Tile Swap Anyone?

Tunisian Mosaics

New HTA Directory

The Handmade Tile Association announces the release of its eighth annual 2007 Upper Midwest Tile Directory, a free guide to handmade tile makers and tile resources in the region, featuring full color images of the work of thirty-two Upper Midwest tile makers and mosaic artists. The directory also serves as a resource to quality professionals that include tile setters, tile showrooms, galleries, legal services, suppliers, as well as local and national tile-related organizations.

The goal of the directory is to assist architects, designers, contractors and the general public in providing direct access to a wide array of creative artists, original products, and recommended services.

For a free copy mail to: josh@claysquared.com, write to Handmade Tile Association, 34 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413, or call 612 781-6409. For information about HTA visit www.handmadetileassociation.org.

Flash from the Past

A Contemporary Tile Exhibition In conjunction with the Tile Heritage Foundation's 2002 symposium, “Tiles in the Twin Cities,” The Gage Family Art Gallery, Augsburg College, Minneapolis hosted a National Juried Tile Exhibition entitled “21st Century: From Earth to Fire,” featuring contemporary tiles juried by William Hunt, American artist, critic, author, educator, and editor of "Ceramics Monthly" from 1972-1994.

To see the selection of tiles click here: www.augsburg.edu/galleries/2002/juried.html

New Book: Heath Ceramics

A Review by Joe Taylor

Heath Ceramics: The Complexity of Simplicity by Amos Klausner vibrantly portrays one of this country’s ceramic masters, the late Edith Heath. This is no ordinary treatise or biography; at first glance you know you’re in for an artistic experience. The hard cover image, a cropped close-up of Heath’s famous dinnerware, and the back showing the hands of an artisan at work, provide the first hint of what’s inside. Then it’s the actual texture of the cover—exposed raw cardboard partially “glazed” with both glossy and matte finishes, reminiscent of an architectural façade—that offers tactile pleasure, making the opening irresistible.

And inside it’s far more than a story of the life and work of Edith Heath, an internationally recognized master of the craft; it’s an artful photographic presentation of process—from the raw clays oozing from the molds to a splendid array of finely finished tableware and tiles—and of the people who, with their hands and hearts, have worked to produce this unique assortment of ware.

To supplement the collection of archival and contemporary photography, author Amos Klausner, an independent curator and writer, invited a number of design professionals from diverse fields, all of whom have generously shared their perspectives on Heath and her accomplishments. Edith’s own personal remarks, treated graphically with due reverence, are reserved for double-page spreads in super-sized text introducing each chapter of the book.

Heath’s legacy as portrayed within these pages involves both beauty and respect: a notably consistent art form as well as a graphic appreciation of the process of production and the people whose hands formed the spirit of the clay.

Putting a Face on Petaluma: Follow up 2007

In the fall of 2005 (see “E-News” Nov. 2005) we published a clip from the “Faces of Petaluma” project, sponsored by the Petaluma Leadership Group and local businesses and headed by internationally known ceramic artist and mosaicista, Donna Billick of Davis, California. The community turned out in force to create self-portraits in clay, the goal being their inclusion on the fascia of a public fountain that Donna had been commissioned to design and fabricate for the central downtown area.

After firing all of the 844 “faces” the portraits of Petaluma citizens were set in panels filled in with a quilt of colorful broken tile mosaic, most of it procured through the generosity of Heath Ceramics in Sausalito. The next step was the installation of the panels on the foundation of the fountain as well as the completion of the mosaic in situ. It looks fantastic! The grouting is now complete. The fountain is awaiting coping stone on all tiers and the cobbling of the surrounding courtyard (to discourage skateboarding!).

The fountain is in Theater Square, conceived by Matt White, president of Basin Street Properties, the developer, and Larry Reed, principal landscape architect for SWA Group of Sausalito, well known for his fountain elements. Donna Billick was recommended for the commission by Dan Hughes of Delco Builders & Developers.

Donna recently completed a large 18’x8’ sculptural mosaic totem commission for Delco Builders & Developers called “Home Stretch” – another amazing project! The landscape architect was Gretchen McCane Strentzel of Napa. Like “Faces of Petaluma”, “Home Stretch” was fabricated using Heath Tile.

                                                                                 Tile Swap Anyone?

Isaiah Zagar, mosaic maestro from Philadelphia, includes tiles in all of his fantastical creations from murals to full-scale building facades. Recently one of his friends and colleagues from Mexico, world famous potter and tile maker Jaun Jorge Wilmot Mason, who has been making high fired ceramic pottery and tiles for many years, retired. Through a series of synchronistic events Isaiah has found himself in possession of a large treasure trove of Jorge’s high fired, 2x2, colorfully glazed, vintage tiles.

Isaiah has been spreading them liberally throughout the Philadelphia area but thought perhaps these tiles would like to go to other places too. He would like to suggest a “swap,” a free exchange of materials with other tile and mosaic artists. The tiles need not be perfect – they can be chipped, broken or whole. He thinks it would be terrific to be able to use material from other artists in his projects. If you are interested in discussing a swap, exchanging materials with Isaiah, he can be reached at info@isaiahzagar.com or phone: 215-925-6761. See www.isaiahzagar.org

More information about Jaun Jorge Wilmot Mason: www.mexconnect.com/mex_/travel/ecassin/ecassin0406.html

                                                                              Tunisian Mosaics

Tile Heritage friend Chere Mah has alerted us once again to a most informative online site featuring the ancient mosaics of Tunisia. Take a few minutes and visit Stories of Stone www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/stories_stone/index.html.

Between the second and the sixth centuries, as Rome expanded its settlements in North Africa, thousands of mosaics were fashioned to pave the floors of the townhomes and rural estates of the African upper classes, as well as some public buildings. Mosaics were especially abundant in the colony of Africa Proconsularis, the region that is today Tunisia. These remarkable artworks constitute one of the most important historical records of life in ancient North Africa. They covered a wide range of subject matter, from scenes of daily life to classical mythology, from gladiator spectacles and chariot races to floral and geometric designs of astonishing vibrancy and complexity. The influence of the African style, with its bright colors and flowing forms, would extend throughout the Mediterranean basin and beyond.

Stories in Stone: Conserving Mosaics of Roman Africa coincides with an exhibition at the Getty Villa from October 2006 to April 2007—the first major exhibition in the United States devoted solely to ancient mosaics. It features twenty-six masterpieces from Tunisia’s national museums. Structured around four principal themes—nature, theater and spectacle, myths and gods, and technique—the exhibition also includes extensive material on the conservation of ancient mosaic art. The 200-page, handcover book is available at www.getty.edu/bookstore for $75.00.

Tunisian Mosaics: Treasures from Roman Africa offers a lively introduction to this remarkable ancient art. Initial chapters survey the historical background of Roman Africa and provide an overview of African mosaic art. The book also profiles six important mosaic sites and tours the collections of the country’s major museums. A final chapter surveys current initiatives to preserve this important heritage for future generations. www.getty.edu/bookstore for $29.95.

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