Tile Heritage-ENEWS

(Available each month to Tile Heritage members who e-mail the Foundation from the address they would like
E-News sent to. Contact: foundation@tileheritage.org)     PRINTED VERSION

Spring flowers on the mountain.

April and May are the months when flowers seem to burst into bloom, gladly awakening from their long winter’s rest. Most noticeable on Fitch Mountain, just east of Healdsburg, are the scarlet larkspur, the regal mule’s ears and the all too prevalent French broom, which although not native to the area provides vibrant yellow flowers along with a sweet aroma. Here at the base of the mountain it’s our purple clematis that attracts all the attention.

                                                           Coverings is upon us!

For the past month or more our days have been occupied preparing the “History of Tile” display for the Coverings exposition in Orlando, May 3-6, 2005. Sixty-feet in length with three twelve-foot towers, the doubled-sided exhibit will host a hundred large format photographs of significant historic tile installations in Italy, Spain and the United States. In addition, thanks to the generosity of Norman Karlson who has loaned tiles from his personal collection, there will be over a hundred historic tiles on display representing these three countries. Check it out and then stop by and see us, “under the flags,” at the Tile Council of North America.

New Books!

Making & Installing Handmade Tiles by Angelica Pozo, the latest in the series of Lark Ceramics Books, has just been released, and it’s a beauty! First and foremost Angelica covers the basics, describing and illustrating the step-by-step procedures for making and decorating tiles. Then she applies these techniques to a series of fundamental installations from trivets to stair risers to a fully tiled kitchen, with numerous projects in between. Enhancing the book is a gallery of tile art by ninety-three accomplished artists whose work occupies the top third of almost every page. Prepare yourself for the distraction and the inspiration!

A long-standing member of Tile Heritage, Angelica Pozo is a studio artist who lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio and has taught at The Cleveland Institute of Art and the School of Visual Arts at Pennsylvania State University in addition to her numerous workshops and residencies. Angelica, congratulations!

Price: $24.95 (Californians add 7.75% sales tax) plus $4.50 for shipping/handling.

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And, mosaic enthusiast, JoAnn Locktov, has her second book out!

Mosaic Art and Style: Designs for Living Environments, a gallery of architectural, decorative and functional mosaic art designed for public and private spaces, demonstrates in stunning full color how mosaic enhances life around the world. The work of more than seventy-five artists is presented; while seventeen of the artists are featured with multiple installations of their work along with JoAnn’s personal reflections. From the minimalist expressions of Lucio Orsoni, to the eclectic masterwork of Laurel Skye, the erotic caricatures of Robyn Spencer-Crompton and the impressive trompe l’oeil of Karen Thompson, the overall presentation is dazzling!

JoAnn Locktov, a friend and outspoken advocate for Tile Heritage, is a passionate admirer of mosaic art. She has been both a curator and jury member for mosaic exhibitions and has been researching, writing about, and promoting mosaic arts for more than ten years.

Price: $29.99 (Californians add 7.75% sales tax) plus $4.50 for shipping/handling.

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The Handmade Tile Association announces the release of the
Fifth Annual 2005 Upper Midwest’s Tile Directory.

The directory is a FREE guide to handmade tile makers and tile resources, featuring full color images of the work of 30 Upper Midwest tile makers and mosaic artists with articles by local and national writers on historic and contemporary tile subjects. It’s also a resource guide to quality professional trades people for tile setting,, tile showrooms, galleries, legal services, suppliers, and local and national organizations that work with tile.

The goal of the Handmade Tile Association (HTA) directory is to help designers, architects, contractors and the public at large get direct access to a wide array of creative and original handmade tiles and quality resources. For a free copy, contact HTA, 34 Thirteenth Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (612 781-6409) or visit www.handmadetileassociation.org.

              Congratulations to Niel and Ruby!

Nielsen Amon and Ruby Levesque from Brooklyn, New York won the Tile Heritage Prize at this year’s Feats of Clay exhibition at Lincoln, California, presented by Lincoln Arts. The work is titled “Shark’s Tooth” and was awarded by the juror, Rodney Mott, as best reflecting the tile traditions in America. Mott, who reviewed over 1660 slides, described the piece as “a precisely rendered tile creation with dizzying, interconnected line and form.”

Feats of Clay XVIII is housed at the historic Gladding, McBean terra cotta factory in Lincoln. The 76 pieces that comprise this year’s show may be seen through May 22nd. Docent tours are available Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon.
Call Lincoln Arts for reservations: 916 645-9713.

Mosaic Aspirations Exceeded at SAMA’s Annual Conference

Three hundred mosaic artists, scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts from across the country and around the world gathered in Washington, DC March 16-19 for the fourth annual conference of the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA).

The meeting, titled “A More Perfect Union: Mosaic Aspirations,” was held in conjunction with the opening of two juried exhibitions of contemporary mosaics in the DC area. The first show, featuring small-scale works in 2-D and 3-D, is at the Ellipse Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. The second show, featuring large-format works and architectural installations, can be seen at Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space on Pennsylvania Avenue in the District. This show shares space with a non-juried display of members’ work, titled the “American Mosaic Project: Pieces of Life.” These exhibitions — a testament to the breadth and versatility of the art and the deep reservoir of talent among SAMA’s almost 900 members — run through June 4 and are open to the public.

Conference attendees — from beginners to master artists — came for information, insight, and inspiration and found a full measure of each in a busy schedule of workshops, demonstrations, presentations, panel discussions, tours of mosaics sites in the Washington metro area and in Baltimore, book signings, and receptions. The keynote address on Friday afternoon featured the renowned mosaic fabricator, Stephen Miotto, who showed numerous examples of his mind-boggling work, interpreting the creations of established artists in mosaic and then installing it. The next day two additional favorite presentations: first, the inspired lecture by Turker Ozdogan, director of the ceramics program at George Washington University, who focused on the unusual application of ceramics in the creation of mosaic arts; and second, Geraldine Rohling, who spoke on the mosaic heritage and history of the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. All who attended agreed a key benefit of the conference was meeting people who speak the same language and having a chance to swap ideas and techniques.

The Society of American Mosaic Artists is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of mosaic art and the advancement of mosaic artists through research, education, and networking. For more details on SAMA and its membership, please visit www.americanmosaics.org.

For highlights of the bus tour in Washington DC, click here!

NCECA: Clay Exhibitions in Baltimore

While we were attending the SAMA conference in Washington, Sheila Menzies and fellow THF board member Donna Billick did a “double dip” for a day attending the NCECA conference, which was being held simultaneously in Baltimore. Both events offered a visual feast, but our focus was on the tiles we found in the NCECA Tour de Clay juried exhibitions around Baltimore. Although NCECA is a clay education conference, tiles are actually quite rare at its conferences. We were really happy to find many pieces in some of the most significant venues.

Here are three of our favorites:

“NCECA 2005 Clay National Exhibition,” University of Maryland, Fine Arts Building Gallery. Artist: Bruce Breckenridge, “Huntington Park #2.” Digital image on clay.

“Contemporary Codex: Ceramics and the Book.”
University of Maryland, Commons Gallery.
Artist: Forrest Snyder. Porcelain tiles, untitled.

Baltimore Convention Center NCECA Conference K-12 student exhibition. Artists: Mrs. Wickers 4th Grade Class. Anderson Arts Center, Garden Grove, CA. “Sea-life Mural.” Earthenware and maiolica.

For more images from these exhibits click here.

Sligo Creek Tile Co.

For years we have wanted to visit John and Lynn Hume at Sligo Creek, and being at the SAMA conference in DC provided us with the perfect opportunity to circle the Beltway and find Takoma Park, in Maryland just outside the District. Being admirers of their tiles and being used to seeing them at festivals with what always seemed like hundreds of different designs, I was anticipating a substantial operation. But, after all, putting aside the room required to store your molds, just how much room do you need to make tiles, even a lot of tiles? Not much!

Sligo Creek Tile Co. is nestled into the basement of the Hume’s home on Carroll Avenue with about enough room for John, his handmade press, his electric kilns, and mold storage. And the cats — there appeared to be quite a number — are not allowed down there. What was unexpected was seeing John literally swing from the handle when pressing a tile, and then resting it on his head when removing the mold from the press. These are handmade tiles, every step of the way.

Sligo Creek tiles have a distinct look about them. Like many tiles from the Victorian era, they’re low relief designs in porcelain accented by a variety of transparent glazes that pool and flow, highlighting the design. Opaque glazes are also available. Some of the newer tiles are polychrome using the cuenca technique, raised ridges to keep the glaze colors separate. To see them all                                                                               check out www.sligocreek.com.

Unison Pottery
and Tile Works

Joan and John Gardiner were our hosts for two days in Unison, Virginia, a few miles north of Middleburg, about an hour west of Dulles airport. John is a successful novelist and short story writer, who also takes charge of the family’s dish washing; this leaves Joan to do the cooking, both in her handsomely tiled kitchen and in her nearby studio.

Much of Joan’s work is custom made for site-specific installation by her friend and master tile setter, Steuart Weller of Ashburn. In recent months Joan has teamed up with Rick Conway, theater director at the local Hill School, who has become proficient in tile making,
collaborating with Joan to
exercise their combined,
abundant creativity.

We spent a day with Joan driving through the beautiful Virginia countryside seeking out tile installations, old and new. In particular, Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains houses a marvelous installation of Moravian tiles that’s original to the building plus a more contemporary installation from the Moravian tile works purchased when the church expanded.

Goose Creek Tile Works

That same morning we stopped with Joan to visit with Eric Trueblood, who with his wife Linda and partner Fred Hetzel established a backyard tile works 20 years ago in Lincoln. Eric, having grown up in Doylestown, PA, can’t help but imbue his work with the spirit of Henry Mercer. His hand-cut terra cotta pavers formed from locally excavated clay are wood-fired, creating a subtle variation in tone, tile to tile. Visit www.goosecreektile.com and have a look.

Until June…

Within a few days, we’ll be winging our way to Orlando for the Coverings expo. Then, after being home for just a week, we’ll be off once again initially to Doylestown for the annual tile festival at the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works and then on to The Netherlands with our group of tile enthusiasts. We’ll be back in the office on June 8th, and already we’re looking forward to reporting to you then on our great tile adventures!