E-News Summer 2013


Here’s What’s Below
Vance Koehler Honored
Tile Heritage Award / Tile Heritage Prize
Jenny Meeker, Invaluable Volunteer
Tile Heritage Resource Directory
JUMP IN: Make a DONATION for THF Archives
Tile Festival in Doylestown
Performance” Scores for Alma College
Austin (Texas) Icons Survive
Hamilton Tile, A Buried Treasure
Mural Tells the Story of Ceramics
Wish List” for the Archives

Founded in July 1987 Tile Heritage celebrates its 26th anniversary this year. Supporters like YOU... members, major contributors, industry sponsors, generous grantors... everyone... have made possible the continued fulfillment of the Foundation’s mission to Document and Preserve tile history in the U.S., both past and present. THANK YOU! Comments about E-News? Share them for posting!

Vance Koehler Honored
Among a small group of tile friends gathered at the home of THF board member Katia McGuirk in Doylestown, PA, Vance Koehler, the former curator of the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, was presented with the Tile Heritage Award for his dedication to research, his preeminence as a tile historian and his respect and fondness for contemporary tiles as well. The 6x6 award tile was designed and produced by Joan Gardiner, Unison Pottery and Tile Works in Middleburg, Virginia.

What is a Tile Heritage Award?
In 1993 the board of directors of the Tile Heritage Foundation wished to acknowledge those individuals who embodied the Tile Heritage mission in some exemplary way: promoting an awareness and appreciation of ceramic surfaces in the United States. The board also decided that the award itself should be a tile designed by a tile maker of their choosing whose aesthetic related significantly to the award recipient.
Since its inception, twelve people have received the
Tile Heritage Award: Kenneth Trapp (’93); Donato Grosser (’94); Frank Giorgini (’95); Carolyna Marks (’96); Susan Tunick (’97); Norman Karlson (’98); Barbara White Morse (’99); Jane Larson (’01); Eric Astrachan (’06); Robert Winter (’09); Joe Koons (’10); and Vance Koehler (’13).
The corresponding tile makers were Dale Wiley, Karen Koblitz, Lynda Curtis and Libby Donahoe, Pat Custer Denison, Anne Currier and Gretchen Krouse, David Ellison, Linda Ellett, Kenyon Lewis, Don Schreckengost, Marie and Delia Tapp and Steve Moon, Frank Giorgini, and Joan Gardiner.

And what is a Tile Heritage Prize?
A Tile Heritage Prize is awarded to an artist whose tile is selected by the juror of an exhibition as best representing the ceramic traditions in North America. The prize is monetary and normally includes a Centurian ($100) membership in Tile Heritage. The prize is offered upon request of the exhibition host.
The most recent Tile Heritage Prize winner was Jetty O’Rorke Uebner at
Mud Daubers’ Pottery in Cathey’s Valley, California for her “Yosemite Falls.” The exhibition, America’s ClayFest, presented by the Art League of Lincoln, was held at the Blue Line Arts Gallery in Roseville, California; the juror was Richard Shaw, recently retired as professor in the art department at UC Berkeley.
About “Yosemite Falls” the artist writes: “I am fascinated by how water in the form of snow pack, cascades and mist from waterfalls, runoff in rivers, plus buried in the ground traveling in fissures in the rocks can sustain the many forms of life at all levels.”
Click here for a
YouTube video of the exhibit!

Invaluable Volunteer Jenny Meeker, born and raised in Healdsburg, California, has volunteered her services to Tile Heritage as an archivist for the past six months. To complement her volunteer hours this summer, she has applied for and received a scholarship. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Humanities degree from UC Santa Barbara where she “stood in awe” surrounded by all the beautiful Tunisian tiles. She works for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County serving as Supervisor of the Morning Program and as Program Coordinator after school.
“I discovered the Tile Heritage Foundation when I answered a volunteer ad placed in the Healdsburg Tribune. My empty mornings were soon filled with Batchelder and Mercer files, and I found that I not only enjoyed learning about these amazing tile makers, I also liked archiving the files and working towards the main goal of helping to create the Tile Heritage Foundation online finding-aid index.
“I am a detail orientated person who likes to be organized and to see a job through to the end. I am familiar with the archiving/organizational process as I worked in a school library for several years as the Library Technician. I have also been known to archive my own personal books and photographs, and have been, on more than one occasion, deemed, ‘the historian’ by different friends and family members. 
  “I find volunteering for the Tile Heritage Foundation fascinating and rewarding.”

THF Resource Directory Now Available
Tile Heritage has recently published the 10th Edition of the Tile Heritage Resource Directory for 2013-2014 - made possible by funding from Tile Heritage
INDUSTRY SPONSORS. We are already compiling information for its next edition. Unique in its content, breadth and format, the THF Directory is designed to be used as a resource by architects and designers, preservationists, historians, collectors, dealers, installers as well as tile artists, artisans and manufacturers. With both alphabetical and zip code indices, the directory is sectioned as follows: Appraisers/Collectors/Historians; Antique Tile Dealers; Tile Makers; Tile Specialists; Mosaicists; Tile Installation; Tile Sales; Suppliers; Educators; Publications; Museums; and Organizations.Price: $25 (THF members $20; free to $60+ members). Available online.
… We’re social . . connect to THF…
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JUMP IN! Make a for the Directly DONATE to THF Archives
Go to the “WISH LIST”
or click here for a MAIL-IN print version "Wish List" for Donors
(Contributions to Tile Heritage Foundation are tax-deductible as allowed by law.)

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Performance” Scores at Alma College
Carrie Anne Parks, Professor of Art & Design at Alma College, a small liberal arts school in central Michigan, has created several architectural tile projects since arriving on campus some 30 years ago, often in collaboration with her students.
The college was planning an addition to its music building in 2010 when Parks was asked to get involved. With input from members of the music department and her musician colleagues, the process of “performance” came to the fore.
Meanwhile the architects addressing campus-wide improvements wished to give visitors a sense of the work being done within the different buildings, so Parks decided to position images of musicians from four of the major ensembles over the windows of the music building’s new entrance lobby.
The tiles for each panel were cut from 36” x 72” slabs of stoneware clay. For each tile, edges were finished, and backs were textured and numbered, before the bisque firing. The tiles were fired again at least twice, after the underglaze painting and application of clear and colored glazes.


Each time tiles were removed from the kiln, the panels were reassembled like large, fragile puzzles. Mounted on backer board, the tiles were grouted with a black grout, which from a distance resembles the leading on stained glass windows. Aluminum frames protect the edges of the tiles. Installation of the panels was done by a local contractor under the direction of college facilities director, Doug Dice.

For Parks, each new installation brings its own headaches and lessons, but this piece now looks as if it has always been there. And the opportunity for undergraduate students to experience the design and production of major public art projects is a really special thing.
Carrie Anne, congratulations!

Austin (Texas) Icons Survive Demolition
Austin Icons-post

“The powers that be at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport decided to renovate all the main concourse bathrooms and have removed all the "Austin Icon" tiles I made for ABIA in 1997 and 1998. They will be replacing the tile artwork with tumbled limestone. The airport was supposed to be about Austin, featuring Austin art. When I made those tiles, I felt I was making something for all time. It meant a lot to me to have made a small imprint on Austin and ABIA.”
Claudia Reese at Cera-Mix Studio in Austin initiated an email campaign to save her tiles, asking people to send a message of support to Austin’s Aviation Exhibits Coordinator. It worked! There was an apparent avalanche of emails! The tiles are being saved for a re-installation at the airport, a new entrance, to be completed in 2015. “WOW!   They saw the light and changed their plans. I am very gratified by the outpouring of support, and happy with the conclusion.”

Hamilton Tile Becomes Buried Treasure
Just imagine taking a leisurely autumn walk along a familiar trail in a sometimes dry creek bed near home in Ector (Fannin County) Texas, northeast of Dallas, and discovering buried treasure. “We hike this creek bed near our home a few times a year if conditions allow,” wrote Steve Dane, “and have found several antique bottles and the like but nothing quite like this. We are very excited to have stumbled across this beautiful tile. Anything you may know will be helpful.”
The scene is typical of a Hamilton tile as this company produced a number of tiles with “hunting” themes designed for a fireplace facade. The founder and principal designer of the company,
Adolf Metzner, was a German gentleman who came to the U.S. just before the Civil War and served in the Union army. 6x12 was a comfortable size for Hamilton's decorative tile makers; many different designs were offered in their product line. The tile was made between 1883 and 1901, probably throughout this time period.

Mural Tells the Story of Ceramics: Earth, Water, Fire and The Potter

Brad Keeler (1913-1952) grew up immersed in a world of clay. Born in Lincoln, California where his father, Rufus B. Keeler, worked as a ceramic engineer and designer for Gladding, McBean & Co., he moved with his family to National City where Rufus served as superintendent at California China Products Co., then to Huntington Park where his dad founded Southern California Clay Products Co., then California Clay Products (Calco) in South Gate and finally Malibu Potteries, all before Brad was out of high school.

In 1939 with virtually no formal education in art or ceramics, Brad established a small studio in his garage in Glendale where he developed his skill as a clay modeler of figurines, especially birds of every description. From there his business grew into larger and larger factory settings that blossomed in the post war years.
In 1951 Keeler commissioned
Arthur and Jean Ames, among the elite in the decorative arts in Southern California, to produce a tile mural for the lobby of his newest ceramics factory in San Juan Capistrano. A proud moment in his short life.


“Wish List” for the Archives

JUMP IN to help FUND the Tile Heritage Archives in REACHING the next level.
CREATING an online DIGITAL INDEX of information on file DESIGNED to KEEP the

Your contribution is valued and essential for a THF web-accessed index!
By the end of 2013 THF is focused on raising an additional $15,000. for this purpose, matching an anonymous gift!
There is a three year plan with full budgets outlined for 2014 & 2015.
(Details are available in a formal Strategic Plan document. Email: foundation@tileheritage.org for full details)


TODAY . . . click the button . .
(Contributions to Tile Heritage Foundation are tax-deductible as allowed by law.)
CONTACT info: Tile Heritage Foundation - P.O. Box 1850 - Healdsburg CA 95448
Phone: 707-431-8453 Email:

Tile Heritage is celebrating 26 years of gathering the History of the American Tile Industry -­ PRESERVING IT FOR POSTERITY.To date Sponsor, Member and Grant FUNDING accomplishments include:
• Digitizing and forming a searchable database for the sizable slide and photography collection of over 42,000 images.
• Digitally recorded, accessioned and archived historic tiles that have been donated to Tile Heritage over the past 26 years, representing a collection numbering over 4,000 different American tiles.
• Accessioned and archived the historic tile catalog collection of over 600 items as well as the collection of over 3000 historic and contemporary periodicals.
Now our full focus in on the ephemeral (historic & contemporary tile industry documents) files that contain roughly 40,000+ items. Work is underway, under the direction of a volunteer professional archivist, THF staff and other volunteers preparing the material for the database and internet accessed finding­-aid index.

There are many ways to assist!
Here’s a Menu, a Wish List for Donors:

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or click here for a MAIL-IN print version “Wish List” for Donors

See who Sponsors Tile Heritage Foundation!

… connect to Tile Heritage …….
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Join in! Email: foundation@tileheritage.org
Send Tile Heritage your ‘Tile Tales’ - Share pictures of interesting installations both historic and contemporary as well as restorations and other tile treasures! Submission guide lines

Summer 2013 E-NEWS In Print
Link to E-News prior to Spring 2010