I’ve been wanting to do this project since we moved into our house in North Beach in 2015 but I finally got around to it this year. It’s been really fun getting back into tessellations and color after a year of doing almost exclusively black and white sgraffito tiles. It took awhile to figure out the best way to install the tiles on our bumpy stucco garage but I think the cement board was a good choice. The installation went very smoothly. I’m starting to think about ideas for another panel on the opposite side of the door.
I’m finally getting around to posting the full set of dachshund/dachshund mix tiles commissioned by the couple in South Dakota earlier this year. I really enjoyed making this series and I think it illustrates the range of photographs I receive from customers. Often people ask me is if the photo they provide is good enough to work from. Typically it’s easier to work from sharp, detailed photos but sometimes that’s not possible (particularly if the portrait is of a dog who has passed along time ago). Most of the photos this couple sent me were great but a couple proved challenging. That said, making a nice tile from a challenging photo is very rewarding.
I love the way the tiles are being displayed in their newly renovated kitchen.
The weather is finally starting to get nice here in Seattle. Yesterday, I took Sam and Louie for a walk through Olympic Manor, a section of North Beach that has a high concentration of lovely midcentury homes and beautiful views of Puget Sound. At the east end of the neighborhood, behind a grove of trees, there’s a small playground that I’ve never really noticed. On the perimeter of the play area stand five large concrete columns covered in wonderful mosaics depicting plants and animals of the pacific northwest. According to a plaque the project was completed in 2003. I’ve searched the internet for the name of the artist but haven’t had any luck yet. If you find yourself in this part of the world, it’s worth a visit!
This morning I hosted an open studio for the members of Artisan Tile NW. Rather than demonstrate how I create my tessellating patterns, I decided to explain some of the basic geometric rules to make tessellations so that they could design their own. I’m not sure these women were expecting me to put them to work but they all picked up the concept very quickly. Some even began transforming their tessellating shapes into animals. A big thanks to this creative and fun group for being such good sports!
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a couple in South Dakota to make a series of tiles honoring all of the dachshunds and dachshund mixes they’ve owned through the years. I made several versions of Malie (above) using a few different underglaze colors and a few different clay bodies. They ultimately chose a terracotta underglaze on a porcelain clay. I plan to post the series of eight tiles when they have been installed and photographed by the owners. This project made me realize that I really should be offering other colors, besides black for my Scratching Dogs Etsy site https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScratchingDogs.
In addition to black, I’ve added reddish brown, terracotta, and Royal Blue to start. These are portraits of Diamond, a Pitbull mix recently adopted from the Seattle Humane Society http://www.seattlehumane.org.
While working on the dachshund series, my kids reminded me that I had not carved a portrait of Louie yet so I made a couple of Louie tiles too (Louie is the Shih tzu/Chihuahua mix that we adopted from Homeward Pet a few months ago). http://www.homewardpet.org
Just wrapped up my first year of “Scratching Dogs” on Etsy. I’m very grateful to all the dog lovers who visited this blog or my Etsy shop. For those of you who ordered tiles of your furry pals, thank you for trusting me with the task.
I’m very excited to explore some new ideas in the coming year including experimenting with a variety of underglaze colors. Brown, terra-cotta, and royal blue tiles will be available soon. In addition to tiles, I plan to get back into making planters. These might be an item available on “Scratching Dogs” in the spring.
Happy New Year!
Last weekend, I participated in the 12th annual Artisan Tile Northwest Handmade Tile & Art Festival. It was another inspiring showcase of tiles made in clay, glass, concrete, and stone. I was also excited to see some of the other arts and crafts that many of the exhibitors displayed. There were beautiful bowls, bird houses, ornaments, and jewelry – something for everyone.
This was the first year the festival was held at the Mt. Baker Community Club. The elegant space had high ceilings, hardwood floors, and was perfectly suited for the number of artist’s tables and visitors that turned out on a rainy weekend. A special thanks to Allison Moore Peel for organizing the show and Jaki Reed for assisting her.