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. They are going to incorporate them into their new kitchen backsplash so requested a color that would work with the existing materials. 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.
I can’t believe it’s already October! The Artisan Tile Northwest’s 12th Annual Tile Festival is just around the corner – be sure to check it out. This year’s festival will be held at the Mt. Baker Community Club in Seattle on November 4th and 5th.
I finally came up with a concept to finish the Commemorative Tile. While a bit labor intensive (due to several layers of underglazes and firings) it’s actually pretty simple. I decided not to glaze them. This was a difficult decision because I truly love glaze. Unfortunately, glaze smothers detail and sometimes that’s fine but I didn’t like the results on this tile.
This year the Tile Festival is allowing non-tile work to be included so I’m thinking of making a series of Pug Mugs to accompany my “Scratching Dogs” tiles. Definitely going with a canine theme this year.
Also, I’ve been busy making some boards for the garage project. I don’t think these with be ready to show at the festival but maybe I’ll include them in a photo album I plan to set out that will feature the tessellation panels. I’ll be posting more photos of these as they come together.
Artisan Tile Northwest’s Annual Tile & Art Festival will take place on November 4th & 5th at Mount Baker Community Club. For more details go to: http://artisantilenw.org/annual-festival/
Each year the Festival has a competition where artists can submit a tile that explores a particular theme. The winner of this competition is asked to design a commemorative tile for the following year. It’s traditionally been an image that evokes something unique to the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few examples: http://artisantilenw.org/2013-tile-fest/commemorative-tiles/
As last year’s winner I am honored to be working on the 2017 commemorative tile. This year I’ve carved over 50 dog tiles, so I wanted to incorporate a dog in some way. In a nod to the persistent rain of our region, I chose to combine an umbrella (which frankly no one really uses) with the ubiquitous French Bulldog. I’m excited to try out some different glaze options, possibly combining glossy glazes with matte or unglazed areas of the tile. More photos to come…