Grand Rapids Murals


Last month I traveled to Grand Rapids Michigan to spend some time with family there. While searching for a place to have lunch in the downtown area, we were struck by the the city’s commitment to public art. There were beautiful murals everywhere. Maybe it has something to do with the local art school, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. Most impressive to me were two multi-media pieces: “Imagine That!” (2009) by Tracy Van Duinen, Corey Van Duinen, and Todd Osborne and “The Metaphorest Project” (2011) by Tracy Van Duinen, Todd Osborne, Phil Schuster, and Andy Bellomo. These two murals combined handmade tiles, mosaics, trompe l’oeil painting, printmaking, and sculpture in such imaginative ways. My photos don’t do them justice.


Soundview Playground



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!

UPDATE 3/18/2019

Today I was delighted to receive a message in my email from a resident of Olympic Manor who worked on this project:

“So happy to hear you enjoy the park – I was the volunteer coordinator on this community project. Bronwyn Groman created the designs and Wilbur Hathaway was the lead on the mosaic process. David Ringstrom, a partner at Atelier Landscape Architects provided the layout and original idea. Catherine Weatbrook provided the kiln for all of the tiles for purchase and painting. There were many volunteers and countless hours involved in the completion.” – Deb Stamey

Spring Hill, Pittsburgh


We have this old concrete block garage that’s a bit of an eyesore. I think there’s an opportunity here for an interesting tile installation so I’ve begun to research what others have done in outdoor settings. I started with some of the better know tile projects like the work of Jujol, Gaudi’s collaborator in Barcelona and Simon Rodia’s Watt’s Tower in LA, but then I came across the artist Linda Wallen. She’s done a lot of mosaic projects in Pittsburgh. I’m particulary taken with the houses she’s tiled in the Spring Hill neighborhood. They’re beautiful collages made with materials that she’s gathered or been given. Each mural tells a story, both in the way the fragments have been selected, and in the way they’ve been arranged.

Handmade Tile Festival 2016

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I really enjoyed participating in my first Artisan Tile NW Festival this past weekend. It was alot of fun getting input from visitors to the festival. What I enjoyed most however was seeing the amazing range of beautiful tiles from artists at the show. The people I’ve met from this group are so supportive, helpful, and inspiring.

Road Trip


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We recently returned from an amazing road trip to San Francisco. Along the way we stopped at Point Arena Tileworks owned by artist Matt Matijczyk. Matt was kind enough to break away from mixing his glazes to chat with us about his work. He’s had his shop for years and has done a few commissions but mainly he makes his living by selling tiles to travelers on the Pacific Coastal Highway.

Handmade Tile Exhibit


Romy and I went to the Handmade Tile Exhibit at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture yesterday. It was wonderful to see such a wide range of work from members of Artisan Tile Northwest, the group of artists that organized this exhibit. I was especially inspired by the way some of the artists used their glass and ceramic tiles to create gorgeous pieces for the garden.

Navajo Pottery

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On a recent trip to Grand Canyon National Park, I came across this Navajo pottery in one of the gift shops. I was struck not only by the vibrant colors so characteristic of the region but also the mastery of sgraffito.