Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The tiny hint of violet on this tile is so faint, it almost isn't even there.

Image courtesy of Tile of Spain

Just a little touch of an amethyst haze... Cold and clear. 

Acif Sweet -- Image courtesy of Ceramic Tiles of Italy


 ...sì, è molto dolce

Monday, March 21, 2011


What I saw at Coverings, part 2:

OK. I've had to change gears a bit today and get back into Hesiod's Theogony, which explains the birth of the gods, and even offers one of the first histories of literary criticism. (Don't ask, you wouldn't want to get me started on THAT topic.)

It can be hard to shift gears from tile to poetry... oh, who am I kidding.... I just lump it all together.

Anyway, when I came across this link about Jesus on a tile yesterday, I had to laugh. (My personal opinion is that the son of God would have chosen a nicer quality tile.) The universe seems to always provide a method for synthesis.

And antithesis...
Bon Ton Handmade Tile
 Sing Muse!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Well, I’ve been back from Coverings for a few days now, and I’ve had a chance to catch up on my sleep and to think a bit about all the beautiful tiles I saw while I was there. The show is always a sensory overload situation for me, and it usually takes a few days to digest the massive quantities of information I gather. This year, Coverings was held in Las Vegas, so it was even more overstimulating than usual--but in a good way. ;)

So, what was new at Coverings? ...OK, where do I start? (This is going to take multiple posts.)

Last night’s larger-than-usual moon was one inspiration for tonight’s post.
InterStyle Glass Tile
The image above is two very large slabs of glass which could be used as cabinet doors or counter tops. 

The moon’s a sword of keen, barbaric gold,
Plunged to the hilt into a pitch black cloud.

From Mid-March by Lizette Woodworth Reese 

I was thinking about the moon’s influence on the tides and it occurred to me that I saw a lot of wave patterns in tile this year. 

Stone mosaics from the Walker Zanger Showroom
There were relief tiles--even more than previously--yet the hard geometric shapes of past years seem to have given way to softer forms, such as circles and curves. In case you were wondering how to make cement look sexy, I couldn't take my hands of this new line:

Dimensional cement tile
These small ceramic dots were hard to stop touching, too.
Walker Zanger showroom

It’s a beautiful world, you said,
with these trees, marshes, deserts,
grasses, rivers and seas

and so on. And the moon is really something
in its circuits
of relative radiance. 
from Light-Years by Hester Knibbe

Sicis glass mosaic "Nude"

Eddies and swirls were a theme
There’s something so permanent about a tile wall, and yet, the flowing lines of swirls, circles and waves counterbalance this solidity and permanence by creating movement and giving the surface life. 

... life, light, and energy. Which I guess was something of a theme for a journey to Vegas...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Or, Why I'm Excited to Attend Coverings--Part 2

One of the best parts of going to the same tile trade show for ten years is that I've made some great friends in the industry. In addition to all the tile manufacturers and artisans, many designers, architects, editors, PR folks, and bloggers attend the show.

The Tile of Italy Pavilion
I'm very excited that I'll get to see Jorge Aguayo, Janet Arden, Patti Fasan, Laurie Lyza, Karen Gustafson, Bill Buyok, Wilhem Stephens, Kristin Powers, Karim, and Nawal Motawi, all of whom I've known for a long time. Also, my relatively new friends, Paul Anater, JoAnn Locktov, Christine Whittemore, Lee Harris Nicholson and I are having a tweetup on Monday. (OK, the Oscars-speech part of the post is over. You can wake up now.)

Another reason I love going to Coverings is to discover new tile lines, new technologies, and new industry contacts. It's a lot of work and a lot of fun, too.

Today, I received the itinerary for the press tour, and it looks like it will be another show loaded with information and gorgeous tile. The various tile pavilions have invited us for press conferences, booth tours and meals. It's an international group, so many languages are spoken at Coverings. Plus, the Italian Pavilion always has wonderful espresso, Tiles of Spain makes tapas and paella, and there's invariably wine representing tile regions from all over the world. What's not to like?

Glass Windows by Trikeenan Tileworks

If you're attending Coverings and you'd like to meet me, post a comment (they're moderated,) or you can DM me on Twitter. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why I'm excited to go to Coverings, part 1

Here is a lovely mosaic design by the divine Sara Baldwin:

Weeping willow design
If you're a long-time reader of my blog, by now you already know that Sara is the founder of New Ravenna Mosaics and Stone, and that I think Sara is extremely talented. What you may not know is that last year at the Art Tile Party, between her rock band's sets, she tried to convince me to start a band of my own. I'm still laughing about that idea, although the concept of trying something completely radical has stuck with me. (I'll get back to you on how that will manifest itself, after I figure it out.)

Sara is brave and I admire that about her. In addition to starting her own company and band, she's kissed a camel and can even get away with wearing a mosaic mini-dress. I'm pretty sure that qualifies her as a tile rock star.

Next month, at Coverings, I'm hoping to see Sara and her latest mosaic creations!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Starry night

It was another great night for a walk, and the stars were out...

Which reminded me of this cool glass and porcelain tile by GranitiFiandre.

And a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
Les gens ont des étoiles qui ne sont pas les mêmes. Pour les uns, qui voyagent, les étoiles sont des guides. Pour d'autres elles ne sont rien que de petites lumières. Pour d'autres qui sont savants elles sont des problèmes. Pour mon businessman elles étaient de l'or. Mais toutes ces étoiles-là se taisent. Toi, tu auras des étoiles comme personne n'en a...
If you're having trouble imagining a whole floor of this, let me help you:
Jewel Collection by GranitiFiandre
These tiles come in sizes up to 24' x 24" and are available in four colors: Eclipse, Gem, Infinity, and Shine.

Bonne nuit et faites de beaux rêves!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bravery encore

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about bravery in making a commitment to tile. Making the right choice is obviously very important, since tile has the potential to last indefinitely.

Byzantine mosaic floor
This 1,500-year old mosaic was recently discovered at Hirbet Madres on the Judean Hills in Israel. These tiny tessarae represent foxes, lions, fish, and peacocks--like the one shown here. Originally, archeologists assumed the structure was a synagogue, but after the excavation revealed stones carved with crosses, they realized that it was actually a church.

About eight years ago, a friend of mine installed some very intense 2" x 2" encaustic tiles in her kitchen. I wrote an article about her house the following year. Although the editor changed my copy, making the article rather inarticulate, I thought the images were great. Here's a close up:

English encaustic tiles from a now-defunct factory

Pretty cool, huh? They wouldn't work for everybody, but my friend is very creative and these suit her fun personality and her art-filled home. It seems to me that choosing these tiles was a brave thing to do. Here they are in-situ:


That isn't actually a mosaic over the stove, it's a painting by her aunt, who happens to be a famous author. (Yes, you've heard of her, and no, I won't tell. But I will give you a hint--she writes books about brave children.;)

Recently, my friend mentioned how much she still loves her backsplash. I'm very happy for her-- especially since I helped her find those tiles in the first place!