Tile Festival. Tile Feast.

Last Friday I shared with you the unique historical gem that is the Moravian Pottery and Tile works. Today – I wanted to showcase some of the tile artists who I had the good fortune to exhibit with at the annual show.

First up: Mary Philpott:

Raven duo

We talked of myth and fantasy… and Crow Girls

Mary Philpott tiles!

A long time fan – I was thrilled to see these beauties in person!

Mary’s tiles are ” Contemporary Art Tile. Design within a Historical Tradition
Sculptural work exploring Flora and Fauna”. I have been a huge fan of her work on Instagram and was delighted to meet and chat with her in person. Her mythic/folklore references, her choice in animals, her respect/acknowledgement of the Art and Crafts style in her work… you can see why this all resonates with me.

Her images themselves are so lively, and her use of line! She glazes her porcelain pieces with her own glaze recipes – the translucency accentuating the carved lines : masterful! I could go on all day.

Philpott collage

Next I would like to introduce you to Earthen Craft Pottery from Lansing Michigan:

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This one currently is hanging over my desk…

Brian and Katie were neighbors in my tent! Heavens. Their precise design/line work! Their delicious glazes! And as   a person of Celtic descent as well, it spoke to me on many levels. (Their stoneware tiles are fired to ^5 for you clay people out there.) They also had pendants – I have a stunning knot work pendant I think I may bead for myself!

eartehn craft tiles

My direct neighbor was Claudia McGill. I viewed her tiles for 2 days, and continued to be drawn in – both due to her exuberant use of color and her whimsical style. Her subjects of daily life are relatable and engaging; from sleepy cats to street scenes with garbage trucks. I liked her interiors the best. ( Terra cotta tiles, painted in underglazes, fired to ^05)

C. Gill tiles

Last – but not least is Mission Guild tiles. Their stunning tiles are exemplary of the Arts and Crafts style. Paired with hand crafted wooden frames they are truly gorgeous. Their work references many mottos and motifs from the Arts and Crafts era in the us.

Their tiles are earthenware – fired to ^04 – and there are some great glaze effects!

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Mission Guild also works in Metal clay. Its lovely to see these two side by side! Makintosh rose.jpg

The Moravian Pottery Tile Festival is a tour de force in the ceramic tile world. I was happy to see colleagues, and meet new fellow tile artists. I look forward to a reunion next year! ( The tile festival occurs in May each year. )

 

 

 

 

 

The Moravian Pottery – and Tile Festival!

( This post was originally published on the Art Elements blog – by yours truly.)

It was a temperate day in May and the clouds were fluffy…

Snapped as I was unloading. Great place to spend the weekend!

Last month I was thrilled to return to the Tile Festival at the Moravian Pottery and Tile works in Doylestown, PA. The historic pottery/tile works has been in operation since 1898, and hosts a spectacular artist’s exhibit and show each Spring. Artists from as far as Canada, Alaska, even Russia were represented this year. ( More on that in my companion post.)

The Tile works is a unique building – cast in place, in concrete, and studded from top to bottom with mosaics and inset tiles. Henry Chapman Mercer worked with this style of construction for not only the Tile Works, but also his “home” ( mansion? castle?) named Fonthill. Both are located in parkland owned and maintained by Bucks Co. PA.

Kraken mosaic in situ.

Henry Chapman Mercer was from this area, and after school ( Harvard and U Penn Law) and extensive travel in Europe – he settled down in the area. He served as the Curator of American and Prehistoric Archaeology for University of Pennsylvania in the early 1890s. This lead to his love of and research in American artifacts, and later pottery; he apprenticed with a local German American potter. He was heavily influenced by the American Arts and Crafts Movement – and founded the MPTW in 1898.

Courtyard, with chimneys. And yes, the chimneys have mosaic bands of decoration!

The gift shop, tucked into a Medieval style barrel vault.

The tiles made at the MPTW are diverse – and range from impressed terra cotta pavers to sculptural tiles designed for mosaic use. There are flora and fauna, ships, ancient cities, Colonial era occupations… and many Classical and literary references. They tile employ both glazes and colored slips – playing with the contrast of matte and glossy. Inspirations run the gamut from Medieval and Byzantine eras, the Celtic Revival, and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Original designs still in production!

I take this picture every time I visit. There is something so evocative about the idea of working in that space…

There are literally tiles everywhere, every surface. Shown here: “The Quarrel”, castle, triton, and a vignette from “The New World” fireplace.

“Bookplate” Mosaic panel – designed by Mercer for his friend Dr. R. Bell. Based on an actual book plate.

The clays used were originally locally sourced, and today the MPTW uses similar. comparable clay bodies. As seen in the picture above – at times color is NOT applied – but the tiles are “cindered”. The term is what I would call a sagger firing: tiles are placed inside a ceramic container, with sawdust. They are them fired in the kiln – created a reduction atmosphere in the saggar/container. This results in the clay absorbing carbon from the combustible sawdust – which darkens the clay body itself. ( Ceramicists: simple definition for the lay people, forgive me) The mosaic catalog on the MPTW website showcases the New World series and has many examples of these “cindered” tiles used in mosaics. The New World Series? It ranges from Vikings,Atlantis, and  Aztecs, to Raleigh and Powhatan!

A polychrome zodiac!

I find this place to be infinitely inspiring. It makes me love terra cotta all over again. And I will admit to ideas and plans for some smallish mosaics of my own. There are classes and apprenticeships available. An tours, of course. So if you are in the area – please take a look. It’s truly living history.

As to the show? The tile festival itself? More on that – Stay tuned.

Coming out of hibernation… new tile designs

This has seemed like the longest winter and the shortest winter! But Spring has finally sprung – even with Her last gasp of icy weather. I have not been idle – even thought the posts here have been sporadic. With the new season awakening  I will breathe new life into this blog!

Since this is the time of year when I have no real shows to speak of – I have been designing and sculpting new tiles for my Mythic Nature line. Here is a visual journal of the 4 new designs – and one revision. These designs will be available starting with my show at Spoutwood Farm’s May Day Faerie Festival! 

The triple raven design will be a nice partner to my Triple hares design. I left the bird bodies free of feather/texture as I can customize that by hand. Some will be painted with feather detail – others will be glazed in glazes that “break” over texture.

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Mandrake tile in progress

The Mandragora – or mandrake tile is a new vision of a motif I had before. The previous version was from a Medieval woodcut. This is a more organic version – with leafy swirls and tendrils. The text will be carved into the scrollwork individually.

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” A book is a dream…” sketch

Neil Gaiman said: ” A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”  This dreamy tile was inspired by things I love: pets, coffee, books… While I do not currently have a cat, it embodies cosiness to me. All the creatures, sharing space on a lazy relaxed day filled with fabulous reads. And coffee. Always coffee. This tile  – Im really excited – to do patterns in the armchair! Textures! Sgraffito! Glazed patterns!  SO many ideas.

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Sculpting the forms.

A fairy door – just testing the mold here. Matte finishes, speckles of moss and lichen on the rocks. Metallic glazes on hinges….

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And this is new for me. Last year I created a commemorative design, an Art Nouveau faerie, for the 25th anniversary of Spoutwood’s Faerie Festival. ( If interested – email me – there are still a few available.) I loved the figure – and decided to adapt the design for continued use. I see her with starry sky behind, holding the moon. I see her as an Earth spirit with a globe. I see her with florals, or leaves, or an orb of fire. Stay tuned!

I’m really excited and invigorated with this new body of work. I have fallen in love with clay again. Please sign up for my newsletter if you are interested in new work-in-progress pix and news of upcoming shows! (Sign up on the top left. ) 

Magic in mosaics

So – earlier this week I mentioned “art camp” as Lesley and I had taken to calling it. And how we went to the AVAM. ( My first time!). So the week of our vacation held another local/art/field trip first for me. Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Garden in Philly.

I knew Zagar was a tile/mosaic master and eccentric visionary type artist. ( He even taught a work show earlier this year at Hacienda Mosaico in Mexico) I knew he had many public works around the South St. section of the city. I was prepared to be delighted. I was in actuality inspired and blown away.

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Full scale wall mural installation on the same block as the Gardens. Note: dogs! 

There is a sense of freedom and chaos in the murals – yet they are all designed to have composition and flow. There are commercial tiles integrated amidst fragmented industrial tiles and artists OOAK tiles. There are mirrors in abundance to play with light and reflection; incorporating the viewer into the piece… and a chance for random mosaic selfies, I will admit.

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I was completely enchanted with other ceramic pieces incorporated into mosaics in such a non traditional way. 

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The inner courtyard at the PMG is simply… epic. 

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Art is the center of the real world. 

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This sanctuary to be inhabited by my ides and my fantasies. 

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The garden is excavated down and interlocking pathways are built of concrete, flotsam & jetsam, found objects… 

The gardens were a personal piece that Zagar worked on  – the space was his studio – for app. 8 years. When the land owner wanted to sell/demolish the installation, a grassroots community organization saved the PMG, and it now functions as a non profit organization. I would recommend it to anyone, tourist or not, artist or not. Its a momentous undertaking that is impressive, inspirational, fun yet gritty, filled with joie d’ vivre.

I’ll just sit and watch the clouds roll by and ponder the meaning of life… and how mosaics may feature in new work this fall…

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May. More like Mayhem…

 Mayhem most definitely. 

The month of May – the one that is over half gone asI write this? Whew. So many wonderful things… here is a whirlwind tour to catch up. I do resolve to return to a regular scheduled blog presence, but you KNOW how things are… 

CPS article

I have a feature article published in “Cloth Paper Scissors”!!! The article features the mixed media pieces shown above; combining metal, shell, fibers, wood, found objects…The original (pictured on the left) was inspired by a short story by Charles DeLint entitled “The Conjure Man”. You can read all the details on the original blog post if you desire. Or for the step by step details pick up a copy of “Cloth Paper Scissors“.  

my Novel art

I took a break from clay and beads to return to books, altered books to be precise. This was for a library fundraiser  called “Novel Art” for the Ligonier library in PA. I knew of the event from Andrew Thornton as its his town… It was great fun to do something so different, and for a worthy cause. My piece is a shrine built inside an old hardback. The theme ws inspired by the ttile “Singing Waters” which instantly meant SIREN to me. She is polymer, with sheet music behind her. The ocean image on the left is transparent so text reads through.  

new tiles!

I am always adding new tiles to my library! Here you see the Harpy and the Mermaid of Zennor that debuted at Spoutwood Faerie Festival. This week I started a Greek Sphinx – another in the series of sassy women from myth, and  a Ganesha. You can see a bit of my process as the sphinx is sketched out, tahn built up. Next she will be carved into detail. 

Group shot Spoutwood

Spoutwood! What a wonderful festival! Why do I never take enough pictures?! The weather was gorgeous! The crowds were huge! And I love seeing old froends and making new!!!

me and Em

When worlds collide: my teacher’s aide and friend Emma also off work to cavort with the fae… 

for the wood fire

This week and last have been a frenzy! (Check out #creativefrenzy on Instagram) I signed up rather last minute for a “Norigama” firing at the Perkins Center for the Arts. I have three weeks to create and dry and fire… 20-3- pieces. Whoa.

CABM

And I am involved in the creation of a great new auction site on Facebook: Creative Artist Bead Market. The goal is to showcase the best of the best, quality ceramic beads that are truly artist made. Hand made. Its an auction sirte, great fun, and a growing community. I like this new model as Etsy has completely sold out… But also – you will see a few new pendant designs in the picture above! Hare! Fox! Mermaid! 

All this and more detailed in my newsletter! Sign up here! ( top right column sign up box) 

See? May IS mayhem.

Until next week… 

For the love of lino…

 This week is brought to you from the Dining Room table, my new temporary studio. I am tending a furry kid, who needs darn near constant watching… as he worked long and hard, in stealth, to remove his sutures. He is an angel IF I am in the room. 

DR studio

I have been working on my daily art journal cards – the ones to fill my vintage Rolodex. And I have been carving linoleum. 

Lino desk

There are new Celtic and mythic designs in the works. These lino blocks can be pressed into clay to create a detailed, low relief tile. Perfect for painting! There above – the Uffingtom horse, an ancient chalk figure from Britain. Below: previously carved Celtic knot, swirly cresent moon, with a test print of sorts, and a small triskele, perfect for pendants. 

Love Lino collage

I have always loved linoleum printmaking. And this was a focus of mine in San Diego when my ceramcis studio access was severely limited. I have been incorporating linoleum carved designs into my beads/pendants for a while, but I had a wonderful lightbulb idea… to create prints and tiles in tandem. My original drawings, whether my designs, or historical references; pressed into clay, printed onto paper. Working in a series, different colors, maybe some hand tinted prints. The idea is very exciting to me! (I wont be able to take these to all my shows as some jury processes are more limiting than others… )

Pendant designs

A trio of Celtic designs, all under 2″. I want to test them in clay today! 

Uffington stamp

Working in parallel series – the Uffington horse. Pressed into clay the horse design will be raised, allowing me to easily glaze the background and keep the horse white. 

 

Ok – off to the studio, I mean the dining room. I love my job! Stay tuned for test prints and test pressings on the FB page ASAP!

 

Bead Soup Blog Party 2013 aka treasures by mail…

 I am not going to use many words here… just pictures. Because you see – my Bead Soup arrived from the lovely Jennifer Cabic – and I want to head to the studio. 

 Here is what I sent to Jennifer

My soup sent

Top L to R: my ceramic charm pairs, gems/Ceramic discs – Marsha Neal Studio. Copper pendant – Andrew Thornton. Ceramic labyrinth – me. gems/stick pearls, gems!

Bottom – the ceramic milagro focal, resin clasp with antique postcard, resin focal collaged with vintage stamp. I know I sent a large soup. I have trouble deciding, and well… once I got started…. 

Here is what I recieved:  

Soup received

Brass focal bead, coral, jasper, lampwork, and the most FAB metal clay clasp of Jennifer’s. Oh and that sweet tiny charm, too!

This is a perfect soup. The ingredients are all great quality, and I love that there is a piece by my partner herself. This is not my palette at all – the perfect challenge… and with such nice materials…. I am glad we have a little time to “live with” the treasures, you know – think, fondle, arrange, fondle… 

I will keep you posted! First I have reveals for Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month ( Feb 28) and Tesori Trovati’s Challenge of Music (March 1) I need to get to work… 

 

 

Happy May Day! (News from the studio of Jenny Davies-Reazor)

Looking for the One Crayon Color Blog Hop? Click here!

(My Spring newsletter, complete with images. May seem a bit more formal in tone… But it does have all the scoop regarding where I will be when!)

Maypole

Happy May Day! Welcome Spring!

 

What a wonderful season when Mother Nature puts on her best floral finery and entices us to spend time with her out of doors! I hope you are enjoying the season, rain and shine, wherever you are. Things have been busy and bountiful and blossoming in the studio as well. I am happy to announce 4 new tile designs, and a new ceramic pendant design. I have been balancing my time between my two studios: spending time glazing and firing in the ceramics world and making mixed media magic happen in various forms! 

new tiles clay

new tiles glaze

 

I created a series of new mixed media collages for a show at Caffe Gelato, a local restaurant. I am pleased with the results – they are a departure from my recent collages. These are smaller, more streamlined. I focused on color and composition and simplified the symbolic content. 

Tree of life collage

“Tree of Life” collage. 12″ x 12″ Mixed media on canvas. 

 

 

I have continued my “Return to Metals” as it seems to echo in my head. While I have been creating jewelry since I was a teen, I concentrated in metals and painting in college. The metals where pushed aside by a love of clay for many years, and now they are returning to the fore. Clay is not going anywhere! But I am enjoying working my collage aesthetic into small intimate wearable pieces. 

Pre Raphaelite "portholes"

Pre-Raphaelite inspired window pendants – stamped copper, brass/nickel silver, mica, gems…

 

And tis the season of shows and festivals as well. Let me entice you with some local and regional offerings. Please visit the linked sites for detailed information, and I hope to see you out and about this Spring!


 

May 2012 – Caffe Gelato, Newark DE – ongoing exhibit on mixed media collages with Betsy Molina Mortenson

 

May 4-6th – Spoutwood May Day Faerie Festival, Glen Rock PA – The East Coast’s oldest and most magical Faerie Festival! Set amidst the rolling hills, streams, and forest glens of Spoutwood Farm this weekend festival is a haven for creators of fantasy and folklore inspired art, craft, wearables… And fantastic music! Read a review of the festival at: “Open, Gates of Faerieland”. 

 

June 2 – Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival, Elmer NJ – this day long concert/faire/festival is a wonderful event. Support the arts in south Jersey! Great music and a beautiful setting. See the website for ticket info and this year’s line up. ( Trivia: I taught jewelry making at Appel Farm’s Summer Arts Camp for 2 summers after college.) 

 

June 15-16 – Chester Co. Craft Guild Spring Show, Downingtown, PA – A new show for me! Local artists and artisans working in a variety of mediums, contemporary and traditional crafts. 

Bethany. Beach. Boardwalk. Beautiful…

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The day dawned cloudy and a little hazy, but that did not last long. I had a great spot on the boards, at the top of the main drag in town. 

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The dunes and the beach as my backdrop!

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For this show I was in the “Mixed Media” category. So my jewelry display had to be limited, just ceramic components. But they were very popular…

hat

I never wear hats. Thank heavens I had borrowed an umbrella from Betsy!!!

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reunion

Pleaseant surprise! Kim was a student of mine whose Grandparents live in Bethany. I was thrilled to see her, to catch up and to meet…

Jack

Jack! (And her husband, of course!)

 

Sorry this was rather brief. This is a big week. Today is my birthday, and I had a productive studio day – mixed media collages are in progress for this weekend at Artsfest. Tomorrow I have to finish earrings for a blog swap, and the infamous Bead Soup! Bead Soup posts will go up on Saturday – stay tuned!

 

 

Wednesday – Work in Progress

Just a quick update – what is actually happening this week? Some people blog a Wordless Wednesday – here is a Work-in-progress Wednesday. I try to be in the ceramics studio on Mondays and Wednesdays. I work at home the other days – on everything from mixed media, glazing, jewelry…

So here is the clay in progress: 

Celtic flora tiles

Here are the initial sculpted pieces – a set of tiles depicting the four Celtic plants. (Scottish thistle, Irish shamrock, Tudor rose, and Welsh daffodil.) They are rough at this stage, and obviously one tile short. When the clay is a bit dryer and firmer, I will carve in details and neaten everything up in general. The shamrock is tough, it is such a simple plant, I may take out the four leaf and enlarge it even more. They are 5″ square, and will be ready for fall shows. 

Yesterday was a glazing day. I moved things up to a temporary spot in the dining room; it was too lovely a day to be in the basement for hours. (Now when it gets hot – I love the basement!)

goddess pendants

From an Indian goddess icon, these are half way there. The color to bring out the details and a transparent glaze will be applied over that. 

Plate-o-pendants

I wish I could say I got all these done! – but they are also awaiting their clear transparent coat of glaze…

Milagro pendant WIP

These milagro eyes are my current favorite. I have a finished one I wear almost every day… 😉

But there is more to be done:  the chipmunks for Robert, the buttons for Noelle, and the molds for Cooky… and that glazing to finish. Back to work. Maybe I will load the kiln before dinner…