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Handmade Tile Association Newsletter
S P O T L I G H T on artists and events




Our 15th Year

Welcome to the March 2014 spotlight on Handmade Tile Association artists. We feature three tile artists every month, plus links and resources (at right) to many of the tile events, gallery shows, and workshops featured around the country. 

Please note our next members meeting is April 2nd -
Members are Free - Non-members $5 

at North Prairie Tileworks
Time -6-8PM
2845 Harriet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 871-3421
he Handmade Tile Association will provide a lasagna dinner. Please RSVP to help us plan

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Illustration in Clay + Music 
Stephanie Osser
  Allston, Massachusetts 

Stephanie Osser is a ceramic artist in residence at Harvard Ceramics Studio, Allston, MA.  She's a former book illustrator who has also taught and managed a ceramic studio at Babson College for students from Babson, Wellesley and Olin.   She considers herself an illustrator in clay (coming from a book illustration world) who loves to create 3D images from flat, 2D illustration.
"Dan's French Horn," 10 x 8 x 2 inches 
This French Horn tile was made in honor of her son who plays the instrument in orchestras and bands in school.  It's a press molded tile, cast in stoneware in a cone 10 reduction firing, decorated with underglaze and glaze.    
"My Family Odyssey: April 14, 1921"

Stephanie melds tile and sculpture together.  Her website has some examples of her sculptures that started "sketched out" in tile.  To see the tile above incorporated into one of her sculptures, click on the link My Family Odyssey sculpture.  Scroll down to view the boy's back, where the tile above is embossed.   

"What a Wonderful World" mural, 36 x 48 x 5 inches 
This piece is one of nine in a larger mural, part of a cooperative effort among ceramic artists to create Life Affirming Imagery. It was curated by ceramic artist Allison Newsome and constructed at the Harvard Ceramics Studio, Boston. It's made of stoneware and ceramic stains, has a nucleus of locally harvested earthenware clay and is mounted at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

As to the +Music part of her work, it becomes rapidly obvious as you become familiar with Stephanie's finished pieces; music is incorporated again and again.  There are even links, after several images, that play musical selections for visitors to her website to enjoy.  
- Contact Info -
Illustration in Clay + Music 
Architectural Ceramics - Illustration in Clay
Facebook: Stephanie Osser 

Drumboden Tiles  
Lecy Campbell
Johnson City, Tennessee

Lecy Campbell has a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts in Printmaking from the University of Tennessee.  She began her ceramics work in college, but didn't start Drumboden Tiles right away.  She only installed her kiln two years ago and yet has already had some significant commissions.  Her dog tile series (Irish Setter, below) is for a fireplace in NY state.  Lecy's tiles for a kitchen backsplash, a repeating Mandala design, are currently in process of being installed in a house outside of Boston.   
"Irish Setter" in a NY farmhouse fireplace installation
Each tile is a unique piece of stoneware handcrafted from ceramic molds, a time-honored yet labor-intensive process.  A plaster mold is poured around the original tile, which is lost in the making of the mold. Clay is then hammered into the mold and then popped out, creating a replica of the original. Each tile is painstakingly dried for several weeks,  involving careful attention, rotation, and coddling to ensure that no cracks form and the tiles do not warp. 
"Heirloom Bulbs" 4 x 8 inch
The tiles are first bisque fired at a low temperature. The clay undergoes a transformation in this firing but remains porous for the glaze. Ceramic glazes are then hand-painted onto each tile. The final step is to glaze fire the painted tile in the kiln.  This fuses the glaze to the stoneware, creating a lasting piece of ceramic art.  Lecy uses Desert Bluff clay from Highwater Clay in Asheville.  She goes on to say, "I can't say enough good things about Highwater."   
Inspired by traditional Thai woodcarving of a lotus
6 x 6 inch tiles - one sq ft final size 
Lecy's business has been growing steadily and is starting to attract media attention.  She was recently the subject of an article Calling to the Kiln, about her tiles and the molds she individually handcrafts.  She sells tiles on Etsy as well, including her botanical and rustic tiles inspired by vintage Italy
- Contact -
Drumboden Tiles

Moravian Pottery & Tile Works  
Doylestown, Pennsylvania



The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works was founded circa 1904 by a man who wasn't a craftsman but an archaeology scholar, Henry Chapman Mercer.  Today this National Historic Landmark is run as a working history museum.  It's maintained by Pennsylvania's Bucks County, Department of Parks and Recreation and has daily tours and an ongoing schedule of classes, including making Moravian mosaic panels, plaster molds and hand painting tiles.  


Handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by Mercer who was a major proponent of the Arts & Crafts Movement in America. He directed the work at the pottery from 1898 until his death in 1930.


Stove Plate fireplace 


This Stove Plate fireplace is a very early Mercer design with the classic Anglo-Saxon motto (in the rectangular tiles just above the firebox): "Drinc Hael, Wes Hael," which translates as "drink well, be well."  Their website shows several other wonderful fireplaces including "Arkansas Traveler," "Rip Van Winkle," "New World" and "Four Seasons."     



"Heraldic Lion," gift for renewing or subscribing, beginning in May 

Membership in this historic tile company not only garners you free admission when you visit, but also a free Members' Limited Edition Tile, free admission to future tile festivals, a discount on their yearly special edition tile, and a subscription to the Museum's newsletter.  It's a full color, well-designed piece, filled with articles about the process of making tiles, tile history and upcoming events and classes, illustrated with inspiring images of designs and photos.  Click here for more information: Subscribe.  

Production Area, foreground, Glaze Mixing Area on right, East Wing
The Library of Congress has a wealth of valuable photos that include not only the buildings and grounds of this pottery, but also interior shots of the work rooms.  Some of the images were taken in the '70s, though they look antique.  The TIFF images are very large and detailed; you are able to zoom in and see the details on the tiles themselves. 

For more information, go to the website below, and click on Catalog, which will lead you to tiles, books and a visually appealing catalog of their designs entitled "Our Four Seasons Tile Collection."  (This link may or may not be active at any time.)

The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works website is under construction.  The best way to find them is through this link: 

- Contact -

Moravian Pottery & Tile Works
130 East Swamp Road
Doylestown, PA 18901
 Moravian Pottery & Tile Works Design Installation Assistance: 
215.348.6001 / Adam Zayas, Head Ceramist
Did these artists spark your interest for your tile project or tile collection? If so, contact them to let them know what you like about their work. Sign up for their mailing lists and/or social media. One of the best ways to support handmade tile is to share your favorite tile artists with friends and colleagues. Be a tile maven and help spread the word!     

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Josh Blanc
Handmade Tile Association, LLC  

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