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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 September 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. 
If you are an artist and love these spotlights you can be featured. We are reserving spaces through October 15th. Click here to find out more. 

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Belvedere Art Tile, Ltd.   
Susan Martin Serra
Chromo, Colorado

Susan Martin Serra, owner/principal artist of Belvedere Art Tile, designed and created the women's restroom for the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts early in 2013.  This year she completed a complementary, colorful men's restroom for the arts center.

Spy Glass & Theatre Masks Panel, approx 3 feet wide 

Above is one of the large panels in the newly finished room with field tiles below, also handmade in her studio.

Thousands of pieces of individually hand-made stoneware tiles (each fired twice, some fired three times) are drawn onto a master design before the tiles are formed, glazed, fired and then numbered for accurate installation.  This process is time-consuming, but necessary to keep the project on track.  See the photo gallery of critical steps, showing Susan and her colleagues in action and of Master Tile Installer Jeff Leavenworth working in the grout.

"Thunderbird Design"  33 inches x 6 1/2 inches 

Susan created this traditional Native American motif late this summer for a backsplash over a stove in a historic mountain lodge in the South San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado.   
"Large Spiral"
This spiral image is from a section of the longest wall in the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts' restroom (the wall is 15 ft wide and 9 ft at the highest point).  See this piece in process, covered with tiny stickers on every individual tile, to get an idea of what it took to produce and then install this piece. 
Check out the Belvedere Galleries of tiled fountains, fireplaces, murals and ceramic vessels, for striking, eye-catching examples available for your home or business. 
- Contact -
Belvedere Art Tile, Ltd.  

PO Box 177    

Chromo, CO 81128   

970-264-0642  or  970-799-2559     

Syzygy Tileworks   
Lee Gruber and David del Junco  
Silver City, New Mexico


While standing in the home of Henry Mercer, founder of the Moravaian Tile Works, Lee Gruber and David del Junco felt truly inspired by the beautiful Arts & Crafts tiles surrounding them.  Filled with a desire to follow in this tradition, they returned to the mountains of Southwest New Mexico to begin the work of producing exquisite handmade tiles.
"Big and Little Pattern" installed in
Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque
At the Syzygy factory twenty artisans work together to produce an exquisite line of handmade tile.  Lovely shapes and mosaics are cut and pressed by hand.  Glazes are carefully applied with a brush.  For a short film tour of the Syzgy factory, featuring many of their clay artisans and to see several of their tiles in process, go to the Syzygy Blog and scroll down to the entry: Handmade Tile Factory Tour. 
"Confetti Pattern" 
in a private residence stairway 
Syzygy was featured in a long article published in July of 2012 by Desert Exposure, a free, monthly magazine known for its in-depth journalism, which this piece confirms.  Beginning with the annual Silver City Clay Festival, organized by Gruber, and then delving into Gruber's and del Junco's professional histories, the article, called Feats of Clay is well worth revisiting.
"Quasar Pattern" in turquoise tiles
installed in a private residence kitchen 
Another, more recent, article was in Silver City Sun-News on January 29, 2014.  The title says it best: "Syzygy Tile ships 20,000 tiles for Disney World Wednesday."  Following up two earlier orders by Disney, this one will be for the public restrooms in the Port Orleans Resort Disney World.

To see some of the patterns available, like Big & Little, top image, or Confetti, second image, go to their website: Our-Tile/Patterns.  At the bottom of that page is the Sygma tile line, including Quasar, above, with the deeply carved, single-colored glaze that seems to evoke the best of the Atomic Age, including the Jetsons.

Syzygy is shown in many showrooms across the US.  Click the link to see their tiles in person or contact them directly, to start planning your next project.

- Contact Info -
Syzygy Tileworks  
Silver City, NM

North Prairie Tileworks, Inc.    
Roger L. Mayland
Minneapolis, Minnesota

In addition to producing tiles for backsplashes, bathrooms and fireplaces in private homes around the US and Canada, North Prairie Tileworks has also produced tile for more prominent projects.  Included in these projects were two fireplaces for the Signet Society house on the Harvard University campus in Boston, Massachusetts as well as historical replication of tiles for four fireplaces in the Kansas State Capital building in Topeka, Kansas.  Additional restoration and replication projects include the Minnesota State Capitol's tiles, hearth tiles for a British Columbia government building and 18 different tiles for the Thomas Wolfe mansion in Ashville, NC.

Classic Design and Glazes suitable for historic venues

Since 1992, North Prairie Tileworks has been producing custom tile including relief and field tile for residential and commercial applications.  North Prairie specializes in the Arts & Crafts designs with an emphasis upon design and glazes. They have over 150 custom glaze colors in their palette that they have developed over the years. They continue to produce new reliefs and glaze colors utilizing both electric and gas reduction kilns.
Koi Shower installed in Fort Collins, CO home
This koi shower is highlighted on Houzz, the go-to website for anyone planning a remodeling project.  Custom designed and created by Charlie Henrikson, Supervisor of Tile Design & Production at North Prairie Tileworks, the floor tiles are a modified version of the Prairie Lattice design.  The walls feature Oriental Fan design bordered by Frisco tile cap. 

This wall design, installed behind the counter at the Fika Cafe in the Nelson Cultural Center at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, is a combination of several relief tiles tied together with one glaze to create a noteworthy backdrop. 

If you have a custom project in mind, call North Prairie Tileworks to get your vision started.


- Contact -

North Prairie Tileworks, Inc.
Roger L. Mayland

2845 Harriet Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408

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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