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Seven Multiglazed Tiles

Curlew
Curlew
Three Hares
Three Hares
Blue Heron
Blue Heron
Mammoth
Mammoth
Owls
Owls
Polarbear & Seal
Polarbear & Seal
Three Wolves
Three Wolves

Six-inch square art tiles, multiglazed, $75 each, Cook Inlet glacial clay

The new scanner is up and running. Thought I’d try posting a few images at one time and in a larger image size since internet access is getting faster. All these tiles were run through the etching press on July 23 and fired on July 31. All were tiles that were sold out at my vendors booth at the weekend market in Anchorage. And since making these tiles, other designs have sold out. It is near impossible to keep up during the height of the season!

I was at the Alaska Native Heritage Center yesterday and a large bull moose got into the grounds even though the area is fenced off. It stayed in the shallow lake in the center of the culture walk and put on quite a show for hundreds of visitors that lined the shores taking pictures.

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Fireweed Plant Impression

Fireweed Crystal Glaze
Fireweed Crystal Glaze

Array of Four-Inch Flowers & Leaves
Array of Four-Inch Flowers & Leaves

Fired off another load of plant impressions. Made several of the fireweed flower impressions since a lot of people love them and they are all over in Alaska.

Started selling art tiles at the ANHC, Alaska Native Heritage Center, again last week and this week. ANHC had a Monday work shop on how to process salmon skin for baskets and rain coats. It was so cool but the parts thrown away were stinking up the place near the dumpsters yesterday and today. The lady next to me had some mammoth ivory jewelry. How often does one see mammoth ivory jewelry?

It has gotten into the 80’s several times this summer in Anchorage. I’ve lived in Anchorage since 1980 and I can’t remember it ever getting into the 80’s. Heck, we are lucky if it gets into the 60’s, which for some summers is rare. But there you have it, by my count, we have had six 80 degree days. I just may be able to plant that ginkgo tree that I’ve been dreaming about.

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Mammoth Tile

Two Mammoth Tiles
Two Mammoth Tiles

mammothredsmall

Six-inch square, $85 for the red sky and $75 for the blue sky. The higher price tiles are a two part glaze process and take more time to make. A friend bought a lot of tiles, including field tiles, from me for a backing to a wood stove and asked if I could design and make a mammoth tile for his son who loves mammoths.

I’m reading “Ginkgo” by Peter Crane and plan to make a ginkgo leaf tile next. Ginkgo leaves are a popular item with the Arts and Crafts movement and will go nicely with a bungalow home. I didn’t know the tree has been around for over 250 million years. Wow. I picked up the book at the Chicago Botanic Garden along with a membership that has already paid for itself. Last year I got “Founding Garderners” by Andrea Wulf from the same gift shop. It’s cool to know that the founders of our country were big into gardening.

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Salmon

Double Salmon
Salmon

Six-inch Double Salmon, $85
Collagraph print on Cook Inlet clay, cone 6 oxidation
Multiglazed with background of Tenmoko gold over a strontium carbonate base glaze.

Salmon fishing is a huge industry in Alaska as are other types of fishing. On researching the salmon, I found out that it is descended from European river trout. Cool. It looks like any other fish, silvery, at sea, but once it hits fresh water to spawn, it turns red, green, and it’s teeth get all snagly. My blood pressure was trending upward with age and my doctor recommended eating salmon once a week, and sure enough, by blood pressure went down. Now each summer we stock up on fresh salmon in the freezer to last through the winter. It’s cheaper to buy whole fish during the height of the season and have it cut up, filleted, and vacuum sealed in meal sized portions.

I read “Four Fish” by Paul Greenberg and worry about the fisheries. Today, I’m not against farm fishing because there are not enough wild fish to feed the world’s population. I’ve even taken a liking to tilapia, a fresh water vegetarian fish that’s been farmed since ancient Egyptian times. And it doesn’t require other fish to be used as feed as some of the other farmed fish do.

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Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan, Six-Inch Sq.

Tundra Swan, $75
Some years, while migrating, a pair of tundra swans stop over at the lake where I walk our dog near the university and native hospital. They are huge and the other smaller ducks like to hang around them since the swans dig up quite a bit of stuff from the lake bottoms. It almost looks like paparazzi around beautiful celebrities. The same lake is frozen right now and last week there were nine moose scattered around the trails. Had to make detours. Even our huge american bulldog is wary of the moose since he took a couple of stomps while protecting my girlfriend from an irrate moose at another park.

The tundra swan is the third new tile design that I recently made for the upcoming Fur Rondy festival that starts next week. They will also be in Octopus Ink downtown for a March Show.

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Bald Eagle

Bald eagle
Bald Eagle Art Tile

Bald Eagle, Six Sq. Inch, $75
Collagraph printed, multiglazed, cone 6 oxidation. Cook Inlet glacial clay.
I see a bald eagle about once a month. They like hanging out at small lakes where ducks are found. The lake inlets usually remain unfrozen but the area gets small and the concentration of ducks attracts predators. During salmon season, scores of bald eagles can be seen along some rivers.

Fur Rondy starts the end of this month. It’s a winter get together around the start of the Iditarod sled dog race. I like to have some new designs to sell, so the previous post’s raven, this post’s eagle, and next post’s tundra swan were made for the Rondy. One of the local malls hosts Alaska native artist from all over the state where all kinds of traditional and contempory native arts and crafts can be sold.

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Six-Inch Multiglaze Raven


Six-Inch Multiglazed, Collagraph Printed Raven, $75

Photos of a raven collagraph plate, two raven tiles, and the back side of one of the tiles. On the “back side” photo, you can see my name at the top, and underneath is “Silver Hand Artist”, which means I’m registered with the state of Alaska as an Alaskan Native Artist. The tile was printed on January 17, 2012. The five stamps are decoration, but a couple hundred years from now, people will think it’s some kind of code. “Cook Inlet Glacier Clay” means that the main clay in the tile body is from the mud flats next to Anchorage, Alaska. “Vitrified” means that it is fused and has less than 1/2 percent water absorbtion, so it is similar to porcelain in that respect.

I like doing different color combinations; though some designs will settle down in one or two versions over time. I mixed a new glaze called “floating green” that is used for the bottom ground in one of the tiles. I like developing new glazes. I mix my own, usually from recipes in books or on-line. Some glazes need a bit of tweaking before they work on the local clay.

The collagraph plate that was used to print the raven tile is made of 140 lb. etching paper and matte board. It is coated with gesso and acrylic matte medium.

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Four Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

Four Spotted Dragonfly

Six-inch Dragonfly, $75
Contrary to popular belief, the mosquito is not Alaska’s state insect. That would be the four spotted skimmer dragonfly. The four spots are on the leading edge of the wings. They get fairly large, four to six-inch wing span. Once when I was selling tiles at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a dragonfly landed on one of the dragonfly tiles. That was cool. Later in the summer, I was telling another artist about the incident and wouldn’t you know it, but a dragonfly landed on my shoulder. It was close to my ear and it startled the bejezzers out of me. Anyway, it is a great story to tell visitors interested in the design, and I feel there is more to the incident than mere coincidence, sort of like nature saying, “nice tile”. I’ve seen dragonfly designs in the magazine “American Bungalow” and the design of my tile does have an arts & crafts feel to it.

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Three Hares

Three Hares
Three Hares

Three Hares, six-inch, $75
Cook Inlet glacial clay art tile with collagraph printed hares in x-ray style of coastal Inuqiaq. Three hares, three ears, yet each hare has two ears! A while back I made a large woodcut (about 3-1/2′ x 5′ – playing card aspect) using a sheet of plywood that required a steamroller to print an image of three hares similar to this tile, and titled the Three of Hares. It was the third steamroller print event put on in Anchorage. The idea for the three hares came about as a piece in a local group show with a theme about St. Francis and a hare that leads other animals to their respective heavens (put together by James Riordan, an assistant professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage). The image of three hares was in some medieval monastaries and represented the trinity, but of course, the original design is much older, Etruscan, and historians don’t know what significance it had. Someone referred to the tile as the three rabbi’s.

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Caribou

Caribou

X-ray Caribou
Caribou

Six-Inch Caribou, $75
Collagraph print on clay tile body made from local glacial mud flats. The x-ray style, the depiction of the insides such as the ribs and stomach, is common to the coastal native Alaskans such as the Yupiq and Inupiaq (Eskimos). The big dipper to the polar Inupiaq represents a herd of caribou. The polar star that people in lower latitudes refer to as the north star is not used for directions in the arctic because it is over head and unmoving and doesn’t help in determining directions. I’ve seen caribou carcasses in yards in Point Hope, my mother’s village. They were frozen and being eaten by dogs – a kind of old school dog food.

The two newer glaze colors used on this tile are nutmeg for the background and tenmoko gold used for the body. I mix my own glazes and these two were made at the same time, and each glaze, when wet looks like the other glaze’s fired color. It was confusing. This one potter at a craft show asked if I was a “purist” when I told him about making my own clay and mixing my own glazes. I do it because people like that the materials are local and the imagery is a contemporary take on traditional designs. Also, now that I know that hand built, pit fired ceramics were made in my ancestral area of Northwest Alaska for thousands of years, I will someday, test some of that areas clay for use in my tile work.