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Four of Fox Card Tile

12″ x 9.5″ Card Tile
This tile is one of three card tiles made for an upcoming May show at the Anchorage Humanities Forum. There will also be about twenty 12″ x 12″ tiles, every 12″ tile that I have designed and made, in the show. I’m about 3/4’s done.

It has been over a year since I last added a post to this tile blog/website. I blame Facebook. The Anchorage Native Heritage Center helped a group of us start Etsy stores connected to Facebook, and we all got caught up in the never ending connectedness of Facebook. Nothing is for sell in the Etsy store…yet.

I will be selling at the Denver March Powwow from March 25-26. Then I’m attending a ceramics event in London, the Ceramics Art of London, March 31-April 2. Since I’m there, I’ll throw in a extra few days to sight see.

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More Buttons and Pendants


These buttons are made out of clay from the Anchorage mud flats (Cook Inlet glacial clay), the same clay that is used in my tiles, and the images are from the stamps that I have created to decorate the back of the tiles. They are approximately one-inch in size and destined for a coat that I will make soon. Last year, I had bought wool and silk, and processed my own fish skins for the purpose of making a coat for the 2015 Anchorage Object Runway event, an art/fashion show, but it was cancelled. The coat will be patterned after a paper coat that I made a few years back that had won people’s choice award in the same Anchorage Object Runway event.

I’ve been busy since Christmas making tiles, inventory was down to three tiles. So everything I made last year sold! I hired a temporary part-time artist to help with waxing, while I did everything else.

I participated in the Colorado Indian Art Market, Jan 22-24, and did well. My favorite customers were the interesting couple that bought two twelve-inch tiles plus a few other tiles of various sizes.

My next two events will be the Anchorage Fur Rondy sale at the Dimond mall, March 2-6, and the Heard Museum Indian Arts & Crafts Show in Phoenix, Arizona March 5, 6. There is an overlap, so someone will cover for me at the Fur Rondy.

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Rarely Made Tiles

Other Tiles
Other Six-Inch Tiles
These six tiles are rarely made. They are all six-inch square. They are a flying owl, blue heron, seals, single seal, cicada, and an early version of the double salmon. I’m kind of likeing the old double salmon now that I’m glazing it differently. Before, it was colored with mason stains and then sprayed with a clear glaze. It looked good until the paper scales wore away and didn’t leave an edge to catch ink while plate wiping. Sorry for talking technical printmaking lingo. These designs are early and the plates are worn and a bit harder to work with compared to the more current, newer plates, but it is still nice to make these and have a wider variety of designs for customers to look at.

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Nephew’s Tile and a Poem

Nephew Mark's Tile
Six-inch tile unfired, designed by nephew Mark
My Nephew Mark in Chicago designed this toucan bird tile. It’s his third design, the previous two were a cheeta and an american bison. During my arts and crafts shows he draws something and I make a tile from it. My next post will be of the glazed version.

I wrote a poem in response to Emily Dickenson’s “Slant of Light”. My dad was born in Amhearst Massachusetts and my aunt use to walk by Dickenson’s house. I didn’t know it, but after reading my grandfather’s family history, I found out I have some puritan blood mixed in with my native Alaskan blood. I’ll give her poem first than mine below it:

There’s a certain Slant of light
Winter Afternoons–
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes–

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us–
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are–

None may teach it–Any–
‘Tis the Seal Despair–
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air–

When it comes, the Landscape listens–
Shadows–hold their breath–
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
on the look of Death–

Now my version (reaction?)

When Emily spoke of light
of Amherst Winters
Our oppression would be twice
a New Englanders

Frontier frownies, we paste on–
With yes, frost bite black
By third degree down in depth,
Whence our undies, back–

Molly Hootch says teach it–
That our seals have hair–
And a bad sea food addiction
Stenching up the Air–

Only then, White Alice listened–
In shrouds of Moose breath–
Only now, ’tis the NSA
And we look like Meth–

Ok, I’m back in 4th grade, wanting to make people laugh. Anyway, for clarification, Molly Hootch brought a lawsuit against the state so that indigenous students wouldn’t have to leave their villages to go to school out of state. And “White Alice” was the name for the old northern radar stations that were part of the cold war.

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Latest Kiln Load

Plaquette Glyph
Loon and Pendant Glyphs
Getting ready for the Anchorage Museum Thanksgiving Crafts Fare. The loon is a four-by-four square inch tile and the necklace pendants are maybe 1-1/4″ squarish pieces. The glyph stamps are fishes, fox, stars, eagle, letters, seal, owl, and the crazy swan turning into a salmon creature. The pendant pieces will be strung with simulated sinew singly and in groups up to five pieces. It has been a while since I have sold something other than tiles, long ago I use to sell fine art prints but the market was soft, or it could have been the timing, given that the economy went through the wringer at that time. All the pendants will be made from the Cook Inlet glacier clay with various slip colors and glazes applied to the front side.

Last Friday, I went to see my necklace mentioned in my last post, at the Native Alaskan fashion show, Wear Art Thou, hosted by the Alaska Native Arts Foundation, and I was really impressed by some of the pieces. I plan to make something for the show next year. Anyway, my necklace was worn lower than I envisioned but still looked good.

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Glacial Clay Necklace

Necklace made with local glacial clay
Glacial Clay Necklace

Made this necklace for the Alaska Native Arts Foundation for a fashion show they will soon host, possibly later this month. I rolled out a lot of small thin tiles, brushed various majolica glazes on them, stamped images onto the tiles while they were still soft, and finally brushed on mason stain colors to enhance the images. The two holes at the top of each tile were bored before the glaze application. The tiles were strung together with simulated sinew. The Russian trade beads across the nose of the manikin were originally going to be used between the tiles but it looks fine without them. The stamps are usually used to decorate the back side of the art tiles I make and sell.

I’m planning to make a bunch of necklaces with one to five small tiles on each for the Anchorage Museum Thanksgiving Crafts Fare November 29, 30 and December 1. Also I will put together a piece for next January’s Object Runway here in Anchorage. The garment will have a good part of the front covered in tiles similar to the ones on the necklace. Can’t wait to get started on it. It’s nice to do something other than the square art tiles.

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Halibut Man

Shaman in His Animal Spirit Form
$75, Six-Inch Square, Multiglazed Tile

A shaman could take the form of his animal spirit, in this case, a halibut. Also, animals could take the form of humans, but they couldn’t speak. I don’t sell too many of this tile, for some reason people are uneasy with it. Doctors don’t mind it though, the medicine man part of the shaman they consider to be one of their own.

The background glaze is a caribbean sea green. It’s a nice pebbly variegated surface and color.

I will be in Fairbanks October 24-26 for the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) conference as a vendor. It is my best show of the year!

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Heart Shaped designs

Valentine Seals

Valentine Ravens

Six-inch Square Tiles, Multiglazed, Cook Inlet Glacier Clay, $75 each

A former art student classmate, Shara Dorris, owns Octopus Ink (, a really cool handmade useable art boutique store in Anchorage. She silk screens her own designs onto clothes and she has maybe a dozen other artists selling their handmade wares in her store. She asked her artists to make a valentine themed object for last February’s First Friday art walk, so I made these two designs for here store.

I’m taking off for Seattle this afternoon to be in the Artisan Tile of the Northwest show at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture. The show is Friday from 3-8 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. I want to ask other tile artists if they ever go out of the country to do shows, because I would like to go to London and visit the William Morris Museum. He was an early proponent of the arts and crafts movement.

I have to collect some Cook Inlet glacier clay before it gets too cold!

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Four-Inch Copper Plate Etchings on Glacial Clay

X-ray Frog
X-ray Frog
Leaves with fish stamps

Array of four-inch etchings on slipped Cook Inlet glacial clay, each $25.

I have not posted any tiles made from copperplate etchings. Here are six of the smaller size tiles. They take less time to make so they are $10 cheaper than the multiglazed tiles. The swanfish is an actual design from long ago; the artist claims a distant ancestor darted the creature as it was transforming from a swan into a fish, and it got stuck that way and still wanders around in the Yukon.

I have made a new 6″ halibut design and still need to cut it out from its drawing. So maybe next posting will be the halibut plate. I have also ordered supplies for making a mud facial mask, of course using the Cook Inlet glacial clay, and supplies for processing or tanning salmon skins. This weekend is the end of the Anchorage Market, and I will have a little time to play around with something new and different.

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Seven Multiglazed Tiles

Three Hares
Three Hares
Blue Heron
Blue Heron
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.