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More Plant Impression Tiles

Plant Tiles
4″ Plant Impressions
I took these plant impressions to the Chicago Botanic Garden art fare. Ten each of the creme and blue background colored impressions sold, compared to only six of the green background colored tiles. Hmmmm, greens are not as popular. Sold a variety of other tiles also, including a bunch of my Alaskan themed designs. Delivered a twelve-inch tile to this collector after the show and was blown away by her 500 tiles, all hung and arrayed on various walls.

Well, sales were enough to cover the costs, but what matters more is that I got to visit my aunt and cousins, and one of my sweetheart’s friends from her fish cannery days. She took us to the beaches on Lake Michigan and they were packed during the July 4th weekend…we just don’t see people in swim suits that often in Alaska.

So, I’ll be selling tiles at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Anchorage Museum, and the weekend market the rest of the summer, except for when I go down to the Indian Art Market in Santa Fe this August. It’s busy.

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Tiles for the Botanic Gardens and an Old Tile Manufacturer

Plant Impressions

Went to the Denver March Powwow to sell art tiles the end of last month. The economy is still soft and I didn’t sell enough to cover all the expenses, but I did get to see my Dad, brother, and sister. They still live there, and three of my other siblings and I have moved back to and now live in Alaska. I have never seen so many dancers and drum groups. There were a lot of vendors. My favorite were the Navajo rug weavers, wish I could afford one of their hand woven rugs.

Scooted over to San Francisco to attend the Southern Graphics Print conference. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Printmaking, so it was a professional thing. It sure is nice to go to the demos and workshops. And you couldn’t ask for a nicer city to have it in. I love cities where you can walk around.

The plant impressions did ok. I know they will do really well in Chicago when I go to an arts and crafts show at the Chicago Botanic Garden in July.

Tile Maker
Van Briggle Tile Factory

While in Denver, I took a road trip to visit the Van Briggle Tile company and learned that it had gone out of business do to the recession. It was sold last year but the buyer isn’t producing tile. The picture is of their original factory that had the kilns built right into the building. Bummer. It would have been my third visit to the factory. My first time was when it was in a horseshoe shaped building that had been a train switch building. You could walk through and see the various stages of tile making. The second trip was four years ago when they had moved in a smaller space. I should have suspected times were tough because everything was covered in dust.

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Four-inch Leaf Impressions

Leaf Impression Art Tiles
Willow, Heath, Alder, Birch, and Aspen

Array of four-inch leaf impressions, $30 each
The names listed under the images go clockwise starting at the upper left.

It was a very wet rainy weekend at the Anchorage Market yet sales were better than the week before. You can never tell specifically which weekends will be good, but generally, July is better than either June or August and those two months are better than May and September.

I got my ticket to Seattle for the October 4 & 5 “Artisan Tile of the Northwest” show in Seattle at the University of Washington Horticultural Center. One would think that plants would do well there, but in my case, the native Alaska themed designs do better. Fortunately, I can stay at a sister-in-law’s house near the University. Every little bit helps in keeping the expenses down.

I am in a print exchange with other printmakers from nine other countries that are part of the migratory route of shorebirds that migrate back and forth between Alaska and New Zealand. Some of the prints will actually go, as is, through the mail so they can show some wear and tear of a similar journey as the birds. It’s nice to get involved with a printmaking project, especially when most of my time is taken up by the tile business. Though technically, my tiles are hand pulled prints that happen to be on clay instead of paper.

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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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Turquoise Crystaline Glaze Plant Impressions

Plant impression & crystalline glaze
Plant Impression Tiles

Array of four-inch plant impressions, $30 each.

The phote is from an iphone since my scanner is kaput. It’s hard to take a decent photo of a glossy surface. Three of the tiles have a ginkgo leaf. Anchorage has one ginkgo tree and it is inside at the University since it is too cold for them here. I picked up a few ginkgo leaves at the Chicago Botanic garden after a few leaves fell from a tree after a rain. Half of the tiles are sold already, and they just came out of the kiln last Thursday. I will print flower impressions tomorrow in the four, six, and eight-inch sizes. I will do some Fireweed, wild geranium, Sitka rose, and dogwood for this next week.

I’m at the mid way point of my ninth season at Anchorage weekend market, and it has slowed down sales-wise, but on-line sales have sort of picked up the slack. I think it has something to do with people now buying more on the web, so other places that people use to spend is loosing some of its volume.

The Alaska Native Heritage Center will carry my art tiles again starting this week.

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Basement Tile At the NANA Building in Anchorage

Click on the picture to see a larger image.
12″ x 12″ x 0.7″ Multiglazed tile, Cook Inlet glacier clay, cone 6 oxidation

The fish in the center are dolly varden, arctic char, and pike. This tile was the last one of thirteen that I made for NANA Development Corp. and it is outside the elevators on the basement floor. I got a ton of compliments from people that have walked through the building just to look at the art tiles. Had some interesting comments the last time I posted the cut-out that went into making the plate that is impressed into the clay slab, so I decided to add another post but along side the tile that it made. I usually sell my art tiles during the summer, but the winter commissions have been picking up, so I don’t starve during the winters anymore.

A lot of the old art work along the west and north coasts of Alaska had a sort of circular aspect to it because it would fit onto a drum skin or inside a wood food bowl. I used the circular motif on several of the tiles for NANA and on the tile above. The x-ray view of the caribou and the seal is also a style common in the area.

This isn’t tile related but I feel like writing something about native Alaskans. During the superbowl, a local commercial came on saying how over a thousand students have benefitted from the ANSEP (Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program), a part of the University of Alaska system. It made me feel good. I was just the third native Alaskan to graduate from the Anchorage civil engineering program way back in the day, and now it is more common.

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Red Tipped Maple Leaf

4" Red Tipped Maple Leaf and Seed Pod

4″ x 4″ x 3/8″ red tipped maple leaf and seed pod. Cook Inlet glacial clay, slip, mason stains, cone 6 oxidation, high calcium clear glaze.

I collect the leaves at the off-leash dog park or the grounds at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The leaf is placed on a textured matte board with a firmed, slipped, slab of the local clay placed over the leaf and matte board. The sandwich is run through an old fashion etching press, the slab trimmed and the edges smoothed. Mason stains are applied in two applications before a cone 04 bisque fire. Small imperfections are fixed, if possible, and glaze is sprayed on, and the tile is re-fired at a higher cone 6 temperature, which makes the tile clay body nearly non absorptive.