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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 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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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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Six-inch Halibut Tile

Green Halibut
Green Halibut

Grey Halibut
Grey Halibut

Spearment Halibut
Spearment Halibut

Collagraph Plate
Collagraph Plate

Three six-inch tiles and the collagraph plate. I like the spearment inside the halibut on the bottom left, but the best combination is the grey halibut on the upper left with the spearment as the water color. I also prefer a darker brown for the exterior of the fishing boat with a lighter brown interior.

Halibut can get too big to easily haul on board. A previous boss of mine caught a 295 lb. Halibut and the boat had to go to dock because they could not get the fish aboard. I just bought a 14-1/2 lb. halibut from the local fish market and had it cut into 1-1/2 lb. vacuum sealed packets for a several gourmet meals.

I bought the halibut mainly for the skin which I plan to use on a coat for a fashion show next January. I tried the old Inuit way of processing fish skins by soaking the skin in day old urine. The urine breaks down into ammonia that tans the skin, but the skin still smells strongly of fish! So I used a process that I learn this summer from a fellow artist at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The skin is soaked in a solution of half rubbing alcohol and half gliserine for three days and then in dishsoap for three more days. It really does cut down the odor but not completely.

I will be in Seattle October 4 & 5 at the Artisan Tile of the Northwest tile show at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture.

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Four-Inch Copper Plate Etchings on Glacial Clay

Swanfish
Swanfish

Halibut
Halibut

X-ray Frog
X-ray Frog

Leaves with fish stamps
Fishleaves

Crab
Crab

Reindeer
Caribou

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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Three Halibut and One Gingko

Halibut and Ginkgo
Halibut and Ginkgo

Array of four-inch tiles, halibut and ginkgo, multiglaze, $35 each

These are the newest designs and the plates are made from 300-lb. cotton rag etching paper on matte board. The paper is thicker than what is usually used to make the plate, but it helps keep the glaze colors separate a little better than the 140-lb. paper. The stem of the ginkgo leaf is nice and thin plus the width of the stem and leaf outline is varied, kind of like calligraphy writing. With the thicker paper, the stem won’t get covered up by glaze when the tile is fired.

I’m going to make a six-inch tile with a halibut next. The halibut will be as big as the boat of the fisherman. The size is exaggerated, but not by much. Halibut can get up to nearly 400 pounds.

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Stamps and Back of Tile

Stamps8-21-13
Stamps used to impress images into the back of the tile.

Back8-22-13-1
Back of the tile:
Mighell
Silver Hand Artist
Aug 14 2013
“Stamps: swan/fish, fish, star, fish, and fox”
Cook Inlet Glacier Clay
Alaska
Vitrified

The “Silver Hand Artist” means I’m registered with the state of Alaska as a aboriginal artist. Vitrified means the tile won’t absorb water and the tile is good for wet or outdoor use if a person wanted to use the tile in a shower stall or outside in a garden. My last name is pronounced “mile” as the “igh” rule makes the “gh” part silent; it’s old English and back then the language was more gutteral and it sounded more like Michael and is actually a variation of that name when applied to the arch-angel. I make my own tile clay body and the major component comes from the mud flats next to Anchorage. The material is the surrounding mountains that were ground up by the glaciers.

Made new halibut and gingko leaf plates and will post the resulting tiles next week.

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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.