Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Top Ten Narrative Tile Makers

Ceri White lives and works in Dunning, Perthshire, Scotland, and uses earthenware tiles with press molded additions to create whimsical architectural scenes she calls Ivory Towers (there are other domestic and nature scenes as well, but I am most drawn to the architecture). There is a lightness of spirit in her work that draws me in, and I hope I connect to that brighter element as time goes by with my work.   The simplicity of her images is also inspiring to me in the search for image vocabulary.  Also as a contrast to my heavy carving, the delicate lines of the images is something I keep thinking about.

CeriWhitefrlongtowerlime CeriWhiteIvoryTowers CeriWhitesmtowaq










Angela Walford works mainly with Shino glazes on functional ware, but has these beautiful printed and glazed tiles.  She lives and works in Southern Australia.  These images interest me as I plan to work with screen printing (and other methods of printing) images onto tiles in the future. I love the textures and rough edges and simple color use.

shino-ang-walford-feb-2014-29-150x150 shino-ang-walford-feb-2014-31-150x150






Angelo Mazzoleni is Italian, and this is the only image of his clay work that I can find.  He appears to work mostly in mixed media.  There is a rustic simplicity to his aesthetic I really like, and in this particular piece, the variation of texture is delicious.




Fifth Top Ten- Kerryn Madsen-Pietsch

My fifth international top ten artist is Kerryn Madsen-Pietsch.  Kerryn lives and works in Innisfail, Queensland, Australia.  She works in a number of different media, mostly painting and mixed media, all with a similar organic vibe.  She only has two images of clay work posted on her website, but I was immediately drawn to them in the sea search images I was digging through.  She has worked for many years honing her craft, and exhibiting extensively.  She also is the owner and curator of an art gallery in the town where she lives.  I take note of that out of admiration, that she is actively pursuing her own work, and also running a business of her own.  Specifically, this gives me hope to continue balancing all the stuff I have going on and still be successful in some form.  No to mention her work!  I love the organic shapes of all of her work, no matter the medium, and in these two images:


I love the depth and intricacy of the carving.  And the energy of the imagery she chooses.  This particular piece is from 1988, and you can see in subsequent paintings and other pieces how these shapes have evolved.  However much or little of ceramic art Kerryn has done, these pieces jumped out at me for their monochrome finish and energy of line, and rang in my mind as another landmark for the carving I hope to pursue myself.


This piece is from 2001, and the carving and shapes have clearly evolved.  I love the clean lines and the bold but simple presentation.  The added element of the figure also caught my attention, since I hope to join the tile elements I’ve been working on with the figurative work I was working on last year.  Having run about a hundred different renditions of that through my mind in the last few months, this image will serve as a note for the possibilities that I hadn’t really considered consciously, though that ring true now that I’ve seen it.

Second Series workin’…

This really should be my Fourth series, but I got overexcited right at the start…  And progress is halting and then manic, but it is progress nonetheless.  Even from the first one till the couple I’m working on currently, I can feel the shapes and textures and fluidity of form coming more naturally.  This. This. This.  I would do this forever if I didn’t have other things to do and push, too.

I did get paralyzed on language for a while.  Trying to find the right words was just getting stupid, everything was ridiculous and dissatisfying.  Like I started to feel like my brain didn’t work anymore, and that nothing was ever going to work, ever again.  But that is not the case, and instead of waxing verbose and ponderous, I’m learning to cut right down to the chase with the text.  Which is pretty much the point.  An image and some words to tell the story, both feeding each other, ideally.

It’s interesting watching the psychological part of this.  I’m digging up a bunch of tender and raw and funny stuff from growing up, and it’s weird how totally exhilarating and distressingly vulnerable that is.  It leaves me feeling both very calm and a little bit scorched by the end of the day.  But that’s also the point.  I don’t want to do it if isn’t getting at the crux of something.

I learned a really good word today, too:   cathexis.  “In psychoanalysis, cathexis is defined as the process of investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea.” (Wikipedia)

(I know, I know, it’s not a real source.)  But it is a real word, and I love that it’s an actual thing.  I’m sure, being psychoanalysis, there are good and bad aspects, but for now, until I learn more, I am happy with the simple definition.

And this happened, but I’m happier with the second rendition now:

IMG_0075Karma Cat thought it was amazing and wanted all the bits to be her very own.


I am happier with the line quality, depth of carving and general boldness of this rendition.  There is still text to add and some refinement of the shapes, but this is where it’s at until things firm up a little bit.

These are other pieces in process currently:


This one is going to make me laugh every time I look at it.  Waiting for it to firm so I can put the text on and refine shapes.  Childhood playground games were mystifying to me.

And this one is going to be tricky with all the shapes of people, but I hope it’ll portray the moment well.  Stories will be revealed forthwith as I get text added.


And then there is KitKat, my tiny kitten.  This was a hard one.  The text was difficult and the shapes didn’t behave at first.  Which was an effect of wrestling the text.  But I’m happy with where it’s going now, except for that awkward bow at the bottom edge of the tile.  Trimming is in order.IMG_0070

First Project completed.

After bisque firing, I stained these tiles with Iron Oxide.IMG_0036


Then added 3D White glaze to the raised areas to accentuate the reductive carving and draw out the graphic novel aesthetic- boldly defined images and texture. IMG_0037IMG_0032  And I am delighted with how they turned out.IMG_0043IMG_0044IMG_0045IMG_0046IMG_0047

Book References


These are some of the books I’ve read before and been reading recently to get visual ideas for image making, and language ideas for what words to use.

They are:  Building Stories by Chris Ware, Woodcut by Bryan Nash Gill, Graphic Witness by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, and George Walker , The Art of the Woodcut by Malcolm C. Salaman and David A. Beronä, Wordless Books by David A. Berona and Peter Kuper, Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Hurricane Story by Jennifer Shaw, Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks, Hyperbole and A Half by Allie Brosh, Trusting Soul by Brian Andreas, The Book of Frank by CA Conrad, The Selected Works of  T.S. Spivet by Reif Larson, On Loving Women by Diane Obomsawin and Helge Dascher, and Stitches by David Small.


Also, Fun Home and Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik.  IMG_0065

And S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst, One! Hundred! Demons! by Lynda Barry, and Mrs Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (graphic novel version). IMG_0041

And Anatomy For The Artist by Sarah Simblet.


Having gotten totally stymied by language, the following are some books I hope will help me navigate how to form the overall story, and choose the words to tell the story in the most elemental way.

They are:  Bone Black by bell hooks, Getting a Life: Everyday Uses of Autobiography edited by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, The Weather of Words by Mark Strand, The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony by Leigh Gilmore, Women Autobiography Theory: A Reader edited by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, and An American Childhood by Annie Dillard.IMG_0069

Also, glaze research and image options for future projects.  The are: The Complete Guide to High Fire Glazes by John Britt and Image Transfer on Clay by Paul Andrew Wandless.