Tile Backing for Wood Stove


This is the tile wall behind a wood stove that an acquaintance installed in his house. I also made the field tiles surrounding the art tiles. It will be featured in the next quarterly issue of Alaska Home magazine. The nice speckled brown field tiles are all the same glaze, so the difference in appearance is due to the placement in the kiln. An enlarged drawing of the entire area was provided so that plate/stencils could easily be made, especially for the odd shaped tiles, near the top. All the tiles are made from the local clay from the Anchorage mud flats, a part of the Boot Legger Clay formation, and they are stamped on the back with “Cook Inlet Glacial Clay”.


Wood Stove Tile Installation

The Fur Rondy sales begin tomorrow at the Dimond Mall (in Anchorage) and I will be heading to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona for the Indian Art Market on Thursday.

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Two-Inch Pendants

2-inch Pendants

2-inch Pendants

These are recent tests for a two-inch size pendant. None sold at the Colorado Indian Market last month, but I’ll see how they do this summer. If they didn’t have holes, they could be tiles. To be installed with tiles, they would need to be slightly smaller, like 1-7/8″, so they could fit four to the same area as a four-inch tile, plus they would need to be just a tad thicker.

I’m working half time on tiles while I prepare taxes and work on the fish-skin coat that will have some of the buttons from the previous post.

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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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Portugese Camino

End of the Camino

Santiago, Spain

Walked the Portuguese Camino with my 85 year old Father and two younger sisters, Dorothy in the middle and Karen on the right. Dorothy has a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford and Karen is a civil engineer with the US Forest Service. We’re all engineers, I just switched to art. The ten day hike from Porto, Portugal to Santiago, Spain took us fifteen days. Our pilgrimage was leisurely this time as we sent our backpacks ahead each day and stayed in nicer hotels each night. By nicer, I mean with private bathrooms and sheets on the bed. We usually got two rooms and the price would be about $30-40 per person. Me and my dad roughed it a few years back by staying in the hostels, walking the much longer French route, but this time we spent a little more, and felt totally pampered. Our Dad did have a scare, an ear infection that felt like a possible stroke had our taxi speeding down rural, cobble-stoned lanes to the nearest hospital. The emergency room visit and antibiotics cost around $100 and then the pharmacy store charged another $20 for medication drops.

The tile business is taking up all my time, and this will be the best year, sales-wise, since I started a dozen years ago. I’ve decided to not go to the lower-48 next summer, since customers are coming to me up here at that time. Those trips will have to be in the off season.

I still have three more shows before the end of the year, so I better get back to the studio! The three shows are the Thanksgiving Fare at the Anchorage Museum, November 27-29, The Holiday Bazaar at the Anchorage Native Heritage Center, December 5, and a small group event at the Blue Hollomon Gallery December 12.

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Plaster Mold Crab Tile

Crab Tile

6″ Plaster Mold Crab Tile

It’s been a busy 2015 so far! I went to two arts & crafts shows in Denver in January and March, and I recently went to Doylestown, Pennsylvania for the Moravian Tile Festival. I made a short trip up to Fairbanks and picked up two new customers, the University Museum gift shop and the Wells Street Gallery. So this year started out with a bang.

Today I start a four week gig teaching student interns how to make tiles and pendants at the Anchorage Native Heritage Center. The Anchorage weekend market has been open since Mother’s Day and I’m selling there on Saturdays. My schedule this summer will be Saturdays at the weekend market downtown, and Monday, Thursday, Friday at the Heritage Center. I will be out of town three times, for the Chicago Botanic Garden show July 4th weekend, The Bellevue Museum show the last weekend of July, and the Sante Fe Indian Market the last part of August.

Other than tile related stuff, my dad, two younger sisters, and myself will be hiking for ten days on the Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostella, Spain pilgrimage. What a mouthful, how’s about just Porto to Santiago. This will be in late October, early November, so we were able to use off-season airline miles. Can you believe it, American Airlines offers round trips to Europe for 40,000 miles in the off season. We are members of Alaska Airlines and luckily American is a partner airline.

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New Fisherman Plate

Fisherman Plate

Cutting the Fisherman Plate

The old plate is in the upper left above and overlapped by the new plate that is being cut out of 300-lb cotton rag etching paper. The cut pieces that will be glued to a matte board are visible in the upper and lower right, under wax-paper, to keep an unexpected sneeze from scattering them about. My preferred glue is actually gesso and over the gesso will be brushed acrylic medium. This design is popular and probably has the most cut pieces, maybe two hundred or so. The triangular shape of the netted salmon gives the composition a stable and pleasing aspect. I will post a finished, glazed tile next.

I will be selling tiles at the Colorado Indian Market, January 23-25 in Denver.

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Sailorboy Pilot Bread

Pilot Bread

Alaskan Hardtack

Six-inch Square, Sailorboy Pilot Bread Art Tile, $75
Originally made this design as one of the thirteen 12″ tiles for Nana Development Corporation, one of the many native alaskan owned businesses that are fairly common these days. I can’t tell you how cool it is that the indigineous population has taken an active part in the current world, and a large part of that is business related, for better or worse, though, each regional corporation pretty much has a non-profit equivalent representing the same population. Anyway, the powers that be wanted to try something different than the Indian reservation system common in the lower 48.

Pilot bread is known by everyone that has lived in a rural area. Its a modern day version of hard tack, and it is kind of hard and lasts for ever.

I’m done selling for the season. For December, did one large event at the Alaskan Native Heritage Center, and three smaller ones at the Native Hospital, Nana Development Corporation, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. Did fairly well. Now time to build up inventory. I don’t think I’ve had more than a rare day or two off here and there in the last eight months. I need to hire someone so that I can keep up!

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