Homeowner Commissions Ceramic Tile Mural at League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair
This summer, at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair in Sunapee, NH, I had the pleasure of meeting Atena Rosak. She fell in love with a long tree piece I had in my booth and commissioned a wall tile mural from me right then and there on the spot based on that piece. We looked at color, texture, design, which way the tree should bend and how thick its trunk should be. We picked colors together by arranging colored tiles I had in other murals hanging in the booth, and arranged them until we had the right color placement.
I began making the tree a few weeks after the show. I rolled out tile, draped the slabs of clay over small forms I premade, waited for the clay to firm up, then applied a dark thin wash of slip to the white clay surface. Then I began carving through that dark slip in a process called sgraffito carving. Have you ever done scratch board? The same concept is employed here. I carve through the black slip down through to the white porcelain below. I carve enough black slip away leaving only the lines of the image I want to portray.
This commission happened in my booth at the Sunapee League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair that takes place the first two weeks of every August. It is a nine day art show in which 250 or so artists display and sell their work at the base of a ski mountain. There is handcrafted EVERYTHING you can imagine. There is an array of furniture, fiber, basketry, ceramics, glass, woven clothing, home goods, scads of original jewelry, handmade sheepskin jackets, rugs, pillows, you name it—all people doing what they love to do—CREATE! You get a chance to purchase their work, interact with the artists themselves, and enjoy an outdoor beautiful country setting.
Here is Atena after we put a grouping of color ideas and shape of what the final piece would be.
She was very excited. She was hoping to find an original piece of art that she could feature in her home. My work struck her as a totally original way approach to wall art. The fact that it is ceramic tile made from porcelain clay, formed to create a relief that stands off the wall, was a fresh and welcome choice in the few choices there are in the world of sculptural wall art.
Here is the finished result of Atena’s mural. We are shipping it to her this week, and we hope she will share with us an installation photo when it is up on her wall!!
She says about the Sunappee fair and her piece:
“I am really looking forward to seeing the final piece in real-life. I had
such a great time at the fair this year and the enjoyment continues.”
Thank you, Atena.