See Jennifer in action glazing the Miniature Snowdrop Tile in this one minute video.
At the studio, we make a wide selection of unique art tiles. Our innovative tile-making system allows us to rapidly test new designs and all of the artists involve themselves in tile design. We want to shine a light on Jennifer Alexander’s tile designs. Her tiles – known in the studio as the ‘Jennifer tiles’ – have a distinctive style with heavy outlines and thick, rich glaze application. Jennifer was inspired by the idea of translating stained glass design to ceramic art. We love the rustic, handmade quality of these tiles, which complement our other pottery.
The Wildflower Vase is one of 6 pieces from the new limited-edition 2018 Spring Collection (available for order through May 11, 2018). This piece incorporates many fine details and intricacies that we documented for you to see in this short video. We hope you enjoy watching a sampling of the mesmerizing processes involved in creating this wonderful vase.
Marblehead Pottery, named after the small harbor town, Marblehead, Massachusetts, originated in 1904 as a small operation that served as art therapy for the patients in the local sanitarium. However, in 1905, Arthur Baggs purchased the pottery and turned it into a small production pottery studio, that created the recognizable, quintessential Marblehead-style pieces. The studio never employed more than 6 people. Their small output and refined design aesthetic make these pieces special among Arts and Crafts pottery collectors.
What is special about Marblehead Pottery?
We admire Marblehead’s refined – almost modern – aesthetic. Their glazes are tight, but not rigid, and their pieces have a simple softness that comes from the lightly incised lines and tonal, stony glaze palette. From a ceramic artist’s perspective they were making something truly special and truly difficult to replicate.
From inspiration to aptitude – a decade of trial and error
Nothing could have been more challenging to recreate than Marblehead’s style. Our high relief sculpture and flowing glazes are so different from techniques and materials that Marblehead employed. Perhaps that challenge made the endeavor so enticing! Running glazes mean that we always avoid horizontal lines, which tend to become obscured when the glaze flows over them in the kiln. In early Marblehead attempts we thinned out the glaze in order to apply it in a scant-dipped coat. To no avail. The glazes still ran over the black lines. For the next attempts we reformulated the glazes to run less by removing some of the glazes’ flux. But then our surfaces lacked interest and looked stagnant. It wasn’t until we learned how to spray our glazes (about 5 years ago) that we finally had a solution. With a spraying technique we can apply our inherently interesting glazes thin enough so that they don’t run and cause the decoration to bleed.
A new bag of tricks = an expanded body of work
We finally conquered our materials. This process has led to an avenue of exploration that we proudly see as expanding on the great Marblehead’s legacy, but with an Ephraim twist.
Ephraim and Archive Editions – a long-standing friendship
Ephraim has offered Archive Edition textiles in our galleries from the beginning. We met Paul Freeman, owner, and founder of Archive Edition Textiles, over twenty years ago at Arts and Crafts trade shows around the country. Our mutual love for Arts and Crafts era decorative arts led us on parallel paths of collecting originals and then reproducing Arts and Crafts Revival pieces. Kevin and Paul formed a friendship at these shows and always made a point of getting together after the show for dinner, where they compared notes about owning a small arts-based business. Kevin has personally collected Archive Edition Textiles for his home and sees them as an ideal complement for Ephraim’s pottery.
Archive Edition – an aesthetic of excellent and the perfect ‘soft landing’ for your ceramic collection
Paul’s discerning eye for authentic Arts and Crafts textile designs, colors, and quality is unmatched. Paul says, “Throughout my life, I have been continuously inspired by William Morris and hope to embody his spirit in all of our textiles.” Archive Edition Textiles represent a gold standard in Arts and Crafts design. We are so pleased to be able to share these wonderful textiles – which create the perfect soft landing for our pottery – in our galleries and now online!
Join us on St. Patrick’s Day for the release of our newest Studio Collection. The 2018 Studio Collection will include 12 new vase designs and 8 new tile designs. We have worked hard to bring these designs to you early in the new year and are excited to share the results of our creative musings.
In addition to a full showing of the new Studio Collection, each gallery will have an offering of Experimental Pottery designs available. Select pieces for each gallery are shown below and many more will be available in the galleries.