This is a charming contemporary tile that I know absolutely nothing about. I am not even sure how this tile was made; the clay surface is really rough (intentionally so, I presume). The primitive outline of a donkey is incised into clay, and iridescent glazes that range from purple to teal cover its body. There is some incised writing in the lower right corner of the tile; it's either the artist's initials or the date, but I can't make it out. There are two additional clay elements on the frame, outside of the main tile; they are somehow attached to the frame. Continue reading
Category Archives: Unknown Maker
This is a new acquisition and by far the favorite modern tile in my collection. It's a hand-made wall plaque depicting a green horse and a blue rider under a bright moon (or is it sun?). The expressive design is full of details and is hand-carved into the tile. The background brown glaze is very glossy and shiny but the green on the horse is vellum, and so are some of the blues. It's quite large and has a rim that gives it more depth. The back of the tile is glazed with the same brown glossy glaze.
I am stretching the limits of my collection here a bit: this is not a tile table. However, it looks like one, if you squint. It was made around the same time that many of the tile tables were - 1920s - 1930s, and it has a wrought iron frame very similar to the ones that most makers would set their tiles into. It is "poor man's Catalina," in the words of the antique dealer I bought it from.
The intricate phoenix (or is it a pheasant?) design is created out of separate pieces of colored linoleum carefully put together in a mosaic. The image is really beautiful, and the colors are bright. The black border "tiles" are also cut out of linoleum, and the grout between them makes it look like the whole thing is a ceramic surface. Continue reading
These vintage hexagon tiles have incredible matte glazes. There is a lot of variation within the tiles of each color, and the speckled glazes are not uniform. The tiles are quite thick (1/2") and are made of white porous clay.
I was told that they were likely made by Calco (1923 - 1932), the pottery company in South Gate, CA, that was started by Rufus Keeler. Keeler later went to work for Malibu Potteries. He was known to be a big fan of experimenting with glazes, especially in rich colors. Continue reading
I keep telling myself that it's made by Catalina, but in reality it could have been made by any of the tile manufacturers across the US. Continue reading
This is a great 1920s table made with Spanish cuenca tiles. Tile-making was introduced to Spain by Moors some time in the 14th century and the tiles in this manner have been made throughout the centuries. Cuenca tiles were used extensively in the 16th century. A factory in Seville called Fábrica de Manuel Ramos Rejano made tiles that look similar between 1895 and 1965. Continue reading
Iznik, a town in western Anatolia (Turkey), was a center for the production of decorative ceramics starting in the last quarter of the 15th century. The pottery had fritware body painted with cobalt blue under a colorless lead glaze and usually combined traditional Arabesque designs with some Chinese elements. Turquoise and dark cobalt blue were the main colors used until additional colors (sage green and pale purple) were introduced in the 16th century. Continue reading
The star of my collection and a complete mystery. The tiles on this table are hand-painted with multiple glazes and fired several times. There are no cuerda seca or cuenca lines separating the colors, which makes this design truly unique. You can even see brush strokes in some of the glazes that didn't melt completely! Continue reading