The name "San José" is commonly used to refer to tiles made by the workshops and artisans in San Antonio, Texas, between 1930 and late 1970s. The key artist and entrepreneur who led a number of tile makers for many years was Ethel Wilson Harris. Many of the workshops shared themes, designs, and artisans, so it is often difficult to figure out who exactly made a specific tile.
After reading through Colors on Clay, a fantastic book devoted to San José tile workshops, I believe that my tile was created by Mission Crafts (1941 - 1977), a workshop owned and operated by Ethel Wilson Harris in post-WPA years. While the early tiles were made using a time-consuming cuerda seca (dry line) method, in 1970s almost all tiles were made with cuenca (raised line) and sold through a souvenir shop.
My tile, done with cuenca, depicts San José Mission. A very similar design with some minor differences is shown on page 44 of the Encyclopedia of American Art Tiles, Region 5.
Aside from a small chip at the top, it is in excellent condition.
- Dimensions: 8 1/4" x 8 1/4"
- Acquired: Jacksonville, Florida, July 2014