Obtaining a selection of colors in tiles is more complicated than building a fabric collection. I occasionally stop by the building supply stores where tiles are sold to see what they’ve got, but one of the hardest colors to find is red. How many people want a red tile wall, after all? Even the idea is overpowering. So red is scarce…I began to get desperate. Something that can’t be possessed becomes extremely desireable…
Then one of the merchants mentioned a company that might have what I sought. So I checked their website and headed over to their showroom on the other side of Tunis. There I found lovely, but expensive, tiles—generally three times the price of normal tiles. The price reflects the amount of hand work required to achieve such fine quality. And yes, they had red tiles.
When the saleswoman showed them to me, along with other wonderful colors, she eyed me as if I was going to start frothing at the mouth because I couldn’t hide my excitement. With some trepidation she asked what I was going to do with the tiles. “Oh, I’m going to break them.” She visibly winced and groaned. I tried to reassure her: “Don’t worry, I’ll use every little bit.” That didn’t help, so I explained about my mosaic plant containers. She became more pleasant and offered to sell me a square meter of a mix of colors. This was definitely close to paradise.
So I went home, sanded down the back ridges, and began breaking the tiles with my “nippers” (I still find that to be the strangest word—it tickles my funny bone) in an effort to get small, somewhat even pieces. My first pot (and one of my favorites) in the black, white, and red series:
One 30-year old pot required cementing to repair the disintegrating rim.
The Before or rather the right-after-I-began-gluing photo:
And the After:
Then I saw several examples of mosaicked balls or “orbs” on the internet. Lightbulb! So I gathered the necessary forms. The dogs had four shrunken soccer balls, so I left them with one. They don’t seem to have noticed. One day, while grocery shopping I found Christmas tree ornaments on sale so I bought a dozen balls in two different sizes. Synchronocity at its best: I have never seen Christmas tree ornaments for sale at my grocery store, much less on sale! And meditating on how to display the soccer ball mosaic, I came upon the idea of the tuna fish can. The Before:
The family portrait:
Spirals on the rounded surface are among my favorite design elements. Some crossover has been showing up lately on textile surfaces. A work-in-progress using needle-turn appliqué and running stitch, to be cut up for a larger piece:
For me, the spiral represents a contradiction: it provides movement and yet it turns in upon itself and comes to a dead-end. Related to the circle, it lacks the symbolism of protection and eternity because it does not close. Consequently, in my personal visual vocabulary, the ambiguity of the spiral makes it a design element that adds interest by creating tension.
And, if you should be interested in home décor and interior design, check out the Dorémail tile company’s site here. Just click on the British flag to view in English. It’s well worth the visit, especially to the "traditional" category.