This tile was my entry in a theme exhibit entitled “Northwest Native” held at the 2013 Tile Show put on by Artisan Tile Northwest at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle. There were several awards offered and this tile was chosen winner of the Tile Heritage Foundation* Award. The Tile Heritage Prize is awarded to the artist whose tile, in the opinion of the juror, best reflects the ceramic traditions of North America. Cliff Schultz of Art Tile Co., Inc. in Seattle was the juror. It also won the People’s Choice Award by a huge margin. The tile is 6″x12″ and made of Red Art terra cotta clay, oxidation fired to cone 04.
When faced with the challenge of creating a tile on that theme I thought immediately of the native tribes of the northwest. I wanted my tile to show the harmony with nature, hard work and ingenuity of the area’s original inhabitants, and to express action and tell a story. The tribes of the northwest depended heavily on salmon which were huge and plentiful up until about a hundred years ago. When tribesmen fished upstream where it was not safe to stand on the rocks or river’s edge, they built platforms out over the water for net fishing. This technique is still used today.
Also represented in this tile is a girl weaving a cedar bark basket, with native cedar trees and douglas firs in the back ground, and that trickster Raven and some ferns in the foreground.
I chose to make it out of terra cotta clay with minimal color and maximum sculptural texture to to give it an earthy, timeless/retro feel. I was very pleased to win the Tile Heritage Award as well as the People Choice Award for this work.