Friday, December 19, 2014

You know how I love tiles...

I have become an infrequent blogger. It's not because I am less committed, but maybe I have exhausted my supply of material. Sometimes I think I should recycle some of my old posts. Sometimes I waste my best thoughts on a quick FaceBook post. Then it doesn't seem worthwhile to revisit it as a blog post. I like keeping track of my artwork here. Right now I am not working on much and nothing I can really show, but I do have a lot of photos that are inspiring me. Maybe some of them will inspire you.

The subject is tile. If you've been following me for awhile you know I love it. (My kitchen might remind you of a Mexican restaurant) Spain and Portugal are the motherload of glorious tile. I took hundreds of photos of tile. The photo above is part of a building exterior in Lisbon, a city so in love with the material that they cover entire buildings with it—inside and out.

The history of tile in Spain and Portugal goes back centuries, starting with the Roman occupation of the region, but it takes its greatest influence from the Islamic tradition, brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the North African Moors in the 8th century. This was the origin of the marvelous geometric and foliage designs that make this tile so distinctive.

Doesn't this remind you of an Amish quilt? And the tiles above the "quilt" demonstrate one of my favorite characteristics of the tiles that are designed to create interlocking, secondary patterns when they are set in a grid— also reminiscent of traditional quilts.

The tile tradition continues to this day. This a map is in a plaza overlooking the city of Lisbon.

I like how the bit of pavement, above, seems to be scraps and pieces, and how the pedestal below was so badly mended.

These tiles are old, but clearly post-Moorish Spain. Islam discouraged the use of human or animal imagery in their art, lest it be considered idolatry.

I can't imagine a more beautiful way to adorn a city.

And a checkerboard tiled dome is the perfect topper for a palace or a garden shelter.

I took so many tile photos. These are just a few. When we were planning our trip I was surprised when several people asked, "why Spain?" I was pretty sure everyone harbored a longing to see Spain... Why? Well, history and food and Flamenco, and wine and olives and grandeur and music and Gaudi and Velasquez and tile!



  1. You may be an infrequent blogger right now, but when you post, it's always something interesting. The tile work is AMAZING! How long would you have to live there before it became commonplace? I think I would be walking around with my mouth hanging open all the time! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anonymous5:54 AM

    Seems to me you always have something interesting and worthwhile to write your beautiful photos today. Thank you for sharing. I've not been to Portugal or Spain and am not likely to go, so seeing a bit of what you did is a big treat.

  3. You've made it one of my top 10 places to see! Thanks for sharing the beauty~

  4. The third photo - the building of lilac hue - reminds me of one of your pieces with the buildings. Somehow I think the look you get for your buildings using the plaid fabrics visually relates to the tiled buildings. Or at least the tiles which are not so flourished.

    Like the others, I think that whatever you say, it is always worth reading.
    Sandy in the UK

  5. Love the tile inspiring! And as a fellow blogger, I understand the repetition issue. I think even if it feels like you're repeating a topic, time and experience bring something new to it. I always love reading your blog.

  6. I also love tile, especially the bright colorful tiles of Mexico and Spain and Morocco. And they do give me inspiration for quilts. You have some incredible photos here!

  7. Ditto - I love the tiles and I always find what you write to be interesting. I can think of at least one blogger who does an encore of "this day a year ago" and your posts are certainly worthy of a second time around.

    Happy New Year!!