Masonry Heaters, Wood-Fired Ovens, Natural Building

Shower Stall in Trout Lake, WA


This is a shower stall that serves as the foundation for a beautiful masonry heater on the main floor of the house.  The family who we worked with had spent some years in Hawaii before returning to live on their homestead in the Pacific Northwest..  They wanted to remember the lush tropics and their time in Hawaii each time they bathe.  So Eva and I came up with the following tile and mosaic installation.  We worked very closely with the owners on which materials, what colors, and what images they wanted.


Some details:




The masonry stove for which the shower stall we tiled was the foundation…


Look at Eva’s blog for photos of installation process, “before” photos, description of this masonry heater and wonderful coverage of the earthen plaster she did on the exterior – amongst many other projects she has done.

Written by in: Tile and mosiac |

Living Room and Bathroom of Artists' Home

This is Mauricio and Gilda’s floor that I just finished. Included are photos of the general sections of the floor and details of the initially awkward spaces that I had to fill which turned into abstract homages to elements of nature and our ways of interacting with it. This project was a good experience in the age-0ld idea that limits can be boundaries which encourage creativity. Mauri and Gilda did not buy even ONE ceramic tile. The tiles you see are all recovered from the trash piles of the three main hardware supply stores of the town of El Bolson. Some come from incomplete boxes and most had broken corners which a normal mason would not consider working with. While I’m at it I’ll include photos of their bathroom I created some months ago.

Written by in: Tile and mosiac | Tags: |


Our footsteps can neither be too complicated that we don’t get where we want to go nor can they be so simple that they are irrecognizable in the paths of time……..

This project was an interesting one because it came with the realization that when one is designing a space, especially a living room/kitchen, it can’t be overcharged with a fixed image (or even a fixed allocation of physical furniture). A living room, which seems to often workout to be the same space as the kitchen for the exact reason that cooking and life go hand in hand, should be flexible. It should offer for the opportunity for the people who live in it to enact an infinite possibility of activities and it should be rearrangeable to re-create the space and continually create inspiring newness in our lived environment.

So the challenge here was to do something artistic, but very subtle, something that would remind one of the uniqueness of the space without limiting in any way the infinite possibilities of identities of the people withing nor of their activities. My friends Marie and Tomas with their sons Gaspar and Maná will be moving in in the next week or two. May their lives in the building be blessed!

(Before and Afters)

Written by in: Portfolio,Tile and mosiac |

Cecilia's Commercial Kitchen with Artistic Punctuations

This time the spark is back and it’s time to write about processes.
Do we sometimes forget that it takes 6 months for the wheat that we eat to grow?
And what of the clay that our plates are made of? How many million years did it take for the natural processes of erosion (be it wind, water, frost, or earthquakes) to grind the mother rock of mountain valleys into particles so fine that even their electrons are exposed and in their nakedness naturally search attraction which gives to the soft, kneaded belly of clay its stickiness. What creative dreams the goddess of ceramics must have, she whose braids are a trinity of intertwined clouds, to have the strength to grind with the pestle of time these valleys or mortars of process in which we live.
Do we forget that time and weather are the same in many a native toungue: tiempo, temps (for we are natives too, don’t forget!)? And so how do we choose to measure time? – by day and night? by season upon season? by the steady swing of a pendulum? or by the dithering tempo of a crystal of cuartz whose caffeinated dance is codified into human caligraphy on liquid crystal displays and electron bombarded sheets of melted sand which freeze into glass? What seas of truth might we be screening ourselves from?

Recently I’ve been trying to figure out why it is that I always feel so rushed, so in a hurry, and so often dissappointed by what I was not able to accomplish in the day. For this reason I wanted to share these new processes of creation. If it takes millions of revolutions areound the sun to create the clay that was used to make these tiles, perhaps I can take another few moments of eternity to partipate in its evolution.
If almost all indigenous cultures (this includes the judeo-christian) measured time by phases of the moon, might we say that we have placed that moon on to the butchering block and split it into 24 exactly equal pieces? In our kitchens, do we each futher cut the passage of seasons into 60 exactly equal parts to serve a sixtieth of that as hors-douvres (sp!?) at this human cocktail party? Waith a second here, have we collectively slaughtered time?
Will the earth have to shake with frustration if we don’t learn to let ourselves be wrapped up in the soft white blanket of ocean spray and allow the lapping lullaby of waves upon the shore sing to us of eternity?
Until the next time we can light a fire and sip warm cinamon-scented apple juice from this year’s harvest together!
Written by in: Tile and mosiac |

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