Archive for the ‘Handmade tile’ Category

Mosaic Artistic Tile Adds Art to Forno Bravo Wood-Fired Oven Arch

Tiled arch of Forno Bravo wood-fired oven utilizing local art tile and simple stones

The flame is being fanned all across the country for Wood-Fired Ovens and the delicious food and entertainment they provide. We’re fanning the fire for exciting tile installations! We recently installed the tiles shown here on the arch of our own oven at our home.  There are so many ways to use tiles on an oven installation but I suggest including something creative into your oven design whatever you do. Break the boredom and drop the minimalist look from time to time!

You can choose tiles that are colorful, whimsical, classic, craftsman,  Latin, glass, stone; the possibilities are endless. Mosaics flow nicely and so believing I could work with the pieces we decided to combine these classic handmade decorative  art tiles with a simple grey stone, both of which are available through our showroom The ARCH. Just give us a call and we can discuss creative ideas with you. I selected a grey grout which still allows for the various stone colors to pop out. Over the years the dark grout color won’t get dirty in appearance and it tones down the brighter tiles to blend with the earthy primitive nature of wood-fire cooking.

Sketch, plan, let it evolve.

Move the pieces around until they work. It changed from this initial plan but was part of the process.

I started with a cardboard template of the arch and some paper cut outs of the tile pieces and stone shapes to see how it would flow.

After sketching and playing with some layouts, I attached the template to an arch on one of our showroom Forno Bravo models. (The oven shown below is the Casa2G80 32″ interior diameter which happens to have the same arch size as our Casa2G90 36″ interior diameter oven).

Once all the selections were made I special ordered the metallic glaze beauties from a local artist whose work we display at The ARCH, and the stone tiles that come on a mesh material.

Continue to experiment with the arch

I hand picked the most workable stones, placed them on the template and played and played with them until they were working with the tiles.

I had to keep in mind that I would apply extra adhesive to the backs of some pieces.

Working with the pieces

Pressing tiles and stones into tile adhesive.

A few modifications from the original layout so I recommend careful measuring of the template.  The process installing the mosaic was more enjoyable than I predicted as I had not completed a mosaic before.

Applying tile adhesive with a putty knife

It was a very sculptural feeling when it came to moving the grout throughout the mosaic.  I used a grout bag to squirt the grout around all the pieces given there was so much variation in sizes and heights.  The highs and lows of tiles and stones all connected as I smoothed the grout between the pieces.

Sponging off excess grout and cleaning.

Finally, the arch was complete!

The counter surface will meet up with the oven floor entry for easy use when cooking.

It was a pleasure to finally relax and see the fire nestled in the oven with the tiled arch surrounding it.


The ARCH Shares Examples of Framed Art Tiles and Recommends Studio B

Little Bird sgraffito black and white tile framed in a simple black frame

I’m not a professional framer, but I have a business neighbor and friend who is- and she is excellent.  Patti Bell with Studio B Custom Framing and Fine Art has been there for customers of The ARCH that want tiles framed (or other types of art pieces).

Framed woven textile by Jean McGrew. Another fine example of enhancing the piece. Currently available for 186.00.

Many of the tiles at The ARCH are carefully considered as focal pieces in installations. They are set in back splashes, behind ranges, bathrooms, garden areas,  you name it. Though, a number of pieces are simply collected and appreciated individually as collectable art. They’re not installed, just purchased by those that appreciate and love  art tile. Some of these tiles aspire to be displayed in a safe simple manner. I say safe, because the hanging methods of tile by themselves are often a little dubious. Personally I do not trust most of the small indentations on the tile backs meant for a nail or hook. They are just too shallow and I cringe at the thought of one dropping off the wall when the wind  catches it or a door slams shut.  If you would like to consider framing a tile the frame shouldn’t overpower the piece as with any other art piece. The frame should compliment it.

Ravenstone tiles in complimentary frame

Shown here is an example of a burled wood frame effectively picking up the glaze tones of the trunk of a triptych set of Ravenstone tiles. Patti has the experience and eye for recommending what will work well with a piece.   This frame has a movement and character that works perfectly with the tiles.  I’ve seen many Ravenstone tiles framed, but I must say this is one of the most complimentary frames I have seen with these tiles. Presently this triptych is availble in The ARCH gallery for only 250.00.

Grouping of three framed sgraffito tiles

This collection of black and white sgraffito tiles works well with  simple black frames.  The frame does not compete in any way with the piece.

Heron sgraffito tile

It’s  a simple affordable frame setting off an  eye-catching collection of tiles. These are just a few examples. My biggest regret is that so many tiles that were framed over the years didn’t get photographed!  I’ll work on this and you may see some additional framed pieces added to this blog or a future blog. Meanwhile, come visit us!

Showroom with assorted tiles from The ARCH. Lower right has two craftsman framed tiles with oak frames.

Hand Finished, Hand Made, Brings Details Together For Small Bathroom

Handmade tiles, cast bronze switchplate, American Clay plaster

Waiting for the details you like for a room is well worth it.  So often it is evident that a room is “rushed” with whatever the “deciding forces” gather together just to have it all finished. That “hurry  up and finish attitude” often lacks a little vision. To me, it’s worth waiting on something that you know you are going to like and ENJOY!

Take the tiles in this small bathroom for example. They were selected to compliment the clay walls and woodwork which tied together the entire vanity area in a pleasant way.

  The room has a lovely American Clay finish (Clay type:Loma, pigment- Amber Grain).

It is a joy to live with – as it breathes with the humidity beautifully.  The mirror had been positioned on a “temporary” wood brace, just waiting for it’s friendly art tile to arrive one day.

Well, the tile recently arrived, as we ordered from one of the talented artists at The ARCH.


 We simply drew a line in the clay, scraped off with a scraper the area where the tile would fit within.

Removing clay in area to be tiled. Easy!

We taped off a few areas and installed the tiles.  Any slight touch ups in the clay can be made with the original clay- just re-hydrate what came off the wall(!), or we will use some from a container saved from the original application.

So there you have it, a small area revitalized where  all the natural elements work together.

Newsletter featuring this installation: May Newsletter 2011

Available at The ARCH:

American Clay plaster, application services

Knob detail on the cabinet by Notting Hill

Switchplate in cast bronze

Soy candles, plantlife soap

“Beauty in the Glaze” Blog – more on tiles featured.

Craftsman Tiles and Switchplates Among Eclectic Mix at The ARCH

February 17, 2011 2 comments

4x8 inch tiles with pounded border

The Grove Park Inn is hosting their annual Arts and Crafts Conference this weekend once again which will include displays or framed work of several tile artists and crafts people The ARCH works with.

When I walk among the vendors I have an appreciation for some of our local artist’s work as well as those more “well known”. These 4×8 inch tiles and mountain mural set are by Tzadi Turrou one of the area’s  talented artists  whose work is at The ARCH. Her Cuerda Seca technique is exquisite.

Three tile Mountain Mural by Tzadi and other works

Those of us that live in Asheville  are aware that we live among an eclectic mix of colorful architectural styles  and among the long list of  styles the Arts and Crafts Style is one prominent style typical  among many of our  neighborhoods and within downtown Asheville.

We have met many in the area  who maintain a certain style throughout their entire homes  and others that prefer a mix of styles in their small Arts and Crafts bungalow.

8x8 inch tile Scott Weaver

Nouveau Ginkgo Asheville Tileworks

Nouveau Ginkgo Asheville Tileworks

Arts and Craft Ceramic switchplates

Then there are many that infuse a great deal of contemporary design but perhaps add just a touch of the original bungalow style of their home with, for example, a single switchplate such as this copper Prairie style.

Copper switchplate Prairie style

Next door Patti Bell with Studio B has framed collectibles or unusual tiles including a five tile rambling Art Nouveau style lizard set from Ravenstone Tiles.

From contemporary glass mosaic tile or craftsman tile we have  it in the mix. Just a few examples are presented here. Give us a call at The ARCH 828 253 5455.

December Newsletter 2010 Natural Gifts from Candles to Floors

December 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Gift ideas at The ARCH

Visit The ARCH during this holiday season. To view our December newsletter click here.

In addition to gift ideas, we have flooring specials, and take a moment to read the interesting article from the Asheville Citizen Times about Hempcrete Building in the Asheville area.

Tiles and Finish Ideas for your Wood-fired Oven!

Working on a wood-fired oven design and “ovenscape”? What thought are you giving to the artistic elements? In addition to researching your options, be sure to sit in your favorite inspirational place with your sketchpad and cool drink to think through the fun part.  There are so many ways to finish an oven and the surroundings. As a dealer of Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens and American Clay  I’ve come to appreciate a finishes as well as a wide selection of brick, natural lime finishes, stone, custom concrete and tile. I can appreciate a setting for wood-fired ovens with indigenous stonework where the oven blends into the landscape as well as does Hermits Rest at the Grand Canyon. I can appreciate an eco-modern custom concrete minimalist style that will cast a shadow of a basil leaf.  However, I am a little less excited about finishing off a perfectly wonderful installation with uninteresting surfaces with little thought to the shapes and lines that surround it.  Go for something that you love that will greet you every time you walk into your new cooking oasis! Allow your oven to reflect the delicious food it will deliver!  The ARCH is into finishes as our name implies. We can recommend a local concrete craftsman to create surfaces for the oven face, hearth, counter or benches. We can also offer Jim Erskine’s skills- an Asheville area mason of over thirty years- who can face the oven or foundation walls with rock, brick, or our new offering of  natural lime plaster finish that is historically time-honored for thousands of years. Then there are tiles,tiles, tiles and more tiles. Create a great keystone in an arch, an array of insets, a mosaic that hugs the entire oven, a theme of plants,  herbs, natural vines, geometrics, three dimensional or flat.  There are endless ideas to consider!  Above is a gallery of images for inspiration. Think about each image and don’t be confined to the shape of one piece- it’s just a sample not a composition. Take the time to think your about your selection of finishes and  design elements and have fun with the process!

Handmade tiles at The ARCH: Beauty in the glaze

 A  rich glazed tile backdrop surrounding a fountain? Something dynamic behind the range that you cook near daily? A few low horizontal serene rows behind the vanity?   Whether it be a nook and cranny or a larger expanse, the radiance of hand glazed handmade tile will bring you a little more  joy as these tiles will influence your surroundings with a beauty that machine made, knock ’em out factory tiles just don’t provide. We’re talking about that special place you are considering- not the entire kitchen floor.  There is something about knowing and sensing the feeling of fingers actually smoothing edges, carefully drying the clay in a studio space, glazing and firing by hand. You can sense  something intriguing in handmade tilework.  Entered here are a handful of images of hand glazed samples and tiles by one of the incredible tile artists represented at The ARCH. This will be one of several entries about handmade tiles available through The ARCH.