Meet Tile Artist Cyra DuQuella
Now let me tell you a little about her. She is an artist and business lady who lives just outside Portland, Oregon. I’ve heard her called “the Tile Temptress,” a la Saxon Henry. I myself had begun to affectionately call her “My Tile Fairy.” And this of course was all before Cyra partnered up with Building Moxie and the 106 Mile Fund.
Maybe you know Cyra DuQuella makes handcrafted decorative tiles (yes, each and every one by hand.) Trading as Tiledecorative.com, she specializes in Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco tile. You may know that she can customize borders and accents to fit almost any installation. You may know that she offers 300+ colors of glazing, but can match and perfect almost any color through her custom design services.
Now, you might not know that she employs old world techniques called tubelining and cuerda seca. You may not know that she also helps manage the twitter account GreenofLiving. Nor would you know that she sometimes even makes and sells incredibly unique jewelry in an Etsy shop.
And you may not know that her tile was recently featured in an episode of the DIY Network’s hit – Bath Crashers.
What Bloggers Have to Say
You may also not know that she has been covered by three of the bestest peeps I know in the webosphere . . . a fact that makes doing a feature on her a little more difficult, but only if I fight it. So for this post, and from this point forward — I’ll turn it over to some of the bestest hits from these bestest peeps:
*First Nick Lovelady
Celebrating Cyra’s network debut, here.
Nick Says: The tiles are beautiful and unique – DuQuella is one of the few studios worldwide that create tube lined tile. Tiles are made in the USA by artisans who put care and love for what they do into each individual tile.
He continues: Truly customized designs. . . . You’ll receive glaze samples to choose from and get to see the glaze color in the light where the tile is going to be installed before deciding (This is a MOST important part of the process). Get customized sizing so your tile fits your dimensions perfectly and customized pattern sizing so the design fits your project. Molds are not used- EVERY tile is handcrafted specifically for your order.
And: DuQuella customers also receive computerized preview of what a tile project will look like as well as the layout and strike off sample tile for orders of multiples. ….Available in lots of sizes, DuQuella can fit any project! 6×6, 4.25×4.25, 3×6 subway and any custom size up to 10×10 is within your next tile projects reach. Decorative tile can be sized to fit within any size field tile grid.
And Heck – I’ll just copy this whole section:
Green Studio Practices
Thankfully, DuQuella Tile is at the forefront of conservation. Just a few way that DuQuella Tile helps save the environment:
- Always fires kilns with full load to conserve energy.
- Never uses glazes with lead or barium ingredients.
- Recycles left over pieces from cutting tiles to custom sizes to create square foot installation panels of small tiles.
- Ships using recycled packaging materials and boxes
*Now with Saxon Henry
Check out the juicy quotes here >>
“We craft our tile using the old world method of tubelining,” she explains. “No molds or machines are involved and all decorative work is done by hand. We instantly became mesmerized by the flowing lines when we saw the designs in Europe.” Cyra describes the process as “calligraphy with clay,” adding, “There can be no hesitation, no wandering attention. As the clay line flows, it becomes meditative and fluid.”
Saxon writes: Only a few studios worldwide create tile using this process, which requires a high level of skill. It is also very labor intensive and for that reason its popularity as a production method at the turn of the 20th Century was short lived. “It is also very technically difficult,” she explains. “The wet clay line is drawn onto a bisque (once-fired) tile. The tubeline mix must melt enough to become part of the tile but not so much that shape of the clay line is distorted.”
These images from Saxon’s post beautifully illustrate the tubelining process:
The design is drawn on the tile with a thin raised clay line
The areas created by the tube lining are then filled in with glaze
In the firing, the tube lining holds the glazes in place
Finally, again using Saxon’s words (just wonder how I feel) “… here’s another great post about their tile on Paul Anater’s blog (he always beats me to the best stories but I forgive him)!”
*Paul Anater‘s interview with Cyra
Paul asks — Are there any influences you rely on particularly?
Cyra says — I’ve never really been much for trends. I am in love with historical tile – especially European Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau. The classic designs, the craftsmanship, the methods. Also Japonica aesthetics, designs and patterns.
Paul asks — Do you work in media other than tile either on your own or professionally?,
Cyra says — I’ve worked mostly in clay –originally with wheel-thrown, functional stoneware. Progressing to include a line of tableware created using found objects (mostly vintage) for slump and hump molding with textures and patterns using anaglypta papers, vintage buttons and stamps that I designed.
Paul asks — Out of all the patterns and projects you work on, which is (are) your favorite(s)?
Cyra says — Patterns –I love the flowing lines of the whiplashes of the Art Nouveau tile… and the earthiness of the Arts & Crafts tile… and the modern, futuristic edge of the Art Deco patterns.
Projects –I love when we are involved working up the layout and provide the field or subway as well as the decorative tile. Or when we have to come up with a design to go with the existing stained glass window in the room. I love working with the client who doesn’t have a big budget but still wants those few pieces of really special tile to transform their space.
I’ve borrowed images from each of these sites. For more on Cyra @ DuQuella Tile (and some tile porn) please check out her site and these posts I have referenced. Or if you saw my post from earlier this morning, check me in Chicago this week and of course I promise to tell you more good things about Cyra and DuQuella Tile.
Thanks for reading. Great day. ~jb