Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Interview with Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

Today's post is the second in our Tile Artisans Interview Series. It’s a joy to share their love of tile. By getting to meet the artisan, you begin to discover both their techniques and inspirations. I met Esther of Lilywork Tile about eight years ago at Coverings, an annual tile and stone trade show. I was captivated by the unusual dance that her complex glazes played with unusual textures and classic patterns. Esther has a passion for tile and you’ll find that in every Lilywork Artisan Tile that is made. — Bill Buyok

Bosphorous/Rosette Focal by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

1. How and when did you start creating your tiles?
Both Paul and Esther, owners of Lilywork, come from art backgrounds. Paul studied at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. During this time, his mentor, Will Mead of Peace Valley Tile, introduced him to tile-making. It was here that Paul developed a passion for the craft that has been with him for the last 14 years. Paul had worked tirelessly to hone his craft, balancing his own business and, until recently, holding the position of Mold-maker at Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in Bucks County, PA. Esther, the other half of Lilywork, got her start at the Hartford Art School. Originally starting in printmaking and textiles, Esther quickly found her niche in tile-making. “I realized the layering of pattern, texture and color I wanted could best be achieved in the ceramic arts.”

Herringbone Backsplash by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

2. As an artisan, what inspires your creations?
Lilywork owners gain inspiration from travels, pulling ideas from architecture and cultures across Europe and the Near East.

Ravenna Listello by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

3. Now, of the many designs and projects, which stands out as your favorite? Why?
One of our favorite recently completed projects is a residential backsplash. It is a traditional space in a historic home using Lilywork field tile in the herringbone pattern. It also incorporates one of our more interesting textured field tiles, Bosphorous, and three-dimensional rosettes into the focal area. We were able to work more closely during the backsplash design process for this project.

Backsplash with 4" Field and Star+Cross Focal
by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

4. What was the proudest moment for you and your hand-made tile business?
One year ago, this past April, we both began to work exclusively for our own company. It is something special to look back at what had been built from the ground up and now could sustain us, especially during a time when the economy was uncertain.

Concept 1 by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

5. In promoting your creations, and to help gain greater exposure, which digital platforms do you use (Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)? How do you use them to promote your hand-made tile business?
Facebook has been helpful for showing studio process shots. It is invaluable for designers, dealers and prospective clients to see and understand the hand-made process.

Concept 2 by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

Concept 3 by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

6. Which of these social media platforms has helped your business the most? How?
We self-promote via our website, and Facebook, which have been useful tools for people familiar with our business to further explore our products and concepts. Houzz has introduced our business to a wider market not yet familiar with Lilywork. We would like to work more with Pinterest, as time permits.

Babylonia Listello with 1" Field Tile by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

7. Where do you see the company going from this point forward?
Lilywork recently moved to Stonington, CT, and we look forward to working locally, and direct to the trade in our new location.

Iznik Listello with 2" Decoratives by Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC

Name: Paul & Esther Halferty
Company(s) Name: Lilywork Artisan Tile, LLC
Email: info@lilywork.com
Phone: 215-859-8753, 860-599-6050

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LilyworkTile
Website: www.lilywork.com

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