Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Book Recommendation for California Tile

Have you ever learned the meaning of word and then a few days later you read the word in a magazine, then someone mentions the word at a party, and shortly thereafter you see it repeatedly? I had a similar experience with someone I just recently met and want to share some of the great things I’ve already experienced from this relationship.

A colorful tile circa 1920 found in a Beverly Hills storefront
Colorful tile circa 1920 found on a Beverly Hills storefront

If you follow this blog, then you know I’ve been a long-time supporter of the Tile Heritage Foundation. Joe and Sheila co-founded the Tile Heritage Foundation in 1987; Joe serves as the Foundation's president. When I first joined many years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Sheila Menzies at the Coverings Booth; but, Joe and I seemed to always miss each other. I had the great pleasure to meet with Joe and Shelia this past June to help better understand the THF’s goals and how I and my company, Avente Tile, could further their worthy cause.

A few weeks later, my spouse visited The California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica. This small museum has a great mission: to present displays of American decorative and fine arts, and to promote the passion that is collecting. On my spouses’ return, I received a wonderful book about "California Tile" that is edited by none other than, Joseph Taylor.

California Tile The Golden Era 1910 - 1940 is a Great Resource for Historical California Tile Patterns
"California Tile The Golden Era 1910 - 1940" is a great resource
for historical California tile patterns.
Book Jacket Image via Amazon.com

California Tile: The Golden Era 1910-1940: Hispano-Moresque to Woolenius was first published December 1, 2003 by California Heritage Museum for an exhibit with the same name. Joseph A. Taylor is the editor for this book. How I missed the book or the exhibit at the California Heritage Museum, I'll never know. But, if you love tile and have a passion for the great California tile makers like Batchelder, Malibu, or Pomona, then you'll love this book. It has great photos of tiles, installations, and the manufacturing process.

Here's a paragraph from the introduction by Joseph Taylor: "Over the years ceramic tiles integrated themselves it the cultural fabric of California; tiles are everywhere and they're convincingly apparent. The brightly colored wall tiles along with the rich earthen roof tiles and pavers, often found in stark contrast to white stucco facades, have woven their way into the community conscious.

A Moorish-influenced California tile detail from the early 1920's
A Moorish-influenced California tile detail from the early
1920s decorates this window in Los Angeles.
Further, the book showcases how “California tile makers excelled in their craft during the first half of the twentieth century, producing richly patterned designs for building facades, interiors, garden ornamentation, furniture, and even serving pieces. 'Old California' art tile is rich in tradition and innovation.”

Lastly, the tireless effort that went into researching and publishing this work should be applauded. With hundreds of tiles from Hispano-Moresque, Kraftile, Helen Greenleaf Lane, Malibu, Markoff, Muresque, Pacific, Pomona, Tropico, West Coast and more, not only is this publication a great source of inspiration, it's also a vehicle for instilling a sense of appreciation of the colorful art form of tile.

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