Art on Tile
About The Artist
Justine Tot Tatarsky • Woodacre, CA
Ceramics • CUSTOM COMMISSIONS
I am a life-long, self-taught artist who has spent decades working with ceramic glazes on terracotta tiles, exploring a wide range of subject matter with a medium that has traditionally been purely decorative. The expression in my work ranges from whimsical and romantic to serious and intellectual, but is unified in style by my bold, flowing line-work. My love of color - bright and dramatic or subtle and nuanced - also defines my art, and my palette is nearly unlimited. My partner, Clive, and I make editions of my artworks in limited series, drawing and painting each of them entirely by hand, and kiln firing them at our home studio in rural northern California. We mount my work on wooden backs for hanging, or leave it unmounted for installation. My work has been incorporated architecturally, indoors and outdoors, in both private homes and public spaces.
Q&A with the Artist
Tell us how your work is made.
I begin by drawing on one or more unglazed terracotta paving tiles, laid out as a 'canvas'. As my hand follows rhythms in my body and breath, forms emerge, and stories unfold from an origin that is mysterious to me. I use thin wooden sticks to spread low-fire glazes between the drawn lines, sometimes layering different glazes. Ceramic glazes are homogeneous pastel tones until transformed by firing into their intended vibrant colors and textures, so a lot of visualization is required when choosing colors. In our electric kiln, fired at 1825 F, my line drawing burns off to reveal a recessed terracotta line between the glazes, a signature aspect of my work. To produce editions of my artworks, Clive and I create templates from the finished originals, transfer the line drawings by hand to blank tiles using carbon paper, then glaze them according to my color scheme and fire them as described. While editions are very similar, hand-glazing and vicissitudes of firing make each unique.