Monday, July 28, 2008

Tiles With Style ~ Diane Holycross

I am fascinated with tile. I love the way it feels, I love the sound of water falling in a tile shower. Tile and architectural ceramic installations are becoming increasingly popular as people of all walks of life seek to individualize and enhance their living spaces
Diane Holycross is the artist/owner behind Tiles With Style. Known for her catalog of leaf tiles, Diane has had her work featured in numerous magazines across the country and encourages people to bring the outside in with the use of her tile.

Why is it about tile that has maintained your interest?
It's probably one of the most difficult jobs I've had to date. There are so many variables to consider when making tile. Just when I think that I have it down to a science, I run across a new problem to resolve. A good example is my large sea turtle shells. For some reason that shape is nearly impossible to fire without cracking. It usually cracks in the same place each time I fire it...very frustrating.
How did your tile business come to be?My husband Roger and I were building our retirement house in Wyoming and I couldn't find any tiles that I liked. They were all so boring. All I wanted was some color, not too much to ask. I couldn't find any, so, I thought I'd put my degree in Art Education with a ceramics concentration to work. I first made round tiles for a half bath...
What get's you in in the mood, what inspires you?
I'm a very hard worker and I do enjoy my art. I guess that's all I need to be opening a load of glaze ware is like opening presents on Christmas. As for inspiration, I think it's just nature itself. I love the outdoors and everything it has to offer. I feel it's important to document nature, before it's gone. It's something that must be preserved.
Do you listen to music when you work?
Yes, sometimes a bit too loud! I listen to a variety of music, but I favor Country and R&B. It probably sounds like karaoke night in my studio most of the time.
Do you think there is a movement away from the manufactured to the handmade? I certainly hope so. This is what I think from talking to my customers...people want to bring a little of the outdoors, indoors. They want to create an environment in their homes that is unique. I believe with our growing population that it is difficult to find a place in nature where you don't run into another person when you are walking, hiking, or biking. By creating nature in your house, it's yours and yours alone. A wonderful place to meditate with no distractions.The people in Washington state seem to love my trout and salmon streams. It's nice to wake up in the morning, walk into a room and be shocked at what a beautiful floor or back splash you have all to yourself. I even feel that way myself. I get up in the morning, walk half asleep into my bathroom and smile at a beautiful salmon stream on my floor. I seem to forget it's there and when I see it I just smile. :)
In the last few years a movement has been evolving, the "handmade movement", have you noticed an increase in people seeking out handmade tile to, as you say, step out of the box?
I can say that over the past 9 years that I've been making my functional art tiles that my orders have quadrupled yearly. I've been trying to keep my prices affordable to the middle class, not just cater to the wealthy. That's why I have a 3 SF minimum order requirement. It's a small order that is not a waste of my time, but still affordable to most people...a happy medium. I can say for myself, I'd rather have something handmade than store bought. It's more personal.
Who is your favorite artist and why?Judi Miller-Morris. She lives in Saratoga, WY. I met her while we lived there from 2000-2006. She specializes in watercolor paintings. Judi has the exceptional ability to capture nature at it's finest. I own several of her paintings and prints.

What's your favorite cuss word?
Damn! Usually said when I drop a tile on the floor...several time per day or when my cat walks across something I just glazed...damn cat!
What is your favorite pleasure?I'll tell you my second favorite pleasure...I guess it would be feeding my horses in the morning. I have a Palomino gelding that is in love with me. He's like a big goobery, slobbery dog. He makes me smile from ear to ear. I swear he's the most beautiful horse I've ever seen. What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? I think the most important thing to remember when working in clay is that clay has a memory. It remembers everything you do to it and it isn't very some people. When you transfer tiles to a table, it remembers if you bent or stretched the tile, so you have to be very careful and be gentle. I also tell people that making tiles are more of a science than an art.

Make sure you check out Diane's web site Tiles With Style to see more of her beautiful tile. And remember, when remodeling seek out the handmade, step outside the box, live a little. Express yourself with tile!

Thank you Diane!

1 comment:

S. A. Hart said...

Great post! I've also enjoyed tiles used artistically. Perhaps you might look into artists who have worked exclusively in mosaics--it might be interesting. I explore different art concepts at my blog, The Artist's Muse at

Check it out if you get a chance!