Friday, September 16, 2011

DWELL guest blog: Tile Heaven

In the heart of design-centric West Hollywood, there's an extraordinary tile showroom just off Melrose. Filmore Clark owned and operated by Lee Nicholson, carries only domestically produced American artisan tile. A North Carolina native with years of tile experience under her belt, Lee knows a thing or two about the business. After noticing a disturbing trend valuing quantity over quality, she began to worry about the future of American artisans. This was the impetus for the beautiful little gem of a showroom that now carries and champions over 20 lines of US made tile. We visited Lee recently and got a tour of the store and the wide range of American tiles available.
Here is a small sampling of what they carry.

This subtle, geometric brand new line of tile called Instinct out of Chicago. It is a blond quarry body with a low-fire glaze from Lowitz & Company;, with a design inspired by American abstract painting.

 Blue Slide Art Tile has been making tile for 23 years. Headquartered in Point Reyes, CA, you can definitely feel the affect the beauty of the surrounding ocean and fog has on their designs. Their tiles are etched using brass and wooden tools, and the hand-crafted effect is palpable.

Modern-yet-retro and fabulously chic, Portland Cement Co. truly adds a third dimension to the world of tile. Started in 2006 this Oregon based company started to "fill a void in the concrete tile industry." Innovative, unique and durable, Portland Cement pushes the limits of what we think of as tile.

Founded in 1880, Rookwood Pottery was the first female-owned manufacturing company in the U.S. Rookwood, of Cincinnati, OH, has changed hands since then. Although most famous for their highly collectible pottery, they recently began producing tile again, and some are surprisingly modern, like these.

Started by industrial designer David Clark in his Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment, ModCraft now operates out of a barn in the Hudson Valley. Specializing in amazing dimensional tile in a truly gorgeous palette of glazes.

Lee Nicholson raved about GRID's abilities with large format glass tile, and a little hunting around on their website makes you think that with their architectural surfaces and tile anything is possible. A dazzling array of colors, patterns, mirrors and stone, all from this division of M2 Innovative Concepts in Tacoma, WA.

Founded in 1990, Native Tile in Southern California is known primarily for its Spanish, Craftsman, and California Mission style hand-crafted tiles. However, with over 800 copyrighted original patterns, the team at Native are constantly innovating. We were taken by these striking styles.

Second generation ceramicists Jason Coleman and wife Megan Coleman, joined forces (he on the creative side, she the business) to create Clayhaus Tile. A relatively new venture making handcrafted tile in Portland, OR, Clayhaus (the name is a nod to the Bauhaus movement) makes fun modern tile with a nod to the 60's.

Lots of companies do mosaics, but few have the options, the designs, the sheer volume of variety as New Ravenna Mosaics.  Founded in 1991 by Sara Baldwin, New Ravenna Mosaics employs more than 100 people and is one of the largest employers in Northampton County, Virginia.

Lee Nicholson in her element, the entry of Filmore Clark. Thanks for the hospitality.


  1. Lee is a great lady with a very keen eye. We're very happy to be working with Filmore Clark.

    David Clark

  2. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

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