Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Glass tile mosaics

Gorgeous glass mosaics

Mosaic company, New Ravenna was formed in 1991 by president Sara Baldwin. Baldwin was a painter in graduate school and turned that art background into a mosaic design company that now employees 140.  "I was a painter, but I realized that people will spend more on functional art than on a painting or a work of fine art. So I decided to make functional and useful products for high-end clients. Somehow it is easier for them to spend on that, sneak the art in that way."

Baldwin's mosaic designs are very complex. "This peacock design will take three people a week to put together," says Baldwin.

"With custom mosaics, and our vast array of materials, any option is available, and some become paralyzed with the unlimited possibilities. So we almost have to be psychologists to unearth what aesthetically turns them on," says Baldwin. "We need to so we can reflect their personalities. A designer can draw it out of them. It is a real interactive process not only with the client but also the designer."

Baldwin says, "This work is exciting and it is real fun creating these mosaics."

Oceanside Glasstile has been in the handcrafted glass tile business for 16 years. Their tile is made by pouring molten glass into molds, cooling them, and then hand-cutting the individual pieces. They reuse the trimmings and use recycled glass in many of their products. Because they are handmade, the tiles have slight irregularities, which are desirable as they catch and reflect light.

According to Johnny Merckx, Oceanside's executive vice president, " We've been playing around and breaking the grid. Before, everything was square and rectilinear now we're bringing in curves and bevels."

"Feras Irikat, who is our new product designer and has a background in color theory, and I worked together on this new line. We've seen glass used in so many combinations with concrete and metals, so we focused on adding warmth. We're continuing to create palettes that are neutral and incorporating more modern hues. Our colors are cosmopolitan neutrals--earthy and neutral, but more intense and punchier earth tones. These new colors are not a full departure from our other lines."

Hakatai is an eleven-year-old glass mosaic company based in Ashland, Oregon. President Marshall Malden says, "Our recycled line has expanded and we've seen more interest in environmentally friendly products. We're working with our suppliers to use more recycled glass. It is a balance with the fashion side, because of course, it has to look good too."

"We have a new product committee no lack of stuff to choose from. It is selecting what we do and what we think will work and if it fits us," says Malden. "In this economy, it is important to be flexible, so we're staying competitive and staying current."

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