Sunday, January 16, 2011

Peaceful Tile

For Leah Zahavi, the path to becoming a tile artist has been an inspiring journey. Her history as an artist informs her tile work, enriching it with texture, meaning and beauty. 

Inner Piece - Single Red Flower

Zahavi began her path to tile, first as a fiber artist and then as a university art instructor. Later, she was a museum curator and educator for a Tibetan museum. In addition, because her mother is the internationally recognized mosaic artist Ilana Shafir, Zahavi was exposed to the world of mosaics. 

“As an artist myself, I realized that the materials available to mosaic artists seemed rather limited," said Zahavi. "I felt that I could expand the textures and patterns of their mosaics. So I decided to create a line of inspiration pieces that mosaic artists could use.”

Zahavi got feedback from several mosaic artists who had purchased her pieces, but didn’t have the heart to break them for use in their own work. So she came up with the slogan “If it ain’t broken, break it!” But despite her encouragement, Zahavi still found that her work sat on other artists’ windowsills--intact. Eventually, she decided to start a tile line of her own
Inner Piece - Rippling Waters

Zahavi uses her skills as a textile designer to create patterns, ornamental forms, and imagery in clay. She also often employs the structure of a Mandala, which has a concentric composition with tightly balanced geometric shapes and a ring of protection. “Tibetan Buddhists believe that Mandalas transmit a positive energy to the environment and to the people who view them,” she explains. 

Inner Piece - Sunset

Thus, she named her line “Inner Piece” because it is evocative of “peace” and yet, is only part of the larger structure. Says Zahavi, “I like the idea that my tiles can enhance the environment, spiritually and aesthetically.”

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