2020 CID Award Winner Spotlight: Special Recognition – Artistic Projects


At Coverings Connected in April 2020, we virtually honored six outstanding Special Recognition projects that demonstrated spectacular craftsmanship and creativity in the use of tile & stone. This week we’re putting the spotlight on the three projects who were recognized for their artistic expertise.


Special Recognition: Artistic
Hand-Cut Kachemak Bay Steam Shower
Tierra Tile
Homer, AK

I was approached to do a mosaic of a local iconic mountain scene in a residential steam shower.

The basic design was provided from a couple of pictures that the homeowners provided. I was asked to incorporate the ocean and the sky along with mountains, glaciers, and flowers among the field tile.

This job proved to be challenging on a few levels. The first was searching out the perfect field tile. I knew that I needed to find a blue tile that would work both for the ocean and the sky. The natural wood grain of the 8×48 inch blue plank tile added the illusion of waves and clouds and proved to be the perfect fit.

When choosing the tile for the mountains I utilized the lines on different colors of wood grain plank tile, the unique spotting and color variation of slate, and the natural veining of marble to accentuate the natural topography. I chose a green ceramic tile with color variation for a shadowing effect on the fireweeds. Locating a fuchsia colored tile for the fireweed was another challenge. I found a solid surface company that offered the color I was looking for, but it was only available in 3/4-inch slabs. I explained that I was in need of a thinner product for a tile mosaic, so they graciously sold me a couple of boxes of their samples which were tile size.


Special Recognition: Artistic
RiverHouse–Bring the Outside In
Point Pleasant, PA

The chances are good that a meaningful project could come your way when you have a 30-year lineage as a “tile nut”. Such luck ensued when a friend bought a vernacular stone house with organic arches and turrets.

Like every good tile setter, I began making the tiles one by one, carving into wet clay in my studio, glazing and firing the ceramic tiles one by one. I began drawing cartoon mockups of all of the walls. I thought about the story, a story of migration. This is the story of the owner and all the worlds that he inhabits, each distinctly different, from Hong Kong to Prague, from PA to L.A. The lush natural beauty of a small Pennsylvania river town is what surrounded his River House and I was bringing the outside in.

I emptied my tile boneyard of most every tile that had “collected me” and hauled it over to the job site. I started each day walking the banks of the Delaware River and ended each day walking the banks of the Delaware River till the river ran through me and onto the wall.

I began sorting through and collating tiles and stone and glass, combining the rich textures and tones into tapestries surrounding my handmade tile elements.

Special Recognition: Artistic
Six Beautiful Butterflies
Custom Mosaic Creations, Inc.
Silverton, OR

What will this client have in mind for their mosaic design? What colors, textures of stained glass, sparkle or no sparkle grout and color, and what emotional attachments will be added to the mosaic to personalize it?

When I first met with Diana Paul regarding her mom’s kitchen remodel. I learned that she and her five other siblings wanted something special for their mom. They wanted to express what it was like growing up as one of their children.

Working on the barn, while cutting the stained glass for the windows and barn, I felt their dad’s presence. I was putting into the project all the positive energy and special thoughts for a man I never met but respected because he raised such a beautiful family. When it came time to create his log truck and dove as a memorial for their dad, I wanted his truck to look as much like the picture as possible, I cut mirror for the “chrome” wheels. I especially enjoyed creating this particular part of the project.

The final part of the project was Abiqua Falls, near Silverton, Oregon. The glass I was about to use for the rock wall was incredible. The colors ranged from light amber to a deep root beer, some tints of green. The glass also has a texture which I figured that would be perfect. Oh, I almost forgot about the beautiful waterfall, how about white stained glass with iridescent, as the water ripples out and turns into a blue/greenish watercolor. It was just splendid to work with.

Do you have a recently completed project that features innovative design and installation of tile & stone? Consider entering it to the 2021 CID Awards – the submission portal will open this fall.