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Marie Gibbons: Tactile Memory Tile

On 25, Apr 2011 | 3 Comments | In Uncategorized | By man-admin

All hail The Tileista (JoAnn Locktov) as she once again brings to our attention an artist who makes magic with clay.  Marie Gibbons is an award-winning artisan tile maker whose work, lush with texture and color, makes the organic  Enjoy – Nancie  

Natural Desire to Climb

Jack and the Beanstalk could do worse than to depend on the “Natural Desire to Climb” series of tile by Marie Gibbons to reach his lofty treasure.  Inspired by the exhibit titled Ladders, the 5” square sgraffito tiles offer a toehold into the imaginative realm of Gibbons’ memory and experience. 

Her interest in the organic form resulted in creating plant-type imagery as ladders. The black velvet under glaze is revealed and also scraped away.

Gibbons manipulates her tiles by sketching directly onto the surface, pushing up from the bottom of the slab and pressing down from the top while the clay is leather hard. 

The high relief and ornate detailing create intricate patterns, dimension and whorls of energy.

Red Pods

“Red Pods” and “Spiral Tree Branch” continue the exploration with organic forms. Both 12” square tiles are finished in acrylic washes and sealed with paste wax. Gibbons works directly on the tile surface, the process is immediate and spontaneous. Her post-fired finishes are a rich palette of verdant hues. They are the colors of lush forests and ripe red berries. 


Spiral Tree Branch

Gibbons had an artistic epiphany sixteen years ago.  “I discovered clay in 1995, and when I did everything else took a step back. I had found more than just a medium, I found my MUSE.”

The internationally exhibited artist, who also creates figurative sculpture, has a “self directed” education.  Using memory and the reflection of her own experiences, she feels the continuum in her work is that “it speaks from my life.”


The Journey

The box tile Crow Triptych, entitled “The Journey,” is a stream of consciousness with unintelligible language scrawled in the background. The crow carries an incomplete fortune; “You will enjoy many successful…” leaving the viewer to insert their relevant desire.

Urban Tiles

Gibbons took to the street to create her “Urban” tile series. Rolling slabs on city streets, she memorialized the debris of sidewalks: manhole covers, cracks, and asphalt joints. The 5” square fired slabs were washed with black acrylic, which was then scrubbed off to reveal the white clay body. The gritty abstractions that remain are a tactile memory of every street Gibbons has traversed.

Growing up on Long Island, Gibbons balances urban reality with the beaches and more natural environment of her childhood. Both co-exist and inspire work that is derived from the freedom to explore.

For more information:

Support the research and preservation of beautiful ceramic surfaces like the work of Marie Gibbons.  Join the Tile Heritage Foundation!  Good people doing great things.
“Tileista” is a monthly column that explores the beauty of artisan tile. JoAnn Locktov is the author of two books (Mosaic Art and StyleThe Art of Mosaic Design) and numerous articles on contemporary mosaics and tile. Her public relations firm Bella Figura Communications represents creative individuals and businesses in design, architecture, art, and travel. Follow her musings on Twitter:

Additional “Tileista” articles on MAN can be found here.

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  1. George

    Her "self-directed" education has certainly served the artist well. Wonderful touch, texture and color – even when there isn't any! Thanks, JoAnn; Thanks Nancie!

  2. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    What is it about crows, Maureen, that is so beguiling? I am always drawn to images of them.

  3. Maureen

    Wonderful! Her imaginative use of what's around her (as in the street tiles) produces truly unique pieces. I like "The Journey" a lot.

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