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Arts & Activities - Page 16

M uch of the ceramic work fashioned over time has been designed in container or vessel form to store and transport food and drink, but ceramics have also had a long decorative tradition. The art of ceramics for purposes other than storage can be traced as far as the ancient goddess figurines, dated back to the Gravettian Period (29,000–25,000 B.C.). It is commonly believed that ceramic tiles have been made for at least 4,000 years. Artful tiled surfaces have been found in the oldest pyramids of Egypt, among the remnants of Babylon and in the ancient ruins of Greek cities. Methods of tile decoration were brought to a level of excellence in Persia during the Islamic period, as early as the sixth centur y. In Europe, decorated tiles did not come into general use outside of Moorish Spain (711–1492) until the second half of the 12th century. The tile mosaics of Spain and Portugal, the Majolica floor tiles of Renaissance Italy, the Faience ware of Antwerp, the development of tile iconography in England and in the Netherlands, and the ceramic tiles of Germany are all prominent milestones in the history of ceramic tile. INsPIraTION FOr eXPressION Handcrafted relief tiles are a stunning addition to a high-school visual-arts curriculum. With experience, students can learn to admire tiles for their form and decoration, as well as create a unique personal expression. I introduce my highschool students to the art of ceramics during the early part of their visual-arts foundation course. Once I felt the students had developed the skills and patience for a long-term, detailed, ceramic-arts assignment, the class embarked on a tile relief project, wherein stusignature tile. dents considered the shape, surface, texture and eventually the subtle wash of color that would complete the tiles. The objective was to show how their recent field trip to the LongHouse Reserve, an art and sculpture garden on the East End of Long Island, in the nearby town of East Hampton, N.Y., had inspired them. The LongHouse Reserve has an internationally recognized “Art in the Gardens” program, assembled with a collection of more than 60 contemporary sculptures. Throughout the 16-acre site, permanent works are displayed, along with those on seasonal loan from artists, collectors and dealers. The LongHouse was founded by Jack Lenore Larson, an internationally known textile designer, author, collector and one of the world’s foremost advocates of traditional and contemporar y crafts. The art is ver y exciting, much of it being on a large scale. There is even an original Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome Tile Inspirations by Robin Gianis 16 februar y 2013 • 80 years > x Ina’s tile dome. ler Ful ter ins km Josh’s tile of Buc >

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