E-News Winter 2019

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Founded in July 1987 Tile Heritage is celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year. Supporters like YOU... members, major contributors, industry sponsors, generous grantors... everyone... have made possible the continued fulfillment of the Foundation’s mission to Document and Preserve tile history in the U.S., both past and present. THANK YOU!

E-News for Winter 2019

Here’s What’s Below

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
Stands Tall in Long Beach, California

Massive Collection of Post-Depression Tiles Preserved

Museum of Architectural Ceramics

Batchelder in Birmingham!

Mud Making Magic

Wanted: Tilenuts with Cameras in Hand!

E-News Winter 2019 in Print

Prior to 2010 E-News

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo Stands Tall in Long Beach, California

Dedication and patience are the keys to preservation, and our congratulatory salute is extended to Long Beach Heritage and the Port Authority of Long Beach whose negotiations achieved what appeared several years ago to be a pipe dream, namely the careful removal, tile by tile, of the magnificent, historically important mural that had adorned the Port Authority Administration Building for nearly 60 years. The building itself had been scheduled for imminent demolition.

Brian Worley Art & Restoration of Claremont, California tackled the job. Work commenced on September 26, 2018 with the careful marking of every tile, numbering each row and lettering each column consecutively, before the tiles were removed column by column.


Over 450 tiles, each measuring 14” x 28” and weighing between 20 and 30 pounds, were crated in numeric order for ease of re-installation once a site is selected. The entire project was completed in just over a month. Please take a minute to watch the youtube video of the entire process it’s miraculous!

The 18 x 74-foot mural was produced in 1959 at
Gladding, McBean & Co., 2901 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles under the direction of Sheridan Stanton. The ceramic masterpiece, depicting the growth of international trade in San Pablo Bay, was designed and painted by Paul Marciel Souza, a well-known Southern California artist.

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo is reputed to be the first European to have set foot on the California coast. Son of a ship builder, he spent much of his life at sea, sailing under the Spanish flag. After visiting what is today the Long Beach harbor in 1542, he sailed to Catalina Island where he died in early January of ’43 at the age of 45.

Port AuthorityPost

Massive Collection of Post-Depression Tiles Preserved
by Andy Rosten

After 27 years as a general contractor repairing older homes in the Sacramento area, I decided to start selling my accumulation of vintage tiles as I'd found most of my sources had gone out of business and/or run out of supply. I soon realized my inventory was severely limited and that in order to become the premier source of these historic objects, I’d have to search for more material. I sought out used building supply firms and found Mortarless Building Supply in Los Angeles through the internet about 2 years ago. My first call shed little light on the extent of its inventory, and I concluded that I must visit the facility the next time I was in the LA area.


A few months later I met Joe Ranieri, the gregarious owner, but due to limited time and his lack of organization, I was still unable to grasp exactly what Mortarless did or did not have other than it was the most historic tile I’d ever seen in one place. In June 2017 Joe informed me of his intent to retire and said “bring a truck and your money.” After several trips with a U-haul truck, there was simply too little time to go through even 10% of the inventory before the property was sold on August 4, 2017 - with the remaining tile left behind.

Distressed by the thought of it going to a landfill, I located the new owner a few days later with the help of a title company and appealed to him to contact me before disposing of the remaining inventory. Finally in January 2018 we met and he agreed to my proposal to clean up the property in exchange for my right to procure whatever tile I could haul away. The task was daunting: loose tiles, many broken and chipped, scattered everywhere, aisles impossible
to walk through without stepping on material, boxes deteriorated and spilling, pallets disintegrating from termites and piled with loose tiles that fell like an avalanche with the slightest bump. In addition, there were numerous tires, an abandoned car, chairs & tables, automotive parts and even 55 gallon drums of grease that had to be removed. For six months I made biweekly 400-mile trips with 5 helpers, working 10-hour days and staying in local hotels. The work was not unlike an archeological site with daily surprises.


The vast majority of the tile is from Aztec, Gladding, McBean, Pomona, Huntington, B&W, Mosaic, Redondo, PT&P, AO, and Dal, but there are specimens from over 70 manufacturers, some of them obscure such as Ace, Angelino, Balka, Columbine, Coorsite, Doric, Downey, Golco, Hoffman, Marshall, Santa Anita, Stronghold and Superior. I also found a few specimens of Batchelder, Malibu, Old Bridge, Taylor, and Sant’Anna of Portugal, USET and even an original box of AET with the tiles still hand-wrapped in the August 1929 Los Angeles Herald stock market pages. In all I hauled no less than 60 tons of field & trim tiles some dating as early as the 1920s and a vast selection of standard and reeded box caps and “brick” caps. The work is not over as the tiles still need cleaning, sorting by manufacturer and inventorying….

Tiles Preserved” story continued ….click here!
Andy Rosten, Vintage Tile
Visit: https://vintagetile.weebly.com

Museum of Architectural Decorative Ceramics
Saint-Petersburg, Russia


Saint-Petersburg, Russia hosted a major event on October 5th, 2018 . On the grounds of the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, the Museum of Architectural Decorative Ceramics was founded. It is the only museum of its scale in all of Europe. The exposition showcases the use of ceramics in interior and exterior Russia throughout the 17-20th centuries. More than 200 exhibits can be viewed in the museum. Included among them are tiled stoves, fireplaces, fragments of various buildings, icons and numerous other objects.

The International conference of Architectural Decorative Ceramics was tied to the opening of the museum. Thirty-five field professionals shared their reports with the public. Ksenia Pirvits (above) presented a report on Pewabic Pottery of Detroit, Michigan. Ksenia, a THF member, is a tile maker and owner of Moshkoff Studios in Saint-Petersburg.

Ksenia 2

E-News Winter 2019 in Print

Prior to 2010 E-News

Batchelder in Birmingham!

“The Seasons”: Metuchen’s community mural
Some say that Public Art is the most dynamic form of art being made today. It automatically reaches a vast audience on a regular basis. Well-planned, it can enliven the area and become a genuine source of pride for a community.


The four-year, multi-panel public art project undertaken by the small Central New Jersey community of Metuchen (pop. 13,000) is a perfect example. Five years ago the Metuchen Arts Council seized on the opportunity to invite local ceramic artist Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella, a ceramic sculptor who creates large-scale ceramic murals, to lead the creation of a public art project, transforming a bland cinder-block storage building into an arts destination.
More than 300 people took advantage of getting their hands in clay to create their own original part of the mural.

Two primary ideas shaped Vonderschmidt-LaStella’s planning of the project: one, that from a distance, each panel needed to ‘read’ as something organic and beautiful; and two, that as many members of the community as possible would be invited to add their own creative elements. The artist recognized that it would be imperative for her to maintain a great deal of control of both the design and final glazing to make that happen.


Hence, Vonderschmidt-LaStella created a whole different approach to the creation of a large mural from what she uses when designing and fabricating one as a solo artist. Very specific design work and a ‘map’ of every individual tile and its shape needed to be created at the outset. Each individual tile had to be cut, numbered and wrapped in preparation for the community art sessions, which took place only on March weekends, both Saturday and Sunday, over the span of four years. . . . the story continues ….click here!


We are still requesting contributions of Hand Prints
for the Global Monumental Hand Print Mural
to be installed at TCNA!



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E-News Winter 2019 in Print

Prior to 2010 E-New