These astoundingly beautiful tiles are from the Origins Collection by Forrest Lesch-Middelton, a potter from Petaluma, California. The collection is inspired by the sacred geometry and arabesque designs found in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
As Forrest says “I began this series of tile to honor the places that have most inspired my artwork. The patterns I employ have a lineage that is as old as time, and many of the places they come from have become a footnote in history; their artworks looted, and cultures filtered through the lens of media”. Forrest tells how some of his earliest memories are of the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the U.S. bombings of Libya. “Now close to thirty-five years have passed and those memories still haunt me, however now it is through my children’s eyes. With the technology for “real-time” updates of the various wars and conflicts throughout the world it is even more apparent that the people most affected are the ones who, through no fault of their own, suffer the horrors of war; the ones whose lives are forever torn by the change it brings”.
Forrest brings his sensitivity and inspiration to create work through which, he says, he hopes to share the beauty of these places, not just the global politics that are played out there.
Each tile is handmade using a number of firing, forming and silk-screening techniques. There are seven tile designs which each come in three sizes; 3, 4 and 6 inches square. There is also an unadorned field tile to compliment the patterned tiles.
The tiles, which can be installed indoors and out on floors and walls are available through the good people at clé. If you don’t know clé, you really ought to. Deborah Osburn, their founder and creative director’s goal is to provide a forum for discovery and conversation about what she loves most, tiles created by impassioned artists creating remarkable surfaces. The tiles they feature are as distinct as the artists who create them. Their involvement with Forrest goes beyond promoting and selling.When they first met, Forrest was primarily a maker of pots and vessels, but clé coaxed him into the world of tiles. And credit also needs to go to Joann Locktov, also known as Tileista, CEO of Bella Figura Communications and occasional contributor to the Modenus Blog.
But back to Forrest, because this isn’t the end of the story. After clé started to promote his work, and secured coverage in The New York Times and elsewhere, the demand rocketed. Right now, Forrest can only produce a very limited number of tiles. However, there is a lot of scope for upgrading Forrests studio and his capacity to create his beautiful work without impacting on the integrity of what is basically a hand made product. And all that needs is $20,000.
Now it is possible that, like us, you have fallen in love with Forest’s work and would like to help but don’t have a spare $20,000 under the pillow or down the back of the coach. That’s no problem, Forrest is raising his money through Kickstarter and is offering some very generous ‘thank yous’ for people who pledge varying amounts from $5 including tiles, mugs, bowls and dishes. This is a chance to support someone who not only creates beautiful things, but does so for the very best of reasons.