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The Secret Life of Raindrops – The handmade ceramic tiles of Leah Shafir Zahavi

Leah Shafir Zahavi Tiles

Guest blog by JoAnn Locktov

Leah Shafir Zahavi grew up in Ashkalon, Israel.  As a child exploring this 4,000-year-old city on the Mediterranean, she breathed deeply the aroma of almond trees, listened to the receding echo in the rhythmic arches of ancient aqueducts, and discovered the Milky Way in vast desert skies.

Zahavi’s mother, world renowned mosaic artist Ilana Shafir taught her daughter the beauty in fragments, that singular pieces of chipped, forlorn ceramic held history and mystery that when pieced together could transform themselves into beguiling dreamscapes.

Leah Shafir Zahavi Tiles

Zahavi’s path to tile artist was not immediate. Her first medium of expression was fiber, which gave her the basis for manipulating texture and understanding pattern.

Working in the humble material of clay, the Inner Piece tile collection is produced entirely by hand in porcelain, stoneware and terracotta, with lead free glazes. The designs, she feels, are cumulative. “They are created through layers of imagery that I build up starting from the green ware and continuing through various techniques of surface decoration between the two firings.”  Textured objects are imprinted onto the soft clay, after which Zahavi uses drawing, carving, fluting, and slip inlay to build the final image. The metamorphosis of clay to tile also relies on vivid color, memories of the heaping mounds of brilliant orange spices in the marketplace, the atavistic blue waves of the sea, the salty green grass that stubbornly adorns acres of sand dunes. Zahavi also utilizes Sgraffitto, a technique of ornamentation in which surface layers are incised to reveal a ground of contrasting color.

Leah Shafir Zahavi Tiles

In addition to tiles in 3, 4 and 6 inch squares, Zahavi has developed a collection of hand glazed free form ceramic tesserae called Inspiration Pieces, intended to be used as embedded elements in mosaics. Her mother was the first to integrate these pieces into her archeological landscapes. Zahavi abstracts forms from the natural world, the pivotal inspiration for all her work.

Leah Shafir Zahavi Tiles

Zahavi believes that her tiles “can be the gateway for daydream travel, evoking memories of far away places.”  Now living in the United States, the tiles and mosaic tesserae are the richly textured celebration of her former life in Israel. The sumptuous Medeterrain colors are balanced intuitively with abundant organic shapes to create a decorative surface cradled in warmth.

http://www.inner-piece.com/

http://www.shafirart.com/

http://www.bellafiguracommunications.com/

  • http://www.theclaystudio.org Amelia

    Beautiful work!

  • tova shafran

    MY DEAR LEAH. I JUST SAW YOUR BEAUTIFUL TILES. I’M SO BUSY LATETLY SO I DIDN’T REPLY TO THE ARTICLES. KOL HAKAVOD!!! KEEP GOING WITH YOUR BEAUTIFUL WORK. SEE YOU SOON, YOURS TOVA

  • http://www.tyrebayxpress.com Redditch tyres

    For me life raindrops or storm indicates the time problems but after all,a rainbow will comes out.This means every problem has a solution and happiness will always come.

  • Anonymous

    Zahavi has developed a collection of hand-glazed ceramic tiles in the free form parts called Inspiration, for use as integrated elements in the mosaics. His mother was the first to include these aspects in archaeological landscapes.

 

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