I just returned from a trip to Corpus Christi, TX where I had the good fortune to meet Ed and Cornelia Gates of Aloe Tile Works. Walking into their shop was a totally random thing and so fortunate for me. They make custom tiles from red clay and paint them using a pigmented clay. Beautiful work that is garnering a lot of local interest in TX. They have done some very big tile mural projects for the state and schools and they do a lot of “ceramic certificate” work (plaques commemorating events). They also do custom tiles for home projects like backsplashes and bathrooms. They showed me beautiful crosses, Christmas ornaments, and mirrors they have custom made. Just beautiful!
Ed is the Potter there and Cornelia is an-ex lawyer turned artist/organizer of the place. (This is an over simplification, of course.) They were both so warm and generous with their time. They showed me around their Studebaker-garage-turned-pottery studio and the adjacent gallery which is housed in the showroom of the former dealership. Ed explained their processes and I asked a lot of questions. Both he and Cornelia were so generous with their time. I could have hung around for hours chatting and watching the processes.
A light bulb came on as to another reason (besides the availability of clay in some locales) why many great Potters take up residence on the coast. [ Shearwater /The Andersons for example] Ed says it is the humidity. This allows the artists more time to work with the clay without it drying out. So it comes down, again, to physics. If only my physics classes had explained the effect of this most basic science on real life rather than focusing on equations and fuzzy math.
Thanks Ed and Cornelia! You remind me that there are cool people doing what they love and creating beautiful/meaningful things all over the country.