August 11, 2004 at 7:02 p.m.
The first of the Garden Art class series was underway when the Chisago County Press visited. The students were creating their own ceramic gazing ball and stand.
There’s a second group of classes for making a tiled tabletop and for projects in-the-home, like a personalized backsplash for a kitchen sink continuing through August. (The four-session project classes run three hours each, are $100 and include materials.)
Saturday classes are also coming soon for youngsters to make items of tile.
Phyle says tiling is a very expressive art form that’s also practical. He has designed color schemes and patterns for tiling projects that speak directly to any home’s style and use of space. Tile is a sturdy, flexible medium that can be admired as a huge mosaic artpiece or enhance a very small spot.
In particular there’s been a recent resurgence of interest in glass tiling, which is another set of instructional sessions Phyle plans to offer in October. For information or class listings contact Phyle at 651-257-8305 or 343-0026. Classes are at 328 Summit Avenue, (about a block north of Hwy. 8 at the Porterhouse.)
Phyle starts his students off with the fundamentals and participants actually make their own tiles out of a commercially prepared earthenware clay.
This night-- the product is a white clay, which Phyle says allows glazes to appear more vivid. There’s also a terra cotta color that he works with. The product comes in large bricks and is divided and rolled out carefully (see photo) and trimmed to dimension. Students are free to select tile colors, patterns and shapes.
Phyle is no snob when it comes to creating a project people desire.
He said he’s worked a custom design into a background of plain old Menard’s tile and it works out perfectly well. The main thing to remember is that many types of tile go together, but certain ones truly don’t work next to each other at all.
It’s definitely an exercise for people who visualize in patterns. Phyle’s artistic range, some on display at the studio, can involve very abstract forms and wow colors...to designs that replicate things found in nature.
Phyle has had such a good run in this art form that he said he decided it was time to share what he knows.
“I wanted to offer people an opportunity to learn more and make their own creations,” he explained.
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