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(When enlarged, scroll down to reach close picture button.)Eric
Rattan at Tilton SchoolArtist
Statement, Eric N. Rattan
Tilton School Handmade Tile Mural
With Student Participation
In the spring of 2011 I was invited to Tilton School as an
artist-in-residence. The objective was to create a permanent handmade tile
or stone mural with voluntary participation from the student body. Handmade
tile art has seen an enthusiastic revival in the USA starting in the early
1980's. Our country enjoys a rich history of this art form. Industrial
mass produced tile and the market crash of 1929 all but obliterated this
tradition for 50 years. A general craft revival in the early 1980's
rekindled this exciting architectural art medium. By creating a permanent
handmade tile mural for the school, students were introduced to a medium
rarely offered in a high school art curriculum. The "hands on" approach
offered the students an opportunity to explore their creative side as well
as learn the basics of trade approved mortar setting techniques. The
resulting mural is on the thousand year plan as a result of employing cementitious adhesive application to substrates. Tilton School is a private
day and boarding prep school in Tilton, NH. The student body is a diverse
group of 9th-12th graders from around the globe. I hold a B.S. degree in
education from the University Of Wisconsin, Madison. As a Tilton School
graduate from the class of 1970, I was delighted to take on this teaching
The Tilton Art Department staff selected “New England” as the theme for the
handmade tile mural. I chose the quilt as the format from which to express
that theme. The quilt patterns lend themselves to same size repeat squares,
each one offering a different carved image. Twenty students signed on, some
carving more than one 5” x 5” piece of linoleum for imprinting the wet clay
slabs. Tilton art faculty members and I carved the border tiles that
surround the student carved squares. The 10’ x 5’ mural is a permanent
installation in the schools’ administration building. The students were an
enthusiastic group of art students and academics.
The school staff was most cooperative in allowing students to spend the many
hours required to create a handmade tile mural from “scratch.” All
participants made a signature tile that is part of the mural and will serve
as a permanent link to the school. As alumni, they will no doubt make the
mural one of their first stops on return visits to the campus.
STONE AND TILE MOSAICS
Artist in Residence
TILTON SCHOOL PAGE
Student applying underglaze to bisqued tiles.
Students applying underglaze to bisqued tiles.
Underglazed border tiles.
Underglazed border tiles
Underglazed tiles ready for kiln firing.
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