I took a wrong turn somewhere and entered life through the 20th century. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I missed the Georgian era. I’m not too particular about which culture- the age itself delights me. The period’s methods and materials show up in my work as a painter, sculptor and designer.
I lived in Italy when I was a girl and fell in love with Deruta maiolica. I’ve been working hard the past few years to have my own experience of tin-glazed terracotta. Last summer I made tiles and painted them with metallic oxides on a maiolica base for this kitchen backsplash. I usually build picture frames and sculpture stands to exhibit my art. I designed these tiles specifically for this space so installation involved building a kitchen (good ploy, yes?). My husband, Doug Piotter of Piotter Construction, made the cabinets to my design and I hand painted them (because they didn’t use paint sprayers at Versailles!).
I treated the tiles like a sketchbook and I painted whatever I wanted: birds, shells, animals, food and Palladian villas (I am still inspired by growing up around his work). I worked out a symmetrical base design so the halved tiles that abut the mirrored side panels of the upper cabinets (on either side of the kitchen sink) would read as whole tiles (see image below).
Swapping the spaces occupied by the fridge and stove opened up the kitchen. Now I cook looking out at a view rather than a wall. The light from the under cabinet lighting strip was too blue/ white so I covered it with gold leaf and it now has an acceptable glow. We installed built in seating in one corner of the kitchen and it has become the favorite spot in the house. We spend more time tucked in that bench seat than we do on the living room couch!