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A Tile Tale Inspired by Life and Process: Meet Guy Mitchell

Handmade products are one of the easiest ways to create an artful kitchen.  In fact there was a whole turn of the century style devoted to that concept.  The Arts and Crafts movement (1880-1910) was a reaction to the industrial age of machinery and mass production.  Proponents felt that items crafted by human hands were imbued with a soulfulness that was lacking in factory produced goods. I think they had a point and, although mass production definitely has its perks, it’s nice to include unique handcrafted tiles, tableware or linens in your kitchen.

Guy Mitchell at work in his studio
Guy Mitchell at work in his studio

 Today we’re seeing a resurgence of this philosophy in the “Makers’ Movement“. More on that later but, since today is Tile Tuesday, I’d love for you to meet Guy Mitchell, a tile artisan that takes his craft to the next level.  He has graciously agreed to an interview with AK.
AK:  What is your background and how did you get into making artisan tile?
Guy: All of my education has been art based, resulting in a degree in three-dimensional design, specialising in ceramic making and tableware. What I loved best was experimenting with glazes and finishes, so whilst other students were spending weeks sculpting huge ceramic art pieces I was making hundreds of tiles to test glazes on! After university I took up a voluntary placement in a pottery department at a day service for adults with learning disabilities. This led to paid work and then a career in the care sector, but a move away from art and craft. Jump forward to late 2013 and I was in a position to buy a kiln and set up a studio in the garden.
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AK: I notice that you are in the UK.  Are your products available in the US?
Guy: I am based in the UK and I can ship to the US. There are no stocklists of my work in the US just yet but if any retailers over there to want to get in touch then please do!
AK: What is your inspiration?
Guy: I take inspiration from all sorts of places. I love the colours and patterns of Islamic tiles,the simplicity of Victorian English architectural and subway tiles and also British and Scandinavian mid-century studio pottery. African and Japanese textiles are also a big influence as is contemporary interior design. I like dark and glamorous rather than light and plain. Inspiration also comes from the process of making, and the results I get from experimenting with glaze colours.I think there is beauty in simple repetition and tiles are the perfect medium for this.
AK: Do you accept custom commissions?
Guy: Yes! Custom commissions are most welcome. I can supply wall tiles for any room but I can also design and make art panels than can be used as back splashes, counters or table tops. I’m happy to receive offers for any tile related work, just email me at guymitchellartist@gmail.com
AK: What has been your favorite project/tile?
In the last month I have been working on a couple of table tops and I am very happy with the designs. Like all of my work, the tiles are cut out by hand, from a slab of clay I’ve rolled out by hand. All of the glazes and colours I have used are mixed from scratch using raw materials.
Thank you to Guy for sharing his vision with us on Tile Tuesday.  His work is unique and beautiful. If you’d like to know more check out the following links:
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Gloria Graham-Sollecito

Gloria is a kitchen and bath cabinetry designer with AKBD certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. She has also served on the Florida Treasure Coast Chapter's Board of Directors as the VP of Communications. Her work has appeared on This Old House as well as in Florida Design Magazine, K+BB Magazine and the Palm Beach Post. She is co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Remodeling Your Kitchen, Illustrated, as well as a freelanced writer contributing occasionally to the Sun Sentinel in the area of kitchen design. She is a proud member of the Blanco Design Council and the illustrious Brizo Blogger 19.

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