Thursday, October 20, 2022

Check out these new designs by Laurie Mika!

Anyone who has ever visited Portugal can immediately identify with the beautiful blue tiles that adorn both the facades and the interiors of buildings throughout this amazing country. I recently traveled to Portugal and these stencils are inspired by that trip and are named for the many cities and places I visited. Being a mixed media mosaic artist, tiles have always been an essential part of my creative journey so it is not surprising that I was drawn to all of the incredible tile motifs.

There are many possibilities and ways to use these tile stencils, from background collage imagery to creating paper quilts to using these tile stencils to emboss designs on polymer clay. Each tile was hand drawn so there are tiny differences in the patterning that make them look like unique individual tiles. For anyone who has traveled to Portugal, these blue tile stencils will hopefully evoke wonderful memories and spark some creative inspiration by recreating the magic that is Portugal.

Visiting this incredible tile museum in Lisbon was a highlight of our time there. Azulejo refers to the color blue (Azul) which is the predominant color of most of the tiles in Portugal. These blue tiles were inspired by both Ming dynasty porcelain design and Dutch Delftware. Every surface is adorned with beautiful tiles, many of them dating back centuries. Some of the tiles were created as large panels that are narrative in nature while many others are abstract patterns that are combined to create symmetric designs. My Azulejo Museum Tile stencil was inspired by the abstract patterning of a wall tile that was in this fantastic museum.

Cascais is a resort destination along the coast that is often referred to as the Portuguese Riviera. The sparkling sea is a gorgeous blue backdrop that enhances the blue and white tiles seen throughout Cascais.

A trip north to Porto and the lush Douro Valley nearby is a must when visiting Portugal. The Douro Valley is known for its vineyards and the grapes that are produced for Port wine. We spent the day meandering through this valley and this tile was inspired by one of the tiles I saw at a vineyard that we visited, hence the floral/vine-looking pattern.

 Of all of the cities in Portugal, Lisbon seemed to have the most tiled buildings. My Lisbon tile is based on the quatrefoil pattern which is often seen in tile murals and panels throughout Lisbon, especially in churches and cathedrals.

It was so much fun visiting the town of Porto on the Douro River. Porto has two sister cities on each side of the river connected by many bridges. On one side of the river, Port houses line the boardwalk. Many of these Port houses have been producing Port for hundreds of years and the buildings that house these tasting rooms are beautiful and many are adorned with tiles. 

S935-Sintra Tile

Sintra is a charming town outside of Lisbon hidden up in the foothills. The historic center is known for its colorful, whimsical Peña palace and other incredible architectural wonders. Many of the walls and interior spaces of the palace are adorned with tile and were the inspiration behind my Sintra stencil.

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