Motawi introduces five new designs into its popular Charley Harper series of art tile.
Ann Arbor–based artisan tile maker Motawi Tileworks began twenty years ago when Nawal Motawi, a ceramic artist, opened a stand at the local farmers market. Today, it's expanded to include midcentury, Arts and Crafts, Prairie Style, and Art Nouveau–inspired designs in its growing line of distinctive patterns. In addition to making decorative options, like the Charley Harper line, it produces installation pieces.
Over the course of his 60-year career as a graphic designer, painter, and illustrator, Charley Harper (1922–2007) became known for his work depicting flora and fauna in a modernist style, like the Cardinal ($70) shown above.
The designs are remarkably faithful to Harper's drawings. Motawi selects illustrations that will render well in tile form, carefully considering which colors she can reproduce well in glazes and designs that will scale down in size to fit the six-by-six, four-by-eight, six-by-eight, or four-by-four inch tile sizes. October ($70) for example, is based on section of a larger pattern featuring a Cardinal.
Motawi manufactures everything in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from the clay to the glaze to the finished product. Family Owlbum ($70) is a new launch for 2014.