Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I don't think this outfit will ever show up on a red carpet, but it should!!!  Absolutely amazing wearable art that is made from porcelain fragments from the Ming and Qing dynasties by artist Li Xiaofeng from China.
He cuts each piece to size, polishes the edges, drills tiny holes and laces all the pieces together with silver wire.  If you live in earthquake country, like I do in California, next time you find your china on the floor here is something to create besides a mosaic table top for the back yard.
His works have been displayed at Virginia Miller Galleries in Florida.  Visit them online at for more information.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


"Bold, rich and unique" is how many clients describe BonTon Handmade Tile.  Based in Minneapolis, Mary Anderson created a line of ceramic tile with exclusive hand mixed glazes.  All tiles are made to order custom designs using old world techniques. Tile styles include: Art Deco, Art Nuevo, Contemporary and Traditional.  For more information on tiles or purses, go to

I love the designs of her purses.  Just like Mary's tile designs they are fresh and unique works of art.
So for handbag aficionado's here are some new choices for you.  
Love the look of  purple/blue mosaic with a deco from Landmark Metalcoat (  There are many more to choose from, so please visit BonTon Handmade Tile at their website or Facebook Fan Site.  Prepare to add BonTon to your list of suppliers for that bathroom renovation that you've planned for the future!!!
For kitchen and bath designers, here's a new way to advertise your business whenever anyone asks about your purse!!  Happy Wednesday and visit the BonTon FB fan page and boost them over their 400 fan goal by 4th of July.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


New patterns in either ceramic or concrete or both can be found at  The organic flow from walls to floors with the same design in different sizes and materials is stunning.  The design concepts of Daniel Ogassian are individual works of art for those searching for that bold expressive signature.
The architectural impact on an indoor or outdoor wall of this cast concrete pattern is amazing.  Paired with hexagonal flooring in cast concrete in the same 16" size, or even larger hexs would be such a unique custom look.  Blend the concrete or ceramics into your choice of colors.
Add a concrete cast sink in the same or complementary color and you have an unforgettable combination for yourself or your client.  A Los Angeles based artisan, Daniel Ogassian also designs furniture.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Enjoyed my visit to the Dwell on Design Show at the LA Convention Center.  Since this show was all about sustainability, I honored the adventure with a ride on three subway lines to get there.  

The first Heath Ceramics pattern is Little Diamond Mix shown in Campari Red, Paprika and New Chamois.  
I've always love the visual effect of this pattern from ancient times until now.  Roman artisans worked this pattern below into a church floor.
Found some great new layout patterns by Heath Ceramics called Dwell Patterns.  Heath believes modern design can be functional and expressive, bold and organic.
This is a Wide Hex Twist shone in Canvas Sage and Vanilla Bean.  There are very few patterns for pickets and I love this twist.  If used for a kitchen back splash or bathroom wall it would be fun to cut a few pieces of milk glass or mother of pearl to occasionally drop in for layered texture and reflections.  Go to for more tiles and patterns.

Another favorite find at the show were these great wall pouches.  Vertical walls on a roof top garden or patio walls can be used for cooking herbs or flowers bring a whole new look to outdoor art.  For more ideas and products have some fun at

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I love finding new products that make your life easier.  Using Laticrete's epoxy grout was the only way to have a stain resistant grout and generally no need to re-seal, bad news was that it is gritty and clean up with vinegar made it impossible to use on marble or travertine and it's inflexibility ruled out using it with glass. That leaves ceramic, porcelains and some granite tiles.  Now there appears to be a new product that is a lot more versatile.

Doing some research into GroutBoost and would like some feedback, especially with my Facebook friends who are in the stone business.  I know everyone has a favorite brand of grout and this is an additive that you use instead of water and can be mixed with Laticrete, Custom, Mapei or Tec.  Do you get the consistency that you want when it's mixed?  Does it clean up with water well?  Has anyone used it with slate or sandstone?  My favorite sealer is Bulletproof by StoneTech but it's not on GroutBoost's approved list so I'm wondering why.  I prefer to use products that I know won't change the look of the stone and that one is a personal favorite.  Hopefully GroutBoost has been out long enough that someone is a real fan or did you try it once and decide it's not for you?  Please let me know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The fun of making lots of new friends on Facebook allows me to see new products (at least they are new to me) that are amazing.  I love the pottery and tiles that come from this factory near Naples, Italy.  May just be the excuse I need to visit the Amalfi Coast for the first time in years!!  Romeo Cuomo's factory hand paints with such beautiful colors that making a choice is going to be almost impossible!!  You can find Romeo on Facebook or go to his website  The ceramic infused lava-stone tables will dress up any patio, breakfast room or sidewalk bistro!!
There are so many sizes, shapes and patterns to choose from for the tables... I honestly can't pick just one as a favorite!!  Poppies, lemons, oranges, sunflowers...  The same is true for the dinnerware or tiles!!  Check them out and find something special for your clients.

Monday, May 31, 2010


On Memorial Day I'd like to spend some time celebrating a few generations of service in my family.

My great-great great grandfather Keen served under Old Fuss and Feathers Winfield Scott during the Indian Wars.  General Scott was later the Secretary of War at the beginning of the Civil War. 

My great great grandfather Winfield Scott Keen was a drummer boy in the Civil War.  Taken prisoner toward the end of the war he spent several months in Andersonville Prison before returning home to finish school, marry, move to California in a covered wagon and have a family.  

Great Grandfather Joseph Burke didn't have a war to serve in and instead served as the sole assemblyman from Orange County around 1913.  It was a time of strawberries and orange groves in Orange County and very few people.

My grandfather, Russell Burke was a sailor in World War I.  Luckily for him he never made it out of San Diego.  He lived to watch the Dodgers and play golf and had his first hole in one at the age of 80.

My dad, Gene Clarke, passed away last month at 87.  He was a proud member of the Naval Air Force and was a gunner in VPB 146, he's on the far right.   He rarely spoke about it until after his retirement and Baa Baa Black Sheep re-runs were on TV in the 80's.  The aviators from TV and my dad's squadron were in the same theater and he began to tell some of the stories of his days on the real islands in the South Pacific rather than the fake ones in the Channel Islands!  It took 52 years and an act of Congress and they were finally given their air medals aboard the USS Kitty Hawk by Vice-Admiral Bennitt.  

To the hero's in my family, I salute all of you!!!  Thank you for your service in creating this country, preserving our country and bringing peace to the world.   

Monday, March 15, 2010


Since it's automatic to change all of your clocks and the batteries in your smoke alarms every year at this time also check out your stone and tile.  If you have marble, limestone or travertine floors it is time to have them professionally cleaned and re-sealed.  I'm reminded of story several years ago when a bank manager called from Chicago about the dark, ugly stains on his limestone floor.  Bank customers came in from the snowy outdoors with salt on their shoes and there was a huge stain spreading under the free standing counter where they stopped to fill out their paperwork.  For some reason the bank manager didn't think stone floors needed to be regularly cleaned and re-sealed and the floor had been down for four years!  A stone cleaning professional was called in and he removed the stain, cleaned and re-sealed the limestone and gave the regular cleaning crew valuable tips on how to maintain the floors.  Needless to say, the bank now has a yearly appointment with professionals for cleaning and resealing.

When cleaning your stone floors, vacuum first and then mop with a mild stone soap.  I like to use steamers, they use less water, clean very well and dry faster.  

There are several ways to check your counters and grout.  With a slightly damp sponge, squeeze out some water drops on your stone counters or floors.  If the water beads up, your seal is holding, if the water is absorbed into your stone it's time to re-seal.  In the shower or tile counters if the water darkens the grout, it's time to re-seal.  

Friday, January 29, 2010

Attention Commuters: Stop to Enjoy the Tiles

Published: January 29, 2010
The city’s latest effort to liven the drudgery of commuting as part of its Arts in Transit program was unveiled at the Belmont C.T.A. station on Thursday.
José Moré/Chicago News Cooperative
Tiled mosaics at the Belmont C.T.A.station on Thursday

David Csicsko, a Lakeview artist, designed the tiled mosaic mural of bright, multicolored faces riding the train that stretches across the main staircase of the hub for the Red, Brown and Purple Lines.

Mr. Csicsko said his idea was “to really make it about diversity and celebrating all of the people who come in and out of this station.”

He said he also found room on the mural for depictions of his dog, President Obama at age 8 and “the Goddess of Belmont, who watches over all the club kids as they do crazy things at night.”

Most commuters passed by, oblivious, but Kasey Dieb, 17, a Lane Tech student, said the mosaics made the station “much more welcoming.”
José Moré/Chicago News Cooperative
David Csicsko, a Lakeview artist, designed the tiled mosaic mural that stretches across the main staircase of the hub for the Red, Brown and Purple lines.