Art Tile – Concept to completion

Since the beginning of the year I have had an obsession with creating tile – artistic, creative, elegant, colorful and distinctly different from anything currently available. From my research I have noticed 3 major areas are lacking in today’s tile –  { figurative, large Accent tiles& expressive}. Accent tiles used to be decorative centre pieces in bathrooms and kitchens, with relief ,texture and figures. Sculptural Artwork has been replaced with basic patterns, shapes and colors.
Pistrucci Artworks main goal is to produce a wide variety of bas relief accent tiles from contemporary to figurative offering distinctive flair with color and texture. Jeremy Hileman took the concept Pikaso Kichen and created an expressive colorful line of tile for the contemporary kitchen. Here is the results of our next tile line titled ‘ Pikaso Kichen’.

To view the catalog go here: art-tile-catalog-pikaso-kichen

First the concept drawings were designed and a rought draft completed [see below] :


Then the sculpting of the relief tiles:

 Glaze tests

Old world stain

& more glaze tests….



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Art Tile Launched ——->

Pistrucci Artworks has just launched the first of many lines of relief tile for the retail market. Our first retailer is Oak Bay Broadloom in Victoria BC Canada.  Before we placed our tile we checked the stores for their service and found Oak Bay Broadloom. Pistrucci Artworks wanted to know that when their customers go to a tile store they will be getting excellent service. The staff at the tile stores below are extremely friendly, helpful, with expertise and knowledge that spans their longterm business experience.

 To view the catalog :


Colors Available in translucent: Swan white & Sage green , Cafe, Lily pad, Aqua mist and Lake blue.[see catalog for details]

Here is a sample of ‘Swan Lake’

Swan lake

Swan Lake

Distributor Contact Information:For answers to specific questions, Pricing, to schedule in-home consultation, or to  make an appointment to visit showroom,
please contact:  A local distributor or  Sales: or ph.  250-588-8784

      Oak Bay Broadloom & Fine Floors Ltd.
1990 Oak Bay Avenue
Victoria, B.C.,
Canada V8R 1E2
 (corner of Oak Bay Ave. and Foul Bay)

Phone: (250) 592-7672 Fax:       (250) 592-7602      
Email Address:


Cornerstone Tile
3061 Barons Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 3Y6
Ph. 250. 756.9996
Fax. 250.756.7772


MasterCraft Flooring Canada
2727 James St.
Duncan, BC V9L 2Y1
Duncan:   Ph. 250.748.9977
Nanaimo: Ph. 250.245.0046
fax: 250.748.1525

Contact Interior Designer Hennie Wagner

If you are a retailer interested in carrying our handbuilt Porcelain Tile please contact:
Jeremy Hileman email:  for distributor information.

Alto Relief – Moonlight Sonata

Here is my recent work & my attempt at Alto Relief – Sonata 30″ x 20″ sculpted with a porcelain clay – still in progress. Current photos and more updates to come. I will be cold cast bronzing this piece so will show the process for cold cast bronzing. Most people do not realize that Alto Relief is a rare form of sculpture and one of the most difficult art forms to master and to my knowledge it is not taught in any of the fine art schools. Low relief is also more difficult followed by 3d , painting and drawing as you do not have to alter the axis for any of the elements. I believe Low relief is taught in the last year of most fine art schools after students have learned painting, drawing, and 3d. I advise every artist I know to work in all of the art forms from low relief – high relief – painting – drawing and 3d. Each builds on the strengths of the others. It is a synergistic relationship. Artists that work in all the mediums in the past became great and I believe it is because they did all of the art forms rather than just focusing in one area – Take Michealangelo for example he sculpted and painted throughout his life and I am thoroughly convinced that this was the key to his success. So I plod on ….. My Alto Relief…

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How to build and Sculpt a Custom Architectural Ceramic Fireplace Surround

left side figure- finished and painted

left side figure- finished and painted

Siempre Sonador
siempre Sonador
After second firing ready for high fire
After second firing ready for high fire

I recently completed a custom architectural ceramic fireplace surround ( title “SIEMPRE SONADOR”. Above is a picture of it prior to installation.
I will be giving a basic description of the process here in this blog.
First I met with the clients to determine their personal style and get an overview of the project and its layout. This is an important step as it is necessary for the 2 parties to decide if they can work together.  I really love old architecture and figurative movement and use it whenever possible and I was happy that my ideas for the fireplace went well in the home and space.

Fireplace surround

The fireplace would be built for an old 1900’s period style home and would be the center of attention in the dining room area.  The family is the owners of the Elk lake bed and Breakfast in Victoria BC  Canada and take an immense amount of pride in their home and business.

I did an initial drawing of my concept and ideas, as well as a materials list and quote.  From my drawings I set out to sculpt the parts of the fireplace that would take the longest and would need to be ‘repeated’ or molded for consistency in the design.

Sculpted figure for right side on canvas
Sculpted figure for right side of fireplace

I sculpted relief on gessoed canvas out of paperclay let dry and painted on the rubber molding compound. I let it dry between thin layers building up over several days to a week depending on how thick I wanted my moldFor some of the relief tile I used the upholstery on the back of the chairs to match the design elements.

Upholstery design from dining room chairs
Upholstery design from dining room chairs
Completed sculpture design from upholstery
Completed sculpture design from upholstery

Once I had completed the basic designs I needed a reoccuring theme within the design itself. I chose the iris for its meaning and beauty.

Plus I needed added dimension for a more sculptural and aesthetic appeal. I knew The focal point would be the keystone tile which would be an  original one of a kind sculpted figurative relief to match the left and right figures. Here are pictures of the sculpting of the keystone and iris’s.

sculpting figurative tile
sculpting figurative tile
Right side original sculpture before molding

Right side original sculpture before molding

Sculpted keystone tile drying
Sculpted keystone tile drying

The sculptures were placed on a sheet of drywall and left to dry  – the corners were weighted and dried slowly by covering with plastic.

Fireplace tiles cut to size allowing for clay shrinkage and set to dry on drywall
Fireplace tiles cut to size allowing for clay shrinkage and set to dry on drywallAfter second firing ready for high fire

The clay is a porcelain body and slow drying was necessary to avoid cracking or warping. Cracks that did appear were immediately filled with a mixture of the clay body, toilet paper and water (paperclay). Once the fireplace was bone dry it was bisque fired to cone 018, After it is cooled down and removed from the kiln it was submerged in water to test for cracks which were filled with the paperclay mixture.The fireplace was sanded and dried again. It was refired again to cone 018.

Here is a picture of the unpainted fireplace. Once the fireplace was dried again and sanded it was high fired to cone 4 we had to choose a color. After tooooo toooo many glaze tests the customers finally settled on a bronze patina highlighted with dark brown umber and cobalt green accents. Here is a picture of my signature on the back of the iris tile.

Pistrucci signature on back of iris
Pistrucci signature on back of iris

Picture of completed fireplace: click on picture to enlarge  and (+ or – for larger detail)

Art Tile

I have been working on art tile relief sculpture. Now that my sketchbook has been sent and all of my other pending projects have been either completed or back benched I can now put my energy into my relief tile. I completed a fairy clay sketch – which is faster than drawing it out.  I will be posting some of my techniques over the next couple of months.  Here is a ‘rough clay sketch’ of a fairy. From here I will let the clay dry and will bisque fire it and once it is fired I can (if needed) add more detail by carving and sanding. Once I am happy with the results I will  stain and clear glaze the piece to bring out the relief and high fire to cone either 4 or 6. My clay is a porcelain with grog and will come out a very nice ivory color when fired.

The fairy tile is currently in progress and here are several other tiles where the sculpting work is completed.