Cean Irminger and her design team at New Ravenna are updating a 15th-century Dutch art form.
Instead of delft mosaics depicting dragons, mermaids and children on stilts, some of the studio’s 21st-century work takes its cues from the waterfront around them.
But not all of them.
“They’re 100 percent inspired by the Dutch delftware,” she says. “We have 12 motifs focusing on that, and six are from that – with windmills, birds, tulips and random geometrics.”
The other six are native to Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. “They’re things that we see in our area: a lighthouse, a starfish, an oyster, a sand dollar, an egret and a flounder,” she says. “They’re all based on our home on the Eastern Shore.”
The mosaics are eight inches by eight inches square, customizable to décor and interest, and handmade like the originals.
“They were first done in Holland for a wealthy clientele – anything they wanted painted on tiles and always in these colors,” she says. “It was a status symbol to have them in your house.”
The updated mosaics are glass, come in four colors, and are used for wall applications. Each sheet of glass has its own set of differences and imperfections – and while the background is matte, the subject matter is glossy.
Now, her clients can make tiles into mosaics as a manageable piece of art. “People are nervous sometimes using a mosaic, so this is something small enough to get a beautiful piece of art,” she says. “You can mix and match them or use just one tile and put something simple around it.”
And they can have fun with them. “It’s yours to do with what you want,” she says. “They’re tiny, small bits of art for whatever you want.”
And they come with a history – and a pedigree, of sorts.
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