Jacqueline Moore, a furniture restorer and decorative painter, felt the recession hit in 2009. Worried about the future of her business, she spent a day walking around Lotusland, the garden near Santa Barbara. She became intrigued by the Malibu tiles she saw there and was inspired to try tiles in her medium -- wood.
“I started sketching. It really kicked my interest,” Moore said one morning last week in her Santa Monica studio.
Using the research skills she gained doing restoration work, she sought out the wood, glazes and sealers that would make her tiles useful indoors and out. Though silver and gold leaf are too delicate for ceramic tile, she said, they can be used on wood.
Each handmade tile, she said, is like lasagna -- layers of Baltic birch and layers of design and finish. Twelve to 20 layers of conditioners, glazes, paints, inks and sealers are on the wood. The final step for each tile is a “secret sealer” to make it durable without altering the appearance. She even submerged some for two months and they were fine, she said.