Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Visit to Delft~ A Tale of Tiles

A trip to The Netherlands would feel incomplete absent a visit to Delft. The Royal Delft pottery continues to manufacture the blue and white tiles that, along with Vermeer, gave 17th Century Delft broad recognition. Though blue and white tiles were manufactured throughout the country, they came to be known as “Delft Tiles.”

Practical uses of tile are many throughout The Netherlands. Wall coverings and trivet purposes are customary but it was surprising to see tiles used as floor baseboard trim. It makes perfect sense when one considers how scarce forest trees are in this small country, much of it reclaimed from the sea. For the same reason, signage and street numbers are made from tile, rather than carved from wood.

Much of the decoration of tile is based on flower and vase motifs. The Dutch love their tulips and tulip vases became the rage. Simplified floral geometries are some of the most satisfying designs in Delft tile. Pastorals and Chinese motifs also remain as popular today as they were in the 17th Century.

Home again, I savor The Netherlands adventure. It is validating to think that images chosen for Melody The Artist tiles~ florals and landscape scenery, correspond to the ideas popularized by 17th Century Dutch artisans. And I am happy to know a culture that prizes aesthetics alongside practicality.

Mums and Blue Willow, Tile Coasters, after the oil painting
by Melody Phaneuf
Also available as Backsplash Mural

Melody Phaneuf is well known for her evocative landscape, still life, and portrait paintings. Her work is regularly on view at The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street, at Fenway Studios, Boston by appointment, and North Shore Art in Gloucester from May through October. Phaneuf has exhibited her paintings at The National Arts Club in New York City, Galerie Herouet in Paris, and with Art du Monde, in Japan.

Melody The Artist Home
, founded with photographer and color specialist, Martha DiMeo showcases the artist’s original paintings on tumbled marble tile murals and coasters, fine art prints, and handmade note cards. Online ordering at

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