My garden and my tile studio share a plot of land once known for an abundance of rabbits.

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The studio is an old cottage, and decades ago the garden was occupied by hutches full of furry longears of all colors. When the rabbit man died, his family turned them all loose to roam the property. For years afterward, the spot now occupied by our house was known as The Rabbit Field, and occasionally a descendant of those bunnies will materialize to nibble on ripening veggies. We have their great-great-grandparents to thank for the bits of rusty cage wire that turn up in the garden from time to time, and for our crumbly black soil enriched so nicely with all that rabbit manure.

Most of my tiles are carved with images of plants and animals. I start with a freshly rolled-out slab of clay and an image from my sketchbook.

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When the carving is finished and the clay has thoroughly dried out, it goes into the kiln for an initial firing to 1825 degrees and then the colored glazes are painted on. The final firing is always exciting, as the combined action of heat, smoke and flame are unpredictable. Here is a tile portrait of Fern, the resident kitty at Terra Potta garden center.

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I fire nichrome wire hangers into the backs of my smaller tiles, so they are easy to hang from a small nail or a hook. Some hang in the garden, others in the house. (Once in awhile, I post a few tiles on eBay. This week, there are three for sale. Click on their names to see.)

valwebbhummingbirdtile.jpg Hummingbird and Garden Fairy

valwebbbluebelieve.jpg Believe

valwebbhorsedeco.jpg Art Deco Horse