PUBLISHED: 4:54 PM on Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Artist combines nature, ceramics
Carrie Talus will be the featured artist at the Juneau Artists Gallery in March.

She will be at the gallery during the First Friday event on March 7, and has some new creations to display. Her new jewelry boxes include smaller versions of the hand-painted ceramic tiles she has been showing at the gallery since last May.

photos courtesy of Carrie Talus
  Talus poses with a ceramic tile depciting an octopus. Talus earned a masters degree in marine biology and included Alaskan marine life in many of her art pieces.
Each box has a four-by-four inch tile inlaid on the lid, and each tile depicts some element of our local sea life, birds, and flowers here in southeast Alaska. She continues to create the framed six-inch tiles, and will now start to offer framed four-inch tiles as well as some other items including decorated tile coasters and mirrors. She also has a small number of serigraphy and woodcut prints for sale in the gallery.

Talus has always enjoyed drawing and painting, and has always been fascinated by the natural world. She first moved to Alaska in 1993, and has spent many summers working in field camps and on research vessels. Wanting to focus on both art and science, in college she attempted to double major in biology and art.

Talus started selling her tiles at the annual Public Market held Thanksgiving weekend in Juneau. She joined the Juneau Artist's Gallery in May of 2007, saying that she loves being a part of the Juneau Artist's Gallery and feels inspired by all the amazing artists and artwork found there. She finds the group to be very encouraging and supportive of each other, and adds that she feels honored to be a part of JAG.

Talus completed a masters degree in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and her appreciation and understanding of the natural world, and of marine animals in particular, can be seen in her tiles. She loves the intricate details and beauty of marine life such as sea anemones, crabs, squid, and sea stars. She especially enjoys painting the details of prehistoric looking rockfish with their quills.

She often puts the scientific name of the species on the tile, because she likes the idea that people can learn the genus and species every time they look at the tile!

Each tile she makes is a one of a kind original. She begins by looking at photos and identification books, and draws the animal or plant onto a tile. Then she hand paints each tile with low-fire glaze and fires it in a kiln.

Most of her tiles are 4x4 or 6x6, but other sizes are available. She generally sets each tile into a wood or metal frame. Tiles are versatile because they can be used as a trivet, or hung up as art on the wall, and they make great bathroom art because steam from the shower will not affect them. Talus also takes orders for unframed tiles for people who want to put multiple tiles into a bathroom or kitchen.

Individual custom made accent tiles can be created to the customer's specifications to add a unique personalized Alaskan touch to a bathroom, kitchen, fireplace hearth, or other location. She can create tiles of someone's favorite flower, fern, or mushroom, bird or fish, or even their floatplane or boat, whatever a customer can imagine. Creating these special order tiles is a lot of fun, and she particularly enjoys getting unique orders from people. Biologists have ordered a tile with the animal that they are doing research on, and fishermen have ordered a tile with their boat or their favorite species of rockfish.

Talus' tile work can be viewed along side the work of the other member artists of the Juneau Artists Gallery in the Senate Mall Building downtown at 175 South Franklin.