Creative clay classics
Story and photos by Jennelle Roberts
Little Traverse Tileworks captures in original ceramic tiling the quiet life of living in Northern Michigan.
The business, originating from Sturgeon River Pottery in Petoskey, branched out in 2010 to begin a separate entity and has been gaining speed ever since.
The “Up North” theme is evident in the traditional arts and crafts pieces, which gather inspiration from the entire Great Lakes region.
“The reason we started is because so many people kept coming in saying ‘I’m looking to do a custom tile,’” said Cora Smith, manager of Little Traverse Tileworks. “We had everything on site to make tile, so we can definitely do that.”
Little Traverse Tileworks offers custom work for business owners and those looking to a complete a custom home renovation. Tiling installation can range from a small section of backsplash with a single unique and decorative tile to an entire fireplace hearth.
Smith said they enjoy working with creative customers and turning their visions into beautiful ceramic realities.
Smith and studio assistant, Tiffany Snodgrass, keep busy even in the slower fall and winter months by creating new designs and glazes in the upstairs studio above Sturgeon River Pottery on Charlevoix Avenue. The process of tile making requires patience, with each piece taking eight to 10 weeks for completion. Smith said from handling raw clay to kneading, molding, sanding, glazing and firing, the piece is touched a minimum of 11 times. All this time and attention makes each hand-made tile special and unique.
New designs come from the creators themselves or from a customer’s recommendation, such as this year’s new larger Mackinac Bridge tile. The 6x6-inch tile is attached to an actual piece of metal grating from the bridge, making it an artistic way to spruce up an empty wall. Also new this year is a honeybee tile and a trillium tile.
Little Traverse Tileworks products can be purchased at Sturgeon River Pottery, NorthGoods in downtown Petoskey, or online at littletraverse.com.
Written By Story and photos by Jennelle Roberts