With a history of over 19 years of experience making tile and a staff that has developed many areas of expertise, North Prairie Tileworks has honed its tile making skills taking on difficult and challenging tile replication projects. In addition to the many skills of members of our staff including the sculpting of clay, producing molds, fashioning templates, mixing and testing glazes, and handpainting reliefs we also rely heavily upon our glaze library of over 1,400 glaze recipes and variations on the themes of whites, yellows, blues, blacks, pinks, green and many other glaze colors. Our desire to explore and discover the past of batch kiln tile making and seeking the opportunities of the present and future provides North Prairie Tileworks with part of our mission of replicating and restoring ceramic tile from the past.
The desire for discovery and the satisfaction of completing replication projects has included the exciting and the ordinary and includes the following projects: replicating tile for the Minnesota state capital; hearth tile for a British Columbia government building; 18 different tiles for the restored Thomas Wolfe mansion in Ashville, NC; entry station tiles for Lake Mead National Park; fireplace at the Pequot Library in Southport, CT; historic Ramsey House in St. Paul; floor and fireplace tiles for many Victorian homes and bungalows in the historic neighborhoods of St.Paul and Minneapolis and around the country; and countless tiles for backsplashes, fireplaces and bathrooms all over the country.
These tile replications represent tiles that were originally produced in batch kiln studios and factories by many noted and not-so-noted tile makers. Since North Prairie is a batch kiln producer of ceramic tile, our focus is upon replicating tile from the past. We neither have the high tech equipment or the desire to replicate the commercial tile from the roller-hearth kiln producers of the current era.
A large replication project for tiles for two new bridges in Highland, NJ has taken 18 months to complete with over 24 different glaze colors and 16 different tiles to match and sculpt. We are replicating the tiles of Herman Mueller who created a set of tiles of a scene depicting Henry Hudson sailing up the Shrewsbury River. This project had some unique obstacles that included not having sample tiles and specifications that required gas-fired reduction glazes which is an area of expertise for North Prairie Tileworks.
Our most recent project in 2011 was the replication and production of tiles (Yucca & Wave tiles) to be installed on new entry station buildings at Lake Mead National Park in Nevada as part of the Hoover Dam project.