Island Tiles are handmade ceramic house number tiles designed and created by South Florida clay artist Sharon Kurlychek. Relocating to Delray Beach from the cold shores of Lake Erie in 1997, she built a home studio where she produces pottery and sculptures as well as handmade tiles, all reflecting her love for the tropics.

Sharon began exhibiting her work in local art festivals and included some individual ceramic number tiles with her other creative pieces. Many customers bought the numbers but wanted a frame for mounting the tiles. Once she designed some ceramic frames in several styles and sizes, Island Tiles came into being and became her feature item in the festivals. Island Tiles feature tropical scenes for an island-centered lifestyle.

DESIGN YOUR OWN:

You can be a part of the design process by placing your house numbers in colorful frames with elements such as coconut palms, sunshine, birds, and fanciful fish. The Island Tiles website has ten different styles to choose from. You simply fill out an Order Form and choose either a solid color Classic frame that holds your unique selection of tropical accent tiles in bas-relief ... or a tropical scene that holds your house numbers cut out to fit in the frame and set in a special sand grout.

All tiles are handmade to customer specifications. Slight variations in size and color distinguish the handmade tiles. They are glazed and fired to a glossy durable finish. Each piece is a custom work of ceramic art with lasting beauty. Island Tiles are grouted and sealed and ready for mounting. Each style has two mounting holes for easy installation with brass screws. You can mount the tile to concrete surfaces with the use of plastic anchors. (Customers may request any style without mounting holes for special installations.) Orders may be picked up by local customers. Others will be carefully packed and shipped for a fee to cover the cost.

INFLUENCES:

Sharon learned to throw pots on the kickwheel at neighborhood art centers in her home state of Ohio. She then went on to serious study at the the Cleveland Institute of Art. Sharon's work picked up an island flavor during the 80's when she spent two years living and teaching in the Dominican Republic. She was able to dig clay from river banks and experiment with primitive firing techniques. And during the 90's , she was inspired to create number tiles to adorn tropical residences after seeing so much use of tile in her visits to Mexican villages. She was intrigued with the many hand-painted tile scenes and address plaques found on doorways, on street corners, and in delightful little niches in courtyard walls. She began collecting Mexican tiles of birds, fish, fruit and other designs to use in her own home and now likes to incorporate Mexican tile pieces in her mixed media sculptures.

Interested customers may contact Sharon at islandtiles@bellsouth.net to ask about custom work. She will cut out custom letters -- i.e., family name, Welcome -- to fit in one of her standard tile designs for a reasonable fee. Some changes in design are possible for a 15% upcharge.