Made in Tucson made our day!

Entrepreneurship has historically been a hallmark of the American way and the Educational TRIPS Committee of Quail Creek is very fortunate that there are so many talented producers in our back yard of southern Arizona. The December 12 day trip was first in a series to introduce our community to some of these skilled practitioners. This trip concentrated on the crafts of ceramic tile and glass arts in the city of Tucson.

Our first stop was at Santa Theresa Tile Works on 6th Avenue where we learned that the making of mosaic tile is a pretty involved process. Through a series of demonstrations by different artisans, our group was shown methods of preparing the clay, cutting the shapes, understanding that glazes have different properties and firing temperatures, the safe stacking of work in a kiln and, finally, the grouting of a pictorial mosaic end product. Truly, every one of us was amazed!

Just when we thought we might know all about ceramic tiles, we crossed the avenue for a short visit to the tile studio of Carly Quinn where hand-glazed tile is the specialty, from 4 x 4 individual tiles to wall-sized designs. Although heads might have been stuffed with ceramic craftsmanship, our stomachs were growling, so off we went to Delectable Restaurant and Catering on 4th Avenue where we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch.

Time for one more wondrous experience? You bet! The Sonoran Glass School on 18th Street certainly fulfilled this quest. Again, our tour through several studio rooms exposed us to artisans who shared fine points of their craft styles and demonstrated different tools used for various effects. However, they literally turned up the heat and the glass blowing demonstration blew us away. For over 40 minutes, the group was mesmerized watching a team of artisans create a large and very fancy fish sculpture from a little blob of liquid glass, at the end of which enthusiastic applause filled the studio. Bravo!