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Colors on Clay: The San Jose Tile Workshops of San Antonio Hardcover – August 25, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Trinity University Press (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159534053X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595340535
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 10.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,707,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Hopefully, that will change someday.
Pamela Vossenas
Frost has ensured that this will never be the case when it comes to San Jose pottery.
Lee P. Arellano
You will enjoy the presentation, colors, and easy read of this book.
mcr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carole Coates on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Been waiting for the definitive work on WPA era San Jose Workshops and Texas tile? Here it is, in spades. Many years in the making, Susan Toomey Frost has delivered the goods with a brilliant study that includes important information for collectors and historians alike. You'll find historical color sketches, the where and the when (unknown until now) of the artists and makers-mingling with sought after tile ID's-and finally understand the connections that Texas tile had with both California and Mexican tile makers, such as Catalina Island and Lamosa, during the Spanish Revival period. This book covers all levels of interest: it is something a beginner, a tile maker, an advanced collector, or a Museum director would each find fascinating. The text and images (including many rare photographs of the San Jose Mission artists at work) vividly brings this era back to life, reminding us of a time when artistry and craftsmanship were valued commodities. Public and private installations at River Walk in San Antonio, the Alamo Stadium, and at the famous King Ranch are also featured. Founder Ethel Wilson Harris (1893-1984)was a one woman promotion machine when it came to Mexican Arts and Crafts, and this book not only shows the valued and valuable tile murals that were produced by the companies she oversaw, it celebrates the Mexican artisans she promoted. We are taken into the lives of individuals such as Fernando Ramos, an amazing artist (in dance as well as on tile, with a surprising dual career in the Hollywood movies) whose work influenced the best output of the San Jose Workshops. Top California collectors, decorators, and antique dealers have long known about the amazing output of the San Jose Workshops, now they can finally access accurate information for their clients, to use in selling on ebay, or to document their own pieces.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lee P. Arellano on August 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is stunning!

Most collectors of folk art and ceramics want to know the provenance of the items which have inspired their passion, but often they can find nothing about the artisan behind the treasured piece. Frost has ensured that this will never be the case when it comes to San Jose pottery. In addition, she also explores the linkages the Texan potteries had with tile makers from both California and Mexico.

This book is beautifully designed and presents vivid photographs of a wide variety of tiles and other objects produced by the various workshops. In addition, extensive historical and documentary materials (including sketches, drawings, old photographs and pages from old catalogs) are included. Collectors have a treasure trove of material to use in assessing their present collections or as they plan their next acquisition.

Through the author's excellent narrative, the people behind the potteries come alive. Thus, the founder of three potteries (Mexican Arts and Crafts, San Jose Potteries, and Mission Crafts), Ethel Wilson Harris, artist Fernando Ramos and the others profiled in Frost's splendid work, will never fade into obscurity, as have other skilled crafts people who did not have the benefit of scholarship such as Frost's.

This book is a real treat on many levels. It is a visual feast, an excellent resource book -- and a great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Vossenas on April 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a fan of ceramic tile, I bought this book in preparation for an upcoming vacation in San Antonio. First, the quality --the photographs, paper, etc --is extraordinary. The author is obviously extremely knowledgeable and her passion comes through making for enjoyable reading. It is a mix of art, history including the tile workshops role in the WPA and YPA (youth), one woman's story (the founder of the tile workshops) and the story of San Antonio. A coffee table size book, I lugged it with me on our vacation and had no regrets. My goal was to search San Antonio like on an Easter Egg Hunt to find some of the murals and we did! The very first night's walk on the Riverwalk we actually stumbled upon one, just a few yards from where we were having dinner, giving me enough gratification to continue on the search. Our next hunt was for a historic hotel that had one in its courtyard, followed by a trip to one of the mission's where the tile workers were moved to and where eventually the found had a house built adjacent to the mission grounds and lived. Unfortunately, that house is not open to the public but is used as Park Service offices. Hopefully, that will change someday. A must buy!
--Pamela Vossenas
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