Stained in sepia tones and washed in soft muted colors, the carved relief tiles of Barbara Schmidt speak of a time when fairy tales, myths and nursery rhymes were the predominant literature offered to children. The characters Schmidt carves in porcelain include the richly imagined forest creatures of Beatrix Potter, the fierce dragons of King Arthur’s court, grim hungry wolves and strong Greek heroines. Schmidt is inspired by 19th century versions of classic children’s literature with illustrations that give visual dimension to the beloved tales. She absorbs the essence of the illustration and deftly sculpts a three dimensional homage. Each porcelain tile is hand pressed, carved, glazed and stained. The brown Mason stain she uses imparts a restrained palette of vintage hues reminiscent of a woodcut.
Schmidt admits that Peter Rabbit will forever hold a favored place in her heart. Just as her mother read Peter Rabbit to her, she read Peter Rabbit to her own daughter. “I like the continuity of tradition, the beauty of the illustrations, and the instant gratification they give most people.” Peter, who is well aware of the dangers of Mr. McGregor’s garden as well as the soporific effect of lettuce, remains an enchanting legacy in brass buttons and handcrafted tile.
For more information about Barbara Schmidt and her art, visitwww.baschmidtartstiles.com.