Emilly M. Ulm
Bio/ Artist's Statement
The Emu Tile Story
The first experience I had with ceramic tile was early in my teenage years, when I began to help my father set tile for family and friends. I was impressed, even then, that such a simple process could yield such elegant and permanent results. A career in tile began to attract me when, at the University of Akron, I had the opportunity study with tile maker Donna Webb, who showed me that the word ‘tile’ could mean more than the mass produced squares found at building supply stores. I began to realize that the possibilities for beautiful and functional tile are endless.
In the summer of 2003, after graduating with a BFA in sculpture, I had the privilege of assisting the talented Cleveland artist, Angelica Pozo, as she led a group of high school students in creating a giant tile mural as part of the city of Akron's "Lock 3 Summer Art Experience." Seeing Angelica in action increased my desire to design and produce my own line of art tile. Drawing from my experience as a sculptor, my love of nature, and the encouragement of my husband, Darrell, I began to create the tile you see on this web site.
Each tile is designed and sculpted by me, then cast in plaster. I press clay into this one of a kind plaster mold, then stamp the back with the Emu Tile logo and a slot for hanging. Once it is out of the mold, I trim the tile and let it dry for days or weeks, depending on the size of the tile and the drying conditions. Once dry, the tiles are fired, first to 1940°F, then glazed with non-toxic glaze and re-fired to 2200°F (cone 6), making them durable enough to be part of a permanent installation on any vertical surface in the home. Or simply enjoy them as individual works of art, wall-mounted with a single nail.
In this modern world, we spend much of our lives indoors. It is my belief that incorporating representations of the natural world into our living areas enhances our quality of life. Made of earth and depicting familiar plants and animals, Emu tile are an enduring way to bring the outdoors into our indoor lives.