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2012 Young Guns - Morgan Ringer

Author: LeeAnn DiSanti
Issue: September, 2012, Page 74
Tile artist Morgan Ringer stands before a tile-clad bar area he designed and built for friends in Tubac, Arizona. The tile he holds was inspired by zellij mosaics of Spain and North Africa. Portrait by Tim Fuller

Morgan Ringer, Ceramic tile artist
Mediterra Tile, Tumacacori, Arizona; and Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico
Age: 34

How did you get into this line of work?
As a child, I would hike along the banks of the flooded Gila River near Florence, Arizona, with my father. We came upon an area where the desert floor was littered with broken pottery, and I pored over the shards, looking for anything exceptional. The encounter was affecting. As a ceramic artist, you often hear discussions about the “permanency” of the material, but I think I have always been more impressed by the vulnerability and impermanence of objects made from fired clay. While they have the potential to last forever, they can be destroyed in a single moment of carelessness. I find this a powerful metaphor to be working with.

What inspires you?
I look to nature for its directness and clarity of purpose, while I study the pattern and ornament of antiquities and traditional crafts from all over the world.

What is your design philosophy?
When designing a product,I don’t try to design for everyone; I like to find a place where I feel comfortable, then go a little further. I trust my instincts for a while before deliberating. I hope my designs cause people to feel a little daring.

What is your biggest design accomplishment to date?
I am most proud of the company my wife and I have built, and we find it extremely rewarding to support and grow our family with a business and lifestyle we have designed and fought for.

What’s on the horizon?
We are designing tile collections for a few retailers, and I am experimenting with collaborations with other designers. We also are expanding our regional recycling campaign outward from our studios in Dolores Hidalgo to other nearby cities to reclaim bottle glass for use in our newest tile collections that contain 62-percent post-consumer upcycled content.

Alicatado Mosaic Collection’s Petite FleurLocking pattern, glazed white earthenware

Alica-tado Mosaic Chainlink, glazed white earthenware
Upcycled Vitroceramic tile, made from recycled glass and scrap clay

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