February 2021 Clay Squared Newsletter

Shower Niches

One way to add interest to your bathroom is with a shower niche. These inserts in the shower can hold all of your toiletries and look beautiful, too.
In the photos above, you can see how our tiles have been used to add a striking pop of color to white bathroom field tile. Using a contrasting color to the wall tile, the niche will no longer be a disguised feature, but will now become it’s own small work of art. To see more niche pictures, you can visit our website, or our Instagram.  Read the whole Newsletter.

February 2021 Layl Newsletter

Awards

This past month Layl was honored to win awards in two shows. The first award for “Squawking Blue Bird Teapot” (above), was “Best in Blue” in the “Primary Show” at Banfill Locke Center for the Arts.  Read the whole story.

January 2021 Clay Squared Newsletter

Black History Month

Martin Luther King Jr. day is Monday the 18th. Clay Squared is closed on all important American holidays. The recognition and appreciation of what MLK was able to accomplish in life and in his death by assassination resonates with us. As our society goes through another huge upheaval of what America is and what it aspires to be, Martin Luther King Jr’s words and deeds inspire, and influence all of us at Clay Squared. Read the whole story.

 

January 2021 Layl Newsletter

On December 17th we lost a member of our Clay Squared family.  Chris Madsen had been battling cancer for the past 4 years and we are heartbroken that she passed away last month.  If you had placed any orders or come in to visit us in the past nine years you most likely encountered Chris and was impressed by her helpfulness and positivity.  Read the whole story.

 

December 2020 Clay Squared Newsletter

Park Laurel Apartments Project

For the past year Josh has been busy with the historic restoration of the Park Laurel Apartments in the Loring park neighborhood of Minneapolis. The project has 40 fireplaces and hearths as well as three geometric, one mosaic and encaustic tiled floors that need to be restored in four apartment buildings. The buildings were built in 1893 and have been named a historic site by the Minnesota Historical Society.  Each fireplace is unique from one another and has different restoration needs. Read more about it!

 

December 2020 Layl Newsletter

Domestic Sculpting

Layl’s newest blog post discusses creativity and sculpture in everyday activities like cooking and landscaping. Layl talks about finding inspiration and art throughout her life, and even now during the pandemic. Read the entire post here. 

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Josh’s Hot Cocoa

As the Minnesota weather starts to turn chilly, the Clay Squared employees start looking forward to the infamous hot cocoa made by Josh. Here is our recipe for the best homemade hot cocoa to warm your winter nights.

Ingredients
1 cup of cocoa powder
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 cups of granulated sugar
2 cups of powdered milk
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
*Optional 2 Tbls of corn starch for thicker cocoa

Steps

Mix dry ingredients until evenly blended.
Pour one cup of whole milk into a heavy saucepan, and add 2 tsp of hot cocoa mixture.
Whisk mixture until hot and slightly thickened. If using cornstarch, cook on lowest heat as it starts to thicken.
Turn off the burner and pour hot cocoa into a cup – Be careful; it can burn if it is left on the stove too long.
Add marshmallows or whipped cream and enjoy!

October 2020 Clay Squared Newsletter

Like most Americans, Covid-19 has really upended our daily lives. Layl was not able to do any of her arts festivals since the beginning of 2020. She has, however, been able to do her classes via Zoom and has been working on her social media. TikTok has been very good to her.  She has quite a following already! Josh and crew have been lucky that so many people have decided to work on their homes during the pandemic. We clearly recognize that this is a gift and we are very grateful for everyone supporting our creative world.
We use our extra time to donate our energy and money to organizations that are trying to make a difference. Josh is on the board of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District and Tile Heritage Foundation. Layl is on the board of Art to Change the World. We both see the value of the arts to help people in their quest to be the best they can be and document the history of artist endeavors. Even when times are challenging we feel we have to give back in the best ways possible. As the Give to the Max fundraising event is just around the corner, we hope if you are in a position to help others and we encourage you to give to your most valued non-profit. Stay safe and enjoy the time you have with your family and friends.

Click here to read the rest of the newsletter

October 2020 Layl Newsletter

I know with all that is going on in the world you probably haven’t even begun to think about holiday gift buying but if you are looking for a distraction and wanting to get a headstart I’ve got a recommendation.  Art to Change the World (nonprofit where I am board chair) has created a program called SWAP- Stand with Artists Project.  You can shop for many different artists’ work in one place.  The variety is spectacular- prints, sculptures, originals, and even books by local authors.  All the proceeds go to the artist and you connect directly with the artist to either pick up or have the art shipped to you.  I think you will enjoy exploring this site and hopefully find a very special gift for someone that will also support an artist.

Find more info at the Art to Change the World website.

To read the rest the newsletter click here

September 2020 Clay Squared Newsletter

Chris Madsen Retiring

Chris has worked at Clay Squared since October, 2011. She is now retiring. Chris has been our office manager, packing queen, problem solver extraordinaire and just all around helpful hand. If you ever had a complicated question about your order, you have most likely talked to Chis to get it set right. She has trained all of the current Clay Squared employees on our office process to continue to give great customer service.
Chris is retiring for reasons related to cancer. Her cancer has returned for the 3rd time. With all the transfusions and chemotherapy, she wants to spend more time relaxing and focusing on her recovery. She says she is getting caught up on her reading and time with her family. Chris does come to visit and catch up with everyone every couple of weeks to check up on us. We still miss her laugh and asking everyone if they want tea. We will miss her around the studio and all the great conversations we had over the years.
If you would like to send Chris a card, you can mail it to our store at 2505 Howard St NE Minneapolis, MN 55418. We still get to see her regularly, and we will gladly pass on any greetings. Click here to read the rest of the newsletter.

August 2020 Clay Squared Newsletter

A New Addition

Recently, we have a new addition to the Clay Squared Crew. Maddy has taken on the shipping of our handmade tiles, sample packs, catalogs and Layl’s Silly Millies. She makes sure our sample tiles get shipped promptly with all of our literature and planning guides. Maddy’s an illustrator and is pursuing a BA in studio arts, and she also spends the majority of her spare time making costumes for Cosplay. Recently she’s been working on her core strength by lifting heavy boxes of tiles all day (bending her knees of course).

August 2020 Layl Newsletter

Earlier this summer Josh and I were on a bike ride when we saw an impromptu art car parade.  Some of the cars were ones I’d seen before but some were obviously newly created with a “pandemic theme” – like a mask over the car!
Then one of the drivers hollered to me – “great helmet” and I realized I still had my pipe cleaners in my helmet from last summer’s NE parade. That’s when I decided I needed to take it a little further and I added some flowers to my pipe cleaners.  Now as I bike around every day I get all kinds of smiles and waves, shouts, and honks about my helmet.  It’s a small thing but I hope for a second I’m bringing people just a little fun distraction.
As these different and challenging times continue my own art is my fun distraction. I am learning to find assignments for myself to create new work. I recently finished a piece to submit to the Minnesota State Fair. It’s a super tough competition but I used the deadline for a push to make a new piece. Stay tuned to my Facebook and Instagram to see if I get in.

July 2020 Clay Squared Newsletter

Resilience during this surreal moment is a priority for us at Clay Squared. Stresses like the pandemic, social unrest, and uncertainty in daily life have affected all of us. On top of these stresses, we must figure out how to adjust our daily lives. Layl has had to basically start a new way of doing business after all her art festivals were canceled this year. All the classes she used to teach in her studio are no longer possible, although she has taken up the challenge to learn how to teach over Zoom. She sends packets of clay and tools to students all over the country. She also has been doing a semi-regular “Layl Cam” on Facebook Live and YouTube of her making her polymer canes and sculptures.  Both have done well and are growing.

Josh and the staff have continued to get projects to keep them busy making tiles. We feel incredibly lucky every day that we get sample requests and orders from homeowners for kitchens, bathrooms, and fireplace projects.
Keeping ourselves busy and focused has been key for us to stay mentally healthy. We also exercise daily to get a little break from all the challenges and to keep our minds fresh. We hope you are finding small things that make you happy and enjoy life in these challenging times too. Thank you for all your support. Click here to read the entire newsletter.

 

 

 

July 2020 Layl Newsletter

I really miss having people in my studio playing with my scrap pile in classes and open studios. At least I have been able to send a lot of my scraps off in kits and for classes- I actually have seen a dent in the pile! If you have ever seen my 16 foot long scrap pile under my plexiglass table top you know how amazing it is that I have a corner where I can see the bottom!

I was thrilled to get a chance to send a bunch of scraps to Nora Nosek so she could use them to make bead kits for kids. She lives in Madison WI and started her project with a simple call out to friends on Facebook. Now it has morphed into kits made for NAMI and Boys and Girls Club. Nora is bringing a lot of fun to a lot of kids in need during this tough time and I’m happy to help her out and know my scraps are getting out there in the world! Click here to reade the newsletter.

June 2020 Clay Squared Newsletter

The Making of Hexagon Tile from Clay to Installation.

If you are stuck at home and have some time, check out our planning videos.

April 2020 Clay Squared Newsletter

A lot has changed in a month has changed in a month. Click here to read more.

April 2020 Layl Newsletter

Amidst this COVID-19 health crisis, we have a few resources for artists, and some ways you can still support and be supported by the arts community. Click here to read more.

The tile maker’s art

We were featured in the Southwest Journal on MARCH 21, 2020
An ancient craft with a modern touch
by SUSAN SCHAEFER / EDITOR@SWJOURNAL.COM
Have you ever heard cat paws prancing upon your roof? No? Well, back in Victorian Britain, when most roofs were created from that iconic fired red clay, the nightly frolicking of rooftop cats gave rise to the word tile. Seems the ruckus evoked the French word, “tuile,” which itself is originally from the Latin word “tegula,” meaning a roof tile. Read the whole article click here.

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