ANCHORAGE - Making ceramic tiles could be a cookie cutter job, but not the way Julie Matthews makes them.
She’s stamped out occasional six or eight-inch squares, but most of her work has a little more flow to it.
“I like the movement it puts into the piece instead of just being square. I think it's more interesting,” said Matthews as she carved a flat piece of rolled clay into 15 pieces.
Matthews has been working with clay for more than 30 years.
“I like the feel of it. I like the way you can work with it and if it's not exactly what you like, it's soft. You can start over, change it again, you can erase,” said Matthews.
It may be easy enough to fix in the soft stages, but with her puzzle-like pieces it can be tough to get it just right when it comes out of the kiln.
“You can do the same thing, the same glaze and it will come out totally different. So that part is frustrating when you put a lot of different steps into a project and the result is terrible.”
Her studio has a few samples but the best display of her work is her house. Every room has a little splash of her signature ceramic style.
“My latest project is a walk-in shower. I really like the effect of the glass block when you look through it and it distorts the tiles, but then you also see the tiles above. It's really fun to get in and take a shower. The colors are so happy and it makes you feel good.”
There’s also a backsplash border in her kitchen and her fireplace is surrounded by tiles glazed with a cloud-like design.
Matthews has also done displays for schools around Anchorage like Begich Middle School and Polaris. She also crafted the ceramic sun in downtown that kicks off the Lightspeed Planet Walk.