ProjectsCincinnati Park BoardCommunity Based – Clay, Color and Fire (2003)
at T. M. Berry International Friendship Park

Clay, Color and Fire

Clay, Color and Fire The 15,000+ tiles were created during a month-long ceramic mosaics workshop at UC DAAP in July 2003 by invitation of Jonathan Riess, Acting Chair of the Dept of Fine Arts DAAP. The diversity of the artists team grew out of the Cincinnati Sister City program, including one African, three Asian and three European ceramic masters. The project established the first artists network among the cities through a process of research, invitation, reivew and jurying of artist applications. Jan designed the project to allow individual expression from each participant, yet with a harmonized framework of color and texture from column to column. Conceptual design and design development were carried on via email prior to the artists arrivals in Cincinnati. Supported by over 150 volunteers during their visit, the artists relied on host families and local apprentices to fulfill their work. The wider community supported the project by sponsorships, grants, homestays and hospitality, translation services, cultural enrichment and publicity. The total value of the project was $200,000.

Award-winning project: Jan was awarded twice for excellence in this project. She was named “Individual in the Arts” in 2003 by the Post Corbett Awards, and also for an “Outstanding Cultural Art Program” in 2004 by the Regional Leadership Forum of Greater Cincinnati.

A website containing many of the project documents can be found at

  • The southfacing row of columns includes work by Vladimir Shapovalov/Kharkiv, He Zhenhai/Liuzhou, Ikuhiko Shibata/Gifu, and Marjorie Wallace/Harare.

  • Philippe Pasqualini’s/Nancy column expresses the idea of continents comprised of abstracted faces representing the centuries of humanity that have left their imprints on the land.

  • Philippe Pasqualini’s/Nancy column in the foreground with Marjorie Wallace’s/Harare in the middleground, overlooking the Ohio River into Kentucky.

  • Column by He Zhenhai/Liuzhou

  • Column by Ikuhiko Shibata/ Gifu

  • The Friendship Pavilion was designed by Jim Fearing/Cincinnati without the intention of art embellishment, but the columns of Clay, Color and Fire are the perfect compliment to his fascinating design. In the background is the work of David Nash “Seven Vessels Ascending Descending,”

  • Eva Sperner/Munich created a design for two slender columns that flank the hearth. Her design expresses the polarity of opinions in discussion, with NO and the moon opposing YES and the sun, suggesting that these differences are natural. The Cincinnati Team of apprentices and masters designed the Double Phoenix under the mantel based on Julia Green’s reseach about the mythical bird, and its role in each of the cultures participating in the project. The tiles that frame the hearth were made by public visitors to the workshops, expressing their ideas about friendship and dialogue.

  • The tiles of the Double Phoenix are high relief and include stones brought by each of the artists from their homelands.

  • The Double Phoenix was fabricated by the Cincinnati Team of artists after the departure of the international visiting artists, employing everything we learned from our partners in this expression of energy and light.

  • Detail of Philippe Pasqualini’s tiles, with inlays of broken kiln coils, lava pebbles, glass shards and pebbles

  • Detail of Vladimir Shapovalov’s tiles, textured with netting, inscribed with wooden tools and painted by hand and by spray with engobes.

  • Detail of Steven Lin’s tiles, with a hidden message: two crabs - or Xie - which, when you put them together – Xie Xie – mean Thank You in Mandarin. His design recalls the tropical island nature of Taiwan.

  • Detail of Marjorie Wallace’s tiles, which followed a color pattern that wrapped her column with a helix pattern. She opted to cut all of her 2” squares first, then coated them with engobes and etched away her motifs, which in many cases recall African scarification patterns.

  • Detail of Marjorie Wallace’s tiles, which followed a color pattern that wrapped her column with a helix pattern. This pixelation is an interesting melding of ancient motifs in modern patterns.

  • The glazing and installation of the Double Phoenix was work Jan did alone in her studio and on site at the Friendship Pavilion. It was accomplished in 2 months with multiple firings and glazings to achieve the subtle color shifts and sparkle. Seam lines filled with glass smalti brought by Eva Sperner from Mayer of Munich, as well as stones and fossils hand-carried by the international artists from their homelands are important details.

  • The Double Phoenix spins counter clockwise around a high relief hemisphere representing light. Jay Axe designed and fabricated this important focal point, using the glass shard inlay technique we all learned from Philippe Pasqualini.