London Biennale, 2008
  Tile Project, 2004-08

Installation Sites
Press Coverage
Project Overview
The Tiles
  Mechanical..., 2007

  Shimmer, 2006
  Dimensions..., 2005
  Coaster Project, 2002
  TransCultural..., 2002
  London Biennale, 2000
  Nomads Forever, 2000

  Nomads, 1999
  No Boundaries, 1998
  Reverse Angle, 1989



TransCultural Exchange
516 East 2nd Street
Suite 30
Boston, MA 02127 USA



Resources for Teachers

Click here for Online Links to Resources

Click here if your school would like to participate

The great modern architect, Stanley Tigerman once said that to him, tiles were both democratic and accessible. They are the essence of what public art has the potential to be -- an art form that can be found anywhere in the world by anyone, no matter one's class, race, age or gender; with a purpose and beauty transcending all differences between all peoples. Universally, tiles are looked at, walked on, bathed in; and they surround and protect those in prayer, public meetings, sacred song, and everyday activities.

Since their origin over 8,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt, tiles have served not only a practical function in private homes, public fountains and plazas, palaces, cathedrals, parks, trains and subway stations throughout the world, but they have also been one of the most enduring markers of cultural history.

In Mexico, tile is landscape, with its expansive plazas and great domed cupolas, shimmering with colorful tiles; its brightly decorated colonial church interiors; and tiled house interiors and fountains.

In Morocco, zillij, the complexly designed tile mosaics adorn houses, mosques, floors, fountains, and walls; keeping buildings and public places cool while adding color and life to traditional architecture.

In Portugal, the azulejos, the famous narrative "tiles with blue tones," cover houses of both the rich and poor alike. They are tiles that tell stories, historical events, religious and mythological tales, and local history.

In Holland, the delft house tiles come alive with pictures of everyday life from the past.

Wherever you look - Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Watts Tower in Los Angeles, or the L.A., Paris and NewYork City subways - the list is endless - you can find what author and designer Jill Herbers calls the "living archaeology" of tiles.

One of the reasons the tile is a perfect object to create for our international traveling exhibit at TransCultural Exchange is because the tile contains the soul of a culture. It is an object that has historically been material evidence of cross-cultural exchange between peoples during times of war and political upheaval, as well as during times of peace. A tile can fit in the palm of one's hand - it is a measurable unit of our humanity; it is one unit of many. A tile can travel well, crossing political boundaries and idealogical frontiers, which is exactly what our exhibit, The Tile Project: Destination: the World, intends to do.

Educators can take part in our paper tile exhibit that will be permanently installed at different school sites throughout the world (Please see for more information). But whether you participate in TransCultural Exchange's worldwide exhibit or not, I recommend using the tile as a springboard for cross-curriculum learning in the classroom. Teachers can use tile making as a way to explore other cultures; investigate mathematical concepts, social history, language arts, and even nature studies.

A great way to get started on your search for tile information is to check out some of TransCultural Exchange's website resources for teachers. You can look up books, museums, historical facts, cultural information, curriculum ideas, tile making instructions, and can also see what tile making projects other schools throughout the US and abroad have created.

Happy browsing and don't forget to contact us if you have a great tile project you completed and would like to link with our site.

Click here for Online Links to Resources



Stanley Tigerman

Ancient Egyptian tile

Moroccan zillij tiles

Portugese tiles

Dutch porcelain

Watts Towers, Los Angeles

Turkish tiles