A few months ago we decided that we wanted to add some environmental portraiture to our portfolio so when we were coming up with shoot ideas to start this off we kept coming back to one of our clients, Paul Halferty of Lilywork Tile in Stonington, Connecticut.
Lilywork is an interesting company, to say the least. In their own words, they hand produce a “tile line that evokes culture, history, time, and place.” When I say they make everything by hand, they do! Their philosophy, listed on their website, is being “committed to using old world methods and techniques, bringing back the human hand to every space.”
Even the molds that Paul uses are of his own design. When you walk into his shop, you can see his inspirations hanging on the wall: whales, boats, and flowers are just a few things that he has recently done and he takes those ideas and hand carves them into the molds they are going to use to fabricate the tiles. Paul starts with a bare lump of clay, cuts it into pieces, then hand stamps and cuts each piece. The tiles are set to dry and then glazed before being fired in one of their kilns. Some orders Lilywork produces can be as large as 4,000 pieces, all produced by Paul by hand.
Not only is their approach to tile making unique in this world where everything is mass produced, but Paul himself is pretty unique. When you meet him, you can tell right away what is important to him, his family being his first priority. When you visit Lilywork Tile, there are signs everywhere that his kids are a big part of his day, from the scribbles on the workbenches to his son’s apron hanging on the hook right next to where Paul usually works. Leading up to the shop you can find a toy or two that one of his kids forgot to put away. Esther, Paul’s wife, deals with most of the business side of things while she manages their busy household.
Liane and I have really enjoyed working with Paul and Esther these last couple of years and we really had an awesome time putting together the photos you see on our portfolio site!
Visit the Lilywork Website www.lilyworktile.com
Interested in seeing more of our recent photoshoot with Paul and Lilywork, visit our portfolio site: portfolio.brucepeter.com