Artist Leslie Doolin, along with sons Matt and Paul, has created a unique ceramic art tile company in Topanga. As ceramic tile artists, the Doolins have a profound respect for the centuries-old craft, and have traveled widely to observe the ceramic tile installations of ancient cultures. Since 1978, Topanga Art Tile has created handmade porcelain tile for installations throughout the world.
Matt Doolin remarked: “As a family business we all do everything. Some projects we do individually and some jobs together. We may each take a section of a project.”
Using mosaic and sculpting techniques, the artists create architectural ceramics, murals and sculpted pieces. A peacock’s brilliant feathers with intricate colors, created for a fireplace, demonstrate the Doolins high level of craftsmanship. A waterfall installation is composed of multicolored organic tile patterns.
Topanga Art Tile creates and installs custom ceramic tiles and murals for private homes, hotels, restaurants, universities and theme parks. Skilled at designing spaces, the Doolins work closely with architects, designers, contractors and homeowners. They take a client’s vision, provide a watercolor sketch and create a mural or custom installation.
For Leslie Doolin, “Ceramics are so durable and they last in any kind of weather. They have a timeless quality.” Creating the ceramic tiles for murals and fountains may require two weeks to several months. The firing kiln has shelves which can accommodate 50 square feet of raw ceramic tiles. Firing the tiles takes eight hours, and they are then cooled for eight hours. A challenge for all ceramic tile artists is the color glaze used to color the tile pieces. “You have to know your colors and there is a certain amount that is left to chance,” said Paul Doolin.
The Doolins are known for their work with a wide variety of themes including undersea life, desert, floral and historical imagery. They have been chosen to create a special ceramic tile mural of animals native to Topanga for the new County library in Topanga.
Topanga Art Tile’s showroom, at 137 S. Topanga Canyon Boulevard, presents a selection of the Doolins’ latest work. For more information, call 310.455.3359, email [email protected] or go to TopangaArtTile.com.