Saturday, May 18, 2013

Decorative handmade ceramic Celtic horse tile

12 x12 relief carved, custom hand painted, ceramic Celtic tripple horse tile.
There was a time in North American history between manpower and wailing fire engines when sturdy horses got men and gear to the scene of a fire. In 1832 the New York city Mutual Hook and Ladder fire fighting company was short of men to pull the fire wagon due to an outbreak of yellow fever, so they invested in a horse for the job. This met with much criticism from other stations and that first fire horse was insulted and sorely abused. This may have been the end of it, however with the new weighty fire equipment coming out it was clear that more than mere manpower would be needed. Initially the horses were grudgingly accepted, but eventually became much revered and loved members of their fire stations and very popular with the public. Fire horses had to be strong, sturdy and fearless, able to pull heavy equipment up and down hills at breakneck speed and stand calmly as men rushed about and fire raged around them. Horses were carefully evaluated and rigorously trained, with only a handful out of every 100 horses that fit the size and weight requirements making the grade. Over time many stations added horse ambulances to their facilities as well. Fire stations became an efficient team of man, horse and dog. The quintessential fire dogs, Dalmatians, a canine breed with exceptional stamina combined with exceptional loyalty guarded horses and equipment and ran with the team barking to clear the way. A life of pounding the streets took it's toll and the average fire horse was retired from working after only four or five years, often to a milder work hauling milk trucks and the like. In the 1920's new mechanized equipment, cheaper to operate than horses began to replace them, even though at the time it was less reliable than horses and frequently broke down. In 1922 more than 50,000 people gathered to watch Peter, Jim, Tom, Babe and Rusty of the Detroit fire brigade make their last charge to a false alarm before being retired. The last of the fire horses to be replaced, Bill and Doll in Fredricton New Brunswick were retired in 1938.  Firefighter Bill O'Neil who was their caretaker said " I adored them, I never had to touch a whip, They knew what to do and almost where to go. The old fire station just isn't the same without the pair, believe me."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Decorative relief carved Celtic Hounds ceramic tile

6x6 relief carved Celtic Hounds Ceramic tile can be permanently installed or there's a notch in the back so it can easily be hung as artwork on its own.
Available to order from
The life of the early Irish was filled with hunting and fighting, both of which master and hound alike excelled. Rarely parted they fed on the flesh and slept side by side on the skins of wild animals which together they had brought to bay. White seems to have been a favorite color for the Irish wolf hound of the heroic age and it was popular to dye the coats of both hounds and horses blue or leave them white with purple dyed ears. Their gigantic size along with their swiftness and courage brought forth much admiration from everyone who encountered them. In 1571 the Blessed Edmund Champion S.J. in his 'Historie of Ireland' describes the Irish Greyhound, as they were also known, as "higher of bone and limb than a colt" Comparisons were regularly drawn between great Hounds and their masters. It was writen in Camden's 'Brttania' (1594) that " In Ireland animals are smaller than in England except Men and those hunting dogs we call Greyhounds" Another writen account of this nature from 1681 maintains "All the breed of the Country of Ireland save Women and Greyhounds are less than the breed of England." They did impress people and between the 16th and 18th centuries there was a large export of Irish Hounds. The export ban on Wolfhounds in 1652 seemed to be completely ignored and a good sized volume would be needed to relate all the cajoling, threatening and blackmailing correspondence available in connection with the acquisition of them.  Gradually from necessity the large hounds developed into strictly companion animals and became diminished in size. By the mid 19th century people had forgotten what these early hounds had even looked like and were apt to call anything from a Newfoundland to a Great Dane a true Irish Wolfhound. The breed would have undoubtedly been lost if not for an Englishman named Captain George Augustus Graham who took up the breed with much enthusiasm. He not only saved the true Wolfhound from oblivion, but brought them back into the limelight of Dogdom.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Decorative ceramic, handmade, relief carved Celtic Trinity knot tile.

8x8 relief carved ceramic Celtic trinity knot tile/wall plaque
Available to order from
The trituetra or Celtic trinity knot has a myriad of of symbolic meaning all based on the number three. Here is some insight into the number three from 'Uncle Davids Big Book Of Numbers' by David Botton.
"THREE can be the balancing factor that finds the middle ground between two opposites or

it can be the factor that sides with either end and tips the balance in that direction.
Three’s a crowd or three’s company, it depends on which three.
Division or classification into three parts is exceptionally common.
Let’s look at threes as they occur in relation to soul, body, and mind:
Some religions have considered the world divided into three parts; Heaven and the Underworld,
with Earth in between, while others speak of Heaven and Earth with Man in between.
Triadic Godheads were recognized by (among others): Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, Hindu and
Norse people, often representing the powers of Creation, Sustenance, and Destruction.
Wiccans sing to the Maid, Mother, Crone,
and the Christians have their mysterious One that is Three.
Christians also celebrate (but of course have no monopoly on) three virtues:
Faith, Hope, and Charity.
Peter denied Christ three times. (Keep the faith Pete.)
In Greek mythology there appear three Fates, three Furies, and three Graces.
Buddhists and Neo-sannyasins give thanks for the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, or,
The Awakened One, the Truth he imparts, and the community that gathers around him.
The Far East has produced three major “atheistic” religions:
Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism,
while the Middle East has given rise to three major monotheistic religions;
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The third eye opens to spiritual awareness.
To sustain our bodies we eat (some of us) three meals a day at morning, noon, and night, and if we
drink too much we may end up “three sheets to the wind”.
In competitions we give special recognition to those who place first, second, and third.
Three goals in a hockey game scores the player a hat-trick, in bowling one can take three tries at
knocking down the pins and it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.
Soldiers in trenches learned not to light “three on a match” (it gives a sniper time to ready, aim and fire).
A triangular stance as every Aikido knows, is the most stable posture.
A myriad of colours can be created from the three primaries and it takes three notes to make a chord.
We think of time in terms of past, present, and future and our stories usually have a beginning,
middle, and end. Some things that have appeared in our stories and songs in multiples of three
include; Bears, Billy Goats Gruff, Blind Mice, Little Pigs, Little Kittens, Penny Operas, Coins in a
Fountain, Men in a Tub, Ships coming sailing in on Christmas day, and Stooges.
At school, in addition to Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic, we learned (some of us) about:
acids/bases/salts, solids/liquids/gases, animals/vegetables/minerals, the id/ego/super ego, and
three degrees of comparison.
Oaths and many magical incantations are traditionally repeated three times.
By old English custom a couple who have had their names published and read aloud in church for
three consecutive weeks are considered married (but not apparently by the Province of Ontario).
Luck, good and bad, some say, comes in threes, but then again, others say “third time lucky”.
Wishes granted by genies come in threes. (Hint: make the third wish a request for more wishes).
I’ll give you three guesses what my favourite number is. Let’s have three cheers for THREE!"