To form a tile, Hopkins packs raw clay into a custom mold and compacts it with a press, then slices off any excess with a wire frame knife.
To form a tile, Hopkins packs raw clay into a custom mold and compacts it with a press, then slices off any excess with a wire frame knife.

When artist-renovator Doug Hopkins arrived at the kitchen and bath phase of his first remodeling project, he decided to make his own decorative tiles for the showers, baths, kitchen counters, and wood-stove surrounds. It turned out to be a career-altering decision: Years later, he's still hand-making, hand-glazing, and kiln-firing custom tiles, both for projects of his own and for contractors in his local market around Bloomsburg, Pa.

"I'm actually kind of tired of the tiles," he confides. "I'd rather be doing stained glass and painting and sculpture. But people keep asking for tile, and it helps pay the bills."

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