Detroit’s Pewabic Pottery has made part of their tile restoration work at the historic Women’s City Club building available to the public in the form of a necklace.
The necklace, available on Pewabic’s website and in their retail shop on East Jefferson in Detroit, is inspired by the tile pattern prominent on the exterior doorway arch of the Women’s City Club. The building’s original 1920’s tilework was made by Pewabic’s co-founder, Mary Chase Perry Stratton.
Like the original tilework, the necklace’s geometric teardrop design was created by Stratton, featuring glowing blue tiles as well as her signature iridescent glazes that adorn the original arch of the doorway.
Founded in 1903, and one of the oldest continually operating potteries in the country, Pewabic is active today as pottery, architectural tile studio, ceramic arts education center and cultural destination.
In addition to the Women’s City Club, Pewabic’s work can be found across Detroit, including at Comerica Park, Little Caesars Arena, Wayne State University and the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as other locations outside of Detroit including the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Olympia Development had tapped artisans at Pewabic to assist with tile restoration in the Women’s City Club. “We’re proud to commemorate a nearly 100-year legacy, left by Mrs. Stratton, in the restoration of the beautiful tile in the entryway of the Women’s City Club,” said Leo Mendez, Vice President of Planning & Design for Olympia Development of Michigan. “Restoring the tile is a true full-circle way of preserving her legacy.”
The task of restoring the tile was meticulous, and evolved over a period of time, says Pewabic’s senior designer Genevieve Sylvia. She and her team spent hours developing glazes, creating custom tile profiles and having conversations about how best to preserve the original tile, while creating new tile to repair what had been damaged over the years.
“Creating projects that add to our Detroit architecture and the architecture of communities around the country is incredibly rewarding. As each project brings their specific site challenges, that project resolution is unique, creating individually-custom tile installations,” said Sylvia. “Contributing to these projects continues Pewabic’s legacy of work while creating our next phase of history.”
The necklace, which helps pay tribute to Pewabic’s work at the Women’s City Club, provides an opportunity to wear a piece of the city’s architectural past while supporting Pewabic’s non-profit mission. That mission, through educational and cultural programs in schools and across the community, is to “enrich the human spirit through clay.”
In addition to the Women’s City Club necklace, other Detroit-focused items can be purchased on Pewabic’s site, such as the Detroit Tigers Old English D and Red Wings tiles and ornaments.