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A Parklet, from Start to …

It’s not spring, but change is in the air at Syzygy.  For years we’ve operated under the enormously crushing weight of our decrepit non-parking parking lot.  Yes, that’s correct, it’s a parking lot, that you cannot park in.  For reasons long forgotten, lost to the blurring effect of history and our feeble memories the space is off limits to motor vehicles large and small.  And so, with great patience, we begin transforming the space into a beautiful parklet.  Check out the pictures below and follow along with our odyssey.

Goodbye asphalt, goodbye

Goodbye asphalt, goodbye

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There’s no going back now

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Oh the sandbox of my youth calls out to me.

Monday mornings bring a new Syzygy Tile work week, a refreshed sense
of purpose and a bouquet from Blythe’s garden to brighten the day.
Need I say more. Enjoy!

Summer flowers before there gone

Summer flowers before there gone

Syzygy Tile on Google Streetview

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to share a moment we had here at Syzygy Tile several months ago.  We, the front office staff, were working hard when we noticed the Google Streetview car drive down the street.  I sighed, thinking we had missed our chance to photo-bomb our image on Google maps.  But, just as the despair began to settle upon us, around the corner came the car for a second drive-by.  This time we were ready, and raced out in front of the store to attempt to make complete fools of ourselves.  Even the Googler driving the car gave us a look that said, “Really?”.  We ask not for your judgement, only your amusement.

Syzygy as seen by Google Streetview

Syzygy Tile Components in Sketchup

Hello Everyone,

I’m late with this post, I think I previously said this post would be up a week after the previous article.  Let’s just say I keep a loose definition of ‘a week’.

So after much work, multiple recordings, and uploading issues I am ready to present our first training video on using Syzygy components in Sketchup.

You can see this post for details, or use this link to download the zip file used in the video.

Please, leave a comment and let me know how this worked.

Introduction to Sketchup

Hello, everyone. I am going to be offering a series of blog posts, videos and content centered around the design program Sketchup. To those of you who are not familiar with with the 3-D design software Sketchup, I would like to offer an introduction. I find Sketchup to be simple to use and yet quite powerful.

You can use it to create a rough sketch of a design, like I did here for a fireplace using the Celeste pattern from our Sygma collection. (Click on an image to enlarge – press “ESC” to make it go away.)

Fireplace in "Celeste" 4x4's

With a bit more work, you can create color documents that present a much better sense of the design than you might have had using just color samples and your imagination.

 

A more detailed color sketch of a stairway landing

A more detailed color sketch of a stairway landing

This post provides a quick glimpse of what is possible with Sketchup and gives you links for installing and getting started.  For those of you who already use Sketchup, there is a link to download our Components library or you can search the 3D Warehouse, a online repository of models other Sketchup users have made – more on that in the next post.  Future posts will offer more detail about how to use Syzygy tile in your Sketchup model and will also cover a variety of advanced tasks.

Let’s get started…

First, a link for installing “Sketchup Make,” the free version of software.  A more advanced version, Sketchup Pro, is required if you want to create multi-page presentations or to-scale construction documents.  See this article for instructions and a link to download the basic version, Sketchup Make.   Next, learn the basics – I’d love to say that I am the greatest at teaching Sketchup, but I’m not, so let us defer to the wiser minds, and watch these four videos.  The videos are about 10 minutes each and will help you learn the basics.  You can also assume that you already know enough and skip ahead to the next post – Setting up Syzygy Components Library and the 3D Warehouse.

  1. Getting Started – Part 1
  2. Getting Started – Part 2
  3. Getting Started – Part 3
  4. Getting Started – Part 4

Again, for those of you who know Sketchup you can use this link to download the Syzygy Tile Components and have the most common Syzygy tiles and patterns already drawn up and ready to model !

A tile for the Silver City Musuem

We were recently approached by the staff of the Silver City Museum and asked to produce a tile to commemorate the out-going President of the Board of Directors and her dedication to the organization.

The Museum provided us with a picture of the front of the historic building.  From this we created a one-of-a-kind tile.  After carving the wet clay and bisque firing the tile we had produced:

Silver City Museum Tile in bisque

Bisque Tile – Silver City Museum

Then began the glazing process.  With a tile like this, we have to balance the desire for lots of color with the requirements of glaze application, keeping the colors distinct and separate.  After two days of glaze application and a final firing we have an amazing tile that captures the essence of the Silver City Museum, cracked sidewalks and all.

Glazed Tile - Silver City Museum

Finished Silver City Museum Tile

Endangered Species Awareness Tile: Mexican Spotted Owl

In 2012 Syzygy received the honor and challenge of being selected to produce the latest Laguna Clay Company Endangered Species Tile.  Each year since 1992 Laguna Clay has said thank you to their customers with a limited edition tile.  These beautiful tiles help to raise awareness of different threatened species every year.

For inspiration we looked no further than our own Gila Wilderness located just outside of Silver City. Unfortunately we had several choices as many creatures found in this massive wilderness are threatened.  Together with Laguna we selected the Mexican Spotted Owl.

Syzygy artist Ray Peelman, who handles most of our custom tile commissions, designed a stunning tile to submit for approval.  We added a quote from famed conservationist Aldo Leopold, who was instrumental in establishing the Gila Wilderness, and after some small tweaking we were ready to begin.

The process of carving the master tile and producing production molds is pretty standard for us. The real challenge came when we were ready to glaze the tiles.  We decided to use a single glaze, Desert Green, to bring this tile to life.  This glaze is a subtle brown when applied thinly and a stunning green develops as more layers are applied.  Normally we use brushes to apply glaze.  This project, however, required us to learn new techniques, experiment with different methods and utilize new tools and pushed as far as we have ever gone to achieve a desired look on a tile.

2-Start-with-the-Letters

We created miniature rollers to apply glaze to the quote surrounding the tile on two sides.  This allowed us to “quickly” apply glaze to the letters and maintain an unglazed background for greater contrast.

3-Add-Some-Color

Next we learned how to bulb glaze.  This is a fairly common glaze application technique but not one that we use here at Syzygy.  Again, we did this to create higher contrast between the background and the owl and tree that are the real focus of the design.

4-Finesse-the-Color

Next we worked on the owl and the tree that it rests in.  We spent many days perfecting our technique on practice pieces before attempting it on the limited edition tiles.  The challenge was to apply enough glaze to accentuate the design while keeping the contrast that allows the owl to stand out.

5-Add-a-Little-Detail

Finally, the branches that defy the borders were glazed with a brush that we don’t pick up very often. Fortunately, Mel has the hands of a brain surgeon.

9-Opening-the-Kilns

The results exceeded even our high expectations for this project.  We are immensely proud of our efforts and the tiles that they produced.  Feel free to stop by our showroom to see our Mexican Spotted Owl and all the other endangered species tiles that we are collecting here at Syzygy