Hello and welcome to Atherley Arts! My name is Meg Leslie, and I am the artist behind all this porcelain. I have designed a line of handmade mosaic tiles for commercial or home use.
Ever since I was little, I have loved decorating (and re-decorating!)…my childhood bedroom was rearranged over and over. I followed that passion and completed a diploma in Interior Design and worked in the industry in Toronto and Vancouver. I also owned my own creative shop in historic downtown Orillia. It was in 2009 that I found my best education in the form of a mosaic workshop with Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia. I haven’t stopped working in mosaic tiles since! My exploration with mosaics led me into ceramics, and eventually making my own tiles. I have worked with individuals, organizations, government and groups, facilitating community-led mosaic mural installations in the Waterloo Region such as The aWEsoME Wall and Homewood Green Art Wall. Early in 2019, I apprenticed with the incredible Betsy Schulz in San Diego, California. I also moved back to my hometown of Orillia. Being back in lake country, with the water and the woods, I have found balance in my life and a new level of passion for my art. As result, in January 2020 I began Atherley Arts. I kicked off the year by showcasing my unique handmade tiles at the prestigious Toronto Interior Design Show. My goal is to take porcelain tiles to a new creative level, designing custom and absolutely unique nature-inspired hand-crafted tiles just for you to add that joie de vivre to your home or commercial space.
My Creative Process
Welcome to my creative process. Quality is important to me, each and every tile for sale is handmade to order. My tiles are inspired by nature and made with the utmost care, consideration, and inspiration. I am excited to share my process for making hand-pressed and hand-cut tiles as well as my larger mosaic projects.
Inspired by Home
The little town where I live, Atherley, is purely fictional now. It has been absorbed into Ramara Township. I love learning about the rich history of this area that I call home. The Métis settled here in Atherley as it was the literal bridge between the European settlers and the Indigenous people. The fishing weirs at the Atherley Narrows (where Lake Simcoe flows into Lake Couchiching) have always been considered a ‘Sacred Space’ by the local Indigenous people. Fish have always been in abundance here. The fish weirs themselves are one of Canada’s oldest discoveries, said to be 5000 years old! It's easy to be inspired living in such a beautiful natural area, the gateway to Muskoka. I feel that sense of awe in seeing our resident swan family (of nine this year!) which you can see in the picture above. I’m inspired by the brilliant request from neighbours to save the roadside milkweed for the monarch butterflies, or quietly paddling through Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching throughout the spring and summer months. It is my hope that my designs bring you that same feeling of awe, inspiration and tranquility.
Hand-pressed tiles are such fun! I will continue to make new designs. The wild daisies tile was inspired by the multitude of daisies growing along the sides of the roads. To create it, I roll out porcelain clay with my slap roller, add the details and then using plaster of paris I will create a mold from that one tile. Then I can press out multiples and glaze them in any glaze colour.
Hand- Cut Tile
Hand-cut custom tiles are each cut out individually from a slab of clay. Each feather is unique just as they are in nature! In building them into a mosaic tile with the porcelain and the mirror, I always think of it like a puzzle that I have created for myself. Isaiah Zagar was my first mosaic instructor and he used to say each piece was a hot potato. That man tiles whole sides of buildings so fast....I take my time to find what feels exactly right, glue down each piece onto the mesh or the wall if I am installing it for you. It's meditative and intuitive. I love that part of the process.
Custom Mosaic Designs
I live for custom projects that perfectly fit your home or business. Whether it be designing with size, style or colour in mind I know we can work together to make that perfect piece. The picture above is a custom bathroom border of paisley's created in whites and pale blues, with accents of mirror and personal found objects given to me by the customer. I look forward to the chance to bring my designs into your home. Please get in touch with any custom inquiries.