For over 40 years, his ceramic studio has produced a full spectrum of architectural ceramics, pottery and tile in the arts and crafts and classical styles.
A native Californian, his work embodies the subtle colors of beach stones, sandy bluffs, foggy mornings, luminous skies and indigenous plants.
More than mere reproductions, each design is created and molded by Plumleigh and glazed in his own special formulations at his coastal San Diego studio creating artful designs that transcend into a contemporary aesthetic while maintaining timeless traditions.
The ceramics of Laird Plumleigh Studios grace the homes of individuals throughout the United States and include installations in such luminaries homes as Mel Gibson and Barbara Streisand. His signature has been stamped on the face of San Diego with striking fountains in Balboa Park and the University of San Diego. He has collaborated with Studio Sofield in New York on installations in Gunnison Colorado and for the Kohler family in Chicago.
His work has been featured in such books and magazines as “California Romantica”, “Handmade Tile”, “Craftsman Style”, “Arts and Crafts Homes”, “W”, “San Diego Home and Garden”, and “Sunset Magazine”.
As a native Californian, gardener and surfer he draws on natural forms from his garden or the nearby Pacific Ocean: beach stones, kelp, shells, sea life cacti and succulents. The glaze palette reflects the tradition of the Plein Air painters and the special light of the West. Reflected in his work is the high fire tradition dating to early Japanese ceramics and long departed California companies such as Ernest Batchelder and Claycraft. These influences transcend into a contemporary aesthetic unmatched for their creativity. His quest is to bridge crafts and fine arts using the media of clay and glazes fired to 2250 degrees F.
On hand are more than fifty thousand ceramic tiles created from his specially formulated clay and glazes representing decades of development and discovery. Clients are welcome to establish an appointment to personally lay out their fireplace facades, fountains and backsplashes from this inventory. This unique opportunity allows a very personal form of creation. Clients often remark that this is the most creative experience they have ever engaged in.
My Home Studio
Public Art & Related Experience
Mr. Plumleigh works on a daily basis with individuals, architects, contractors and designers and has produced hundreds of walls, facades and fountains for both public and private installation. The following projects highlight work in the public art arena:
Plaza de Panama Fountain
Balboa Park, San Diego
Working with officials of the City of San Diego, Balboa Park, Estrada Land Planning and Soltec Construction, Laird Plumleigh designed, sculpted and finished the ceramic cladding that now adorns the Plaza de Panama Fountain in Balboa Park. The patterns and colors in the tile work were designed in Hispano-Mooresque style to be consistent with the cultural surroundings of Balboa Park. Located in the center of the park on the Prado, the fountain is identified as an important part of the restoration of Plaza de Panama to its historic role as a pedestrian-oriented, paved and landscaped area.
Balboa Park, San Diego
Over a period of two years, Mr. Plumleigh worked with City officials, Marcia McLatchy of Balboa Park, and engineers with the firm of KTU+A to create the Founder’s Plaza at Balboa Park. Located near the west entrance on north side of Laurel Avenue, the plaza consists of natural stone walkways and walls that frame a lily pad water feature and house bronze sculptures of Alonzo Horton, George Marston, and Ephraim Morse. Founder’s Plaza was dedicated by San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy in 2001.
Del Mar Library Wall
Del Mar, California
Alchemie, The Studio of Laird Plumleigh contributed Arts and Crafts tile, sculptures and performed the firing and finishing of mosaic sculptures for the mixed mosaic wall created by Betsy Schulz and Pat Welsh for the Del Mar Library. Alchemie artisans assisted the wall’s artist in molding firing and finishing the myriad natural scene sculptures as well as the “donor fish” which were sold to fund the project.
Solana Beach Historical Society, Historic Marker
Solana Beach, California
Art tiles created by Laird Plumleigh featuring Torrey Pines and local landscape scenes were used by artist Stephanie Stephenson in the creation of a historic marker along the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach. The marker is dedicated to the Solana Beach Women’s Civic Club in recognition of their efforts to change this area of Historic Highway 101 from “Billboard Alley” to a scenic, tree-filled area that can be enjoyed by the public.
EXHIBITS AND AWARDS
Laird Plumleigh’s work has been accepted and shown at numerours exhibitions throughout the United States. In June 2003, one of his fireplace installations won San Diego Home/Gardens remodel of the year award.
EDUCATION TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Master of Arts, l965. California state College Long Beach
Teaching Credentials, l965, California State College Long Beach
Bachelor of Fine Arts, l963, California State College Long Beach
Mr. Plumleigh taught at the high school and college level for a period of fourteen years. He established a ceramics program while teaching at Saint Joseph’s college in Kingston, Jamaica.