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Exhibit Is a California Tile Lover's Heaven

April 26, 2001|ROBERT SMAUS

There has never been a collection of old California-made tiles like the exhibit that has just opened at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica. "California Tiles, the Golden Era, 1910-1940" artfully packs more than a thousand tiles into the 1894 house that serves as a museum. Seventy lenders contributed colorful or earthy tiles, from dozens of historic makers, like Batchelder Tile, Catalina Pottery, Halcyon Art Pottery, Pacific Clay and Malibu Potteries.

There are more than 45 tile tables lined up along two walls--which is quite a sight--and 20 wall murals, several of which weigh over 400 pounds. A whole room is devoted to tile pieces that were used in gardens, including a small fountain of Batchelder tiles that was a sales sample, a Catalina Pottery tile-covered backgammon table (complete with clay playing pieces), steppingstones and Hillside urns and plant containers with embedded tiles. Director Tobi Smith sighed, "I wish I could move the whole room into my garden when the exhibit is over."

The exhibit runs though September 30 at the museum, 2612 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 392-8537. Open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission costs $3 and parking is free.

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