During the summer of 2000, I attended a ceramic exhibition in Tel-Aviv. I was so impressed and looked for the artist. She is the Armenian ceramic artist Marie Balian. I went to visit her studio in Jerusalem and there she was, chatting with us. I’ve asked her how she is painting and she took a pencil and started to draw on the unglazed (biscuit) tiles and said: “Just like that…”. I told her I admire her work and that I wish to paint like her one day.
Luckily, after painting few years on porcelaine I had the opportunity to go to Italy and learn how to paint on tiles using the Asulejos (Maiolica) method. It is different from the Armenian method. The next post will deal with those differences.
Balian’s art is known worldwide, and her unique style has influenced many. For 40 years she has painted traditional designs on tiles that have become one of the most popular artworks made in Jerusalem.