Citizens of the World
Karen D. Singh, Craig Kellogg, and Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 1/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Marrakech is a long way from Maine's Popham Beach, where former publicist Caitlin Dowe-Sandes spent idyllic summers in her youth. But when she and her filmmaker husband, Samuel, took a yearlong sabbatical in Morocco and ultimately decided to move there, they chose Popham Design as the name of their new business. The idea for a career switch materialized when they were renovating their new home, a 250-year-old house built around a courtyard paved with the distinctive local black-and-white tiles. After commissioning some for the renovation, the pair started to make artisanal tile at a small factory near the airport, adapting historical methods to their own designs.
"You have no idea how low-tech the process is," Samuel Dowe-Sandes says. Each pattern is crafted upside down, from colored pigments, white cement powder, marble powder, and water. The face of each tile starts as colored liquids. The mixtures are then poured into a brass mold, which looks a little like a cookie cutter with cells to keep the colors separate. When the mold is pulled away, the colors coalesce into a solid surface that a hydraulic press ultimately affixes to a backing of cement and sand. "Maybe there's a grain that made it here from Popham Beach," Caitlin Dowe-Sandes jokes. Looks like her transition from public relations to international relations is complete. 323-906-9556; pophamdesign.com. circle 433